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6 Easy Tricks To Reduce Server Response Time

Sometimes during benchmarking of website speed, we found a problem like the “server is taking longer than usual to respond“. A slow server is a primary cause of slower website. Habitually we get frustrated after knowing that “our server is super slow to provide a 200 ms loading time “. But the good news is that we can reduce server response time by considering a few steps with WordPress. The optimal state of your server response time set by Google is 200 ms (according to the Google page insight). So to have a clear view of how much time your server exactly takes during the loading process, check your URL on bytecheck.com.

Nowadays this is a very important question for every website owner “How to improve my WordPress website loading speed ?“. There are many ways to do that but above all those steps, the first step is to have a reasonable server speed. In this article, you will know the steps to optimize the server to reduce server response time.

The faster your web page will load the higher rank it will achieve on Google

Many website owners normally use a fast theme or template and some caching plugins like w3 total cache, Autoptimize etc. But they are supposed to do the basic optimization for a WordPress site which is very important for a faster page loading along with performance. First of all, you have to understand the basics of a server response time. After that, you can take further steps to reduce server response time.

What Is Server Response Time?

Server response time is the amount of time that takes to load all the necessary server resources of a page before the browser starts rendering the page. Once the resources of your web-page are loaded, then the visitor will start to see your web page. This term is also called as Time to First Byte(TTFB). This is actually the sum of “Redirect time” + “Connection time” + “Back-end time”. So response time is one of the key components of the web performance of a specific website. This image will give you an IDEA of how Time To First Byte works.

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Which TTFB status is good and which status is bad for your page?

  • 100 milliseconds TTFB is an excellent state
  • 200-500 milliseconds TTFB is the ideal state
  • 500 – 1-second TTFB is OK (You need to improve your page performance)
  • More than 1-second TTFB is BAD (You have to work on this to fix the issue)

What will happen if your TTFB remain as BAD? If your server takes more time to load the HTML source of a page, your website will take more time to load. Also, if you use a fast theme for your WordPress site that can’t make your page load faster. That’s why you need to give more importance on reducing the response time by your server.

What Are The Reasons To Reduce Server Response Time?

There must be some reason why you are looking to reduce server response time. There are three primary reasons why you should improve your server response and how it will help your page.  

To Get Higher Ranking In Google

As mentioned earlier Google has announced that they are looking for the fast website to rank higher every day. So regarding this official notification by Google, you must take this first step to optimize your website to follow their rule. Of course, it will help you increase your website ranking. A tortoise speed web-page may have some possible reason to be skipped by Google in terms of indexing. And one of them is to bad page response or slow loading.  

To improve the user experience

Nowadays, everyone has fast internet access on their devices. So it’s a natural behavior that they will prefer to visit a website that provides faster page loading and good performance as well. Some other matrices like responsiveness, appearance, quality of the contents are also considered but a faster performance is the first positive point for your users. You can check on Google analytics to determine the bounce rate of a website. Lower bounce rate means the website is providing a good user experience and valuable content or maybe the website is offering some great service to the people Do you want to know how people can bounce from your page? What actually happens that your visitors will come to your page and if they found a lazy, bad design or non-responsive website they will leave your site directly from that specific page.

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To Make High Conversions

There is no doubt that you can make a massive conversion with a really fast, responsive and good content website. An overall good user experience helps you to get more visitor to the website and at the same time if you are using an advertising network or affiliate marketing there is a higher chance that you will earn a good amount of money with your website. Probably you may know that a lower traffic website can’t even get the approval to promote some stuff on that site. So to get more people on your page, you will need good SEO knowledge + good contents and a really fast website.

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So now it’s time to know the procedures to reduce server response time.

How We Can Reduce Server Response Time

In this part, you will know about the steps you need to follow to minimize the time taken by your server to respond to a page query. Just before entering into the details of each step I want to mention the reasons that generally increase the response time.

Warning! Reasons that increases the response time.
  • Slow Web Hosting
  • Poor Caching Configuration
  • Slow Database Queries
  • Use of Older PHP version
  • Bloated Web-page
  • And Larger Traffic

There are more external reasons which affect the response time but their impact is very low. Now let’s see how we can cure the problems.

Choose a Reliable Managed Web Hosting

When someone is visiting your web-page his browser will send some request to the server according to the number of resources available on that page. After getting the request from the browser, the server will send the resources to the browser and it will be printed on your screen. In this case, the server should respond really quick to deliver a faster page loading experience to the visitor. If there is a delay while responding by the server to the browser’s request, the page will slow down. So, it is very much essential to get the steadfast server from a managed hosting service. You should try to stay away from choosing the cheapest web hosts as typically the lower performance will reflect the price you pay. The cheap web hosting company uses the shared hosting, where the server resources get partitioned into several parts to handle the traffic hike and avoid the bandwidth problems. Also, they use this method to earn more cash while serving limited resources to the user. Can You Imagine How could a single shared server handle too many requests!! As a result, the requests will be queued or delayed and make your page respond really really slow. So I would suggest you get a managed hosting service if you really want to make your website super fast. There is one more advantage with managed hosting that you don’t need to go for the technical stuff as everything will be managed by the hosting company themselves. For a good manage hosting, I would like to recommend

Siteground

and MilesWeb WP hosting. MilesWeb can help you fix most of the issues related to slow server response and can easier your journey.

  • Solid State RAID-10 Storage Arrays for fast page loads and maximum redundancy.
  • Server software is the combination of NGINX, Varnish, and Memcached.
  • Pre-installed PHP 7.3 to all the server with power cacher and MariaDB for faster database caching.
  • Worldwide data centers enable a batter service possibility from the nearest data center.
  • Easily scalable computing resources with just a single click when you need it.

Use A Light Weight And Fast WordPress Theme

After choosing really fast hosting, the second step is to find and install a lightweight theme that includes all the important features for your site. So many times people install a very simple theme for faster loading but end up slowing down the website with lots of extra plugins to bring the required features. Therefore it’s better to choose a theme which is lightweight as well as has almost all the important features of a blog or website should have. Remember that choosing the right theme for your WordPress website is a major game changer. Again avoid installing NULLED themes as it will decrease the performance of a WordPress website. I would recommend you to choose Generate Press, Genesis theme and schema because these themes are light as well as powerful and very easy to use. All these themes are available to use in both free and paid version.

Start using A Content Delivery Network

CDN is a content distribution network which uses several servers in multiple geographical locations to provide the high up-time and better performance to the server. CDN reduces the total distance between the visitor and website server. Whenever someone visits your website from a specific country, the CDN network will find the best and nearest server station from all over the globe to deliver the content quickly to that visitor. Content distribution network also protects the data through a mechanism called file mirroring. It compresses the data files to provide a quick data transfer. Moreover, it can boost your data to reach the visitor quickly with the help of SSD hard drive. There is a couple of CDN service available for the WordPress user.

  1. Cloudflare is one of the most used and most trusted CDN services that offer free plans for the starter. They have a large number of options which can really help you to improve your website experience. With the integration of Cloudflare, you can set up a caching plugin and serve the scaled image as well.
  2. KeyCDN is another fast premium CDN provider you can use with WordPress. Moreover, KeyCDN helps the user to serve static contents from a cookieless domain.
  3. MaxCDN (presently known as Stackpath ) is the most recommended CDN service by different WordPress expert and lots of satisfied users. Max CDN can boost your server response up to 200% faster with w3 total cache integration. The faster is your CDN provider the wider will be your audience.

All these CDN providers create a separate static domain to serve faster data to the user and can easily be configured with your WordPress caching plugin. So using a CDN is a vital step to reduce the server response time of your website.

Compress, minify and optimize your scripts

A web-page script includes JavaScript files, CSS files and various other external stuff like widgets, embeds, like & share buttons, live chat etc. That’s why caching and optimizing the web-page can decrease the size of your page and thus help in improving the server’s response time. Compressing and caching converts javascript and CSS into HTML doc which can be accessed much faster. Both the internal and external scripts of a web-page can reduce the loading time to a bigger extent. Some really good ways to reduce server response time caused by the included script are:

  • Combine the CSS files into one: It is better to combine the CSS file available on your website into one single file to reduce the number of requests made to the server. Your caching plugin should have this feature by default so make sure you enabled it.
  • Defer JS and CSS files: Keep the ambiguous CSS and Javascript file as external so that it could be easier to cache and deferring them to make the website load really faster. Async javascript plugin can help you to defer your javascript.
  • Making Inline CSS And Javascript Files: The tiny CSS and javascript files are not needed to be placed in an external spot. Putting them along with the HTML file as Inline to can reduce the time lag.
  • Minify The JS And CSS Files: Reducing the size of javascript and CSS by eliminating the unnecessary whitespaces, comments, tab spaces, and other unwanted characters can decrease the overall file size. Lower filesize can boost the server response time. Use fast velocity minify plugin or Autoptimize plugin to minify your files.
  • Use Keep-alive method: To retain the TCP connection for HTTP signals we use keepalive method. Make sure you enable this by applying this code to your .htaccess file.
 <pre><IfModule mod_headers.c>           Header set Connection keep-alive           </IfModule></pre>

Optimize your page images

Images are used in blog and website to make it beautiful and informative, but images can cause your site load even slower. You should compress and optimize the images to reduce the size and remove unessential file information. Read this guide to optimize your page image with the help of GTmetrix and Cloudflare. WordPress user can also use plugins like WPsmush, Imagify or EWWW image optimizer. These plugins scan the whole website and reduce the size of large unscaled images to quickly loadable scaled image. These plugins even ensure any significant loss in size of the image file doesn’t diminish the image quality. So it’s definitely a win-win method to use an image optimizer. Use lazy load feature to your images. Lazy load is a technique that enables the image to load when a user starts to scroll the web-page. Lazy load is a useful plugin that can help you to enable this feature in WordPress. There are more plugins available for that, so just search and test them one by one to find the best one for you.

Improve Database Performance

Apart from these recommendations mentioned above, it’s also important to ensure that your database is optimized. Cleaning up your WordPress database is a helpful tip to reduce server response time. Generally the MYSQL database stores all the data in the table format. If your site has been live for long years and consisting of lots of contents, then your WordPress database might have huge information. The massive data stored in the database can hugely affect the server response. There are various ways to optimize database performance and it can potentially turn into a large undertaking depending on the current state of your existing database. Rewriting your queries with performance in mind, changing your schema to group objects and using indexes are a few ways you can optimize database performance. Try to optimize the Database Queries because the slow queries are the primary causes for the slow server response. Install query checker plugin for WordPress to find the slow queries in your site and try to optimize them with the help of this guide or auto database optimizer. Instead, you can use the WP-optimize plugin for WordPress to Optimize database tables, Clean all post revisions, Clean all auto-draft posts, Clean all trashed posts and Remove spam and trashed comments. Also, read this important guide by CSS tricks to optimize your database.

More tricks to reduce server response time

4 Ways To Use Cookie-free Domains For Serving Static ContentsConclusion: So, we have learned why and how to reduce server response time for a WordPress site. If you have any question on this topic then please let me know about that. I would be very happy to help you. Also, if you have any other better idea to solve this server speed issue, then send me your ideas and I will mention them in this post with a good backlink to your article.

About the Author Jon

I am a 33 year old husband, father of 3, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

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