What is server response time?

Server response time (SRT) is the time taken by the browser to start loading the website. It adds to the total website loading time. View the following image for better understanding.

What is server response time

Note: Here the user/client is a person who is viewing a website on the internet, using a browser on his/her computer.

In the above image, the client is requesting the data (HTML files) to render the website, from a server which is hosting that particular website. Server process and understands the request made by that client and sends back the required response. Now the client has to wait till it receives the first byte, this time period is also known as time to first byte. The total time duration between sending a request and getting a response back from the server is known as Server Response Time (SRT).

Time to First Byte (TTFB) is the amount of time a browser waits to receive a response from your server after a request. TTFB configured through the server. Generally, TTFB is very small (within 10ms).

Now, that client has to wait until all the HTML files get loaded properly in his/her browser to start displaying a website. This is known as website loading time. Thus, it doesn’t matter how small your website’s file is. If your SRT is high, your website loads slowly.

What is the good server response time?

According to Google: SRT under 200ms is considered as Good Server Response Time.

How to measure server response time?

Before going any further, let’s understand how to measure server response time. To measure it, we can use several web applications. Such as Google PageSpeed, Pingdom etc. Most of you already know this, how to use this tool? But for the newbies, I am going to explain how to check your server response time using Google PageSpeed Insight.

Procedure: Measuring SRT using Google App.

  1. Visit Google PageSpeed Insights
  2. There you need to enter your domain name to start the analysis process
  3. Analyze the result

For example: Check the following images below, to analyze results.

Good server response time – without any warnings.

Good Server Response Time

Bad Server Response Time – (0.61 seconds) – 610ms

Bad Sever Response Time

How to improve server response time?

To improve server response time, we have to consider and optimize several factors. Few of them are listed below.

Factor 1: Slow Application Logic or framework

Framework of a website or an online application is very important factor. It defines the execution time and resource required to process a particular request. For example, one framework or application logic may take shorter time and lesser resource, to deliver the same result as compared to other. Thus selecting a good framework or creating an efficient application logic is a first step to improve the server response time.

Content Management System (CMS) is the framework for website and web application development. Many web developers who don’t use CMS and creates their own framework or application logic for their dynamic website, may suffer or get penalized due to incomplete knowledge of the core technologies.

Let’s discuss, about Content management systems. Selecting good content management system (CMS) for your website project, is very important. There are a lot of good CMS available with a highly optimized application logic. Such as WordPress, Drupal, Opencart etc. For example, let’s take WordPress.

You can install WordPress on your Hosting Server and start building your website or a blog. Initially, you will notice your website’s server response time will be quite good. But after certain modification and customization, your server response time will start rising. Why is it so? Let’s understand it briefly.

Factors affecting WordPress Server Response Time.

To understand these factors, the first thing you need to know is that, WordPress uses PHP as a server side processing language. That means WordPress runs on your server using PHP. The default WordPress blog, without any custom theme or plugin runs faster because it is perfectly designed and developed by WordPress developers. But, the most of its plugins and themes we install in our WordPress CMS are designed by other developers. Thus, these plugins and themes alters WordPress application logic and affects SRT. Factors affecting WordPress Server Response Time:

  1. Poor Plugins
  2. Poor Themes
How to improve WordPress Server Response Time
  1. Proper Plugin Selection: Always use trusted, regularly updated, better rated and recommended plugins. Remove unwanted plugins and update your plugins regularly. Generally free plugins are not well written and optimized. Consider buying paid plugins. Don’t use nulled plugins, as it can ruin your website completely.
  2. Proper Theme Selection: There are lot of theme available for WordPress. Few themes are built for specific purposes. According to the category of your website you can select the theme. Selecting paid theme is always a better idea than going for a free theme. You will get support directly from the developer and you will get a theme, with well-written application logics.
  3. Identify the Poor Plugins and Themes: Install P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) – WordPress Plugin. Install it and use it to identify, which plugins and themes are actually slowing down your website. Remove these to improve Server Response Time of your WordPress Website. You can also use better alternate version of that particular plugin or theme which is slowing down your website.
  4. Prevent Conflicts: Sometimes plugins and themes conflict with each other. It may cause misbehavior of WordPress functionality, serious performance impact or WordPress crashing. In that case, you need to disable all plugins inside your WordPress and enable it one by one to identify the culprit.

Factor 2: Slow Database Query

A database is very important for the both website as well as online application. It stores information and confidential data. This data must be fetched to render a dynamic website or application. Faster the database query, the faster will be the response time of a dynamic website or application. To optimize your database and its logic for faster execution of database query for your custom website or application, you need to understand database completely. You can also consult with database scientist.Optimizing Database of a WordPress Website to Improve Server Response Time

Optimizing Database of a WordPress Website to Improve Server Response Time

WordPress, stores revisions, auto drafts, trash contents, spam comments and transient options automatically to its database. For a small website or blog it’s not a big problem but for big blogs and huge websites, these are the serious junk that can affect your Server Response Time. Removing this database junks is always a first preference for the optimizers. To remove this junks from WordPress database, we can use this plugin.

WordPress Plugin: WP-Optimize

Google’s recommendations.

Google has provided us, some recommendations in order to improve SRT. Read Google’s article: Improve Server Response Time.