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November 15, 2022

Free webserver response check tool

Your website’s response time is one of the most crucial metrics you should keep a close eye on since it has a big effect on your users. A slow response time translates to a slow website, and people are not going to wait long for your website to load – a slight delay and they’re going to turn to your competitor. Check the response times of your website with this free tool

However, understanding the server response time and how it’s measured can help you improve the user experience of your website so that you get more traffic.

What is server response time?

As the name suggests, server response time is the amount of time it takes for the server to respond to the client’s request. It is measured in milliseconds and starts as soon as the client sends a request and stops when the first response is received from the server.

Web server response time can also be thought of as the time the server takes to load the HTML of a website so that the client can render the rest of the page accordingly.

In some cases, the response time is defined as the time to first byte or the amount of time from when the client request was sent until the first data packet was sent to the client. It’s important to remember here that the response time doesn’t include the time it takes for the client’s device to process or render the received data.

Five things make up the server response time. Let’s go through them one by one.

What is DNS lookup time?

This is the time it takes for the client or computer to send a request to a domain name server and get the IP address of the requested domain. A good lookup time lies somewhere between 20 and 120 milliseconds. 

What are authentication & connection time?

This is the time the computer takes to make an encrypted and secure connection with the server before it can start transmitting data packets requested by the client. This is done by establishing a TCP three-way handshake. 

Establishing such secure connections over SSL can take anywhere between 250 and 500 milliseconds or even longer in some cases. Note that the connection time can be greatly influenced by network latency.

What is redirect time?

Redirect time is the time needed for the server to request additional DNS data and make necessary redirects to a different server with more updated information. The average redirect time is typically 0 to 300 milliseconds.

What is time to first byte (TTFB)?

Time to first byte (TTFB) is the time it takes for the very first bits of real data to be transferred between the server and the client. The record protocol is responsible for the transmission of real data packets related to the website.

Typically, the first byte shouldn’t take more than 200 milliseconds in order to ensure you have a good user experience.

What is time to last byte?

As you might have guessed, time to last byte is the time from when the client sends the request to when the last data byte is received in response.

How do you define a good response time?

On average, the server response time shouldn’t be more than 200 milliseconds in order to make users feel as if they’re getting an instant response. A response time of up to one second is also acceptable since users won’t really be able to notice the delay. But you can still optimize it to increase user satisfaction.

However, a response time that exceeds one second is considered problematic and must be fixed. The greater the response time, the more the chances of your users leaving your website.

Why does response time matter?

Server response time is important to keep track of because it can help you understand your server’s performance so that you can take action accordingly. For instance, if you have a high response time, it might be because you have an overloaded server, making it difficult to process requests.

Plus, to be able to rank well on Google SERP (search engine results page), you need to have a good response time because Google considers it a ranking factor for both mobile and desktop searches. If your website has a long response time, it will rank low on the SERP, harming the growth of your website and the amount of traffic it receives.

A high response time also means your users are going to have an unpleasant experience. More often than not, they’re going to abandon your website, making your business suffer.

What is the difference between response and page load time?

As you already know by now, response time is the time it takes for the server to respond to a certain request. Meanwhile, as the name suggests, page load time is the total time it takes for the page to fully load.

The server response time greatly impacts the page load since the server will have to send a message (response) for each request made by a web page. So your page load time will increase if your server takes too long to respond, while a faster response time will decrease the page load time. 

How is server response time measured?

You can use a few metrics to measure the server response time. TTFB is usually used because it can help you to understand why and when a server becomes slow. However, when measuring the response time, especially if you want to improve your website’s performance and user experience, it’s important that you take a couple of different measurements.

For instance, you should measure the average response time, which is the average request and response time for loading images, JavaScript files, and HTML.

Another important metric is the peak response time. It can help you to understand the requests, queries, and components that might increase the response time. And finally, you should factor in the error rate, too. The error rate helps determine the number of problematic requests from all requests occurring within a given time frame.

Without the correct tools, it’s very difficult to analyze website response times. Luckily, simple and fast open-source tools and comprehensive monitoring tools have made it easier to automate server response time measurement.

With our comprehensive tool, you can get real-time insights into your website availability and response time so that you can quickly respond to issues.

How can you reduce server response time?

A poor response time can really hurt your business since visitors will be quick to abandon your website if it takes too long to load. However, you can improve the response time with a few simple tips.

Make a CDN

A content delivery network (CDN) lets you cache your site on servers that are closer (geographically) to your users. Doing so significantly reduces response time and is a great practice if you want to scale your business.

Optimize the database

Depending on the kind of algorithm and system, it might be difficult for your server to fetch the required data from the database. So if you want to improve your response time, make sure the website uses the optimal system based on its needs.

Organize your CMS

Another way to ensure that your website works smoothly is to use a light, optimized content management system (CMS). In particular, if you have a WordPress website, the server performance might be affected by outdated plugins. To improve response time, consider reducing the number of plugins you use. 

Use a fast web host

While you might be tempted to invest in a cheap web host because it costs less, keep in mind that it might not have the hardware, bandwidth, or security needed to make sure that your website performs well.

A reputable hosting provider is the better option and is definitely worth the higher cost since it can provide security, hardware, and bandwidth. Most of the more expensive options also provide customer support in case things go wrong, so you can get help when needed.

Hardware and bandwidth limitations are some of the main causes of a high response time among smaller web hosts. Their servers aren’t capable of handling large-scale use.   

Monitor your site

Another way to keep your website secure and healthy is to monitor not only the website but also the server it’s hosted on and to address any problems that might arise. Without a good understanding of the underlying problem, the developer is most likely going to waste their time blindly testing different parts of the website when a problem occurs.

You can find a plethora of uptime monitoring tools that can help you determine if your website is experiencing downtime, the potential causes, and even how to fix them. 

Compress media files

Large media files can overload the capacity of your server and further increase the response time. So if multiple users on your site send requests for large files, the server won’t be able to respond to new requests quickly. If you want to reduce the website response time, you should compress the media files to a relatively reasonable size and store the unused media somewhere else.

Clean up the database

All requests sent to the server also address the site’s website. One way to reduce the response time is to clean up unnecessary files. To do so, go to the website’s hosting panel and sort the tables according to size to see which one weighs the most.

Make a backup of the database first before you start cleaning. Once the backup is ready, open the tables one by one and get rid of all unnecessary items like junk files, old plugin caches, and extra options.