First and foremost I hope this helps some others, I find it very important to share knowledge that will help others to improve their Web sites on the Internet.
I have been scratching my head trying to figure out why I was receiving an “F” rating on www.webpagetest.org for First Byte Time “FBT”. After some research and additional testing on www.shoeshow.com I have come to the following conclusions:
Reasons why First Byte Time takes so long
- Number of requests/responses needed to build the page
- Does the page have a lot of Dynamic content on the page (aka how many database calls are going back and forth for data)
- Size of the overall page
- Size of CPU and MEMORY of the HOSTING SERVER. The more powerful the SERVER the faster processing you will receive.
- Do you have a VM Server or a Dedicated Server
My test sample was for the home page of www.shoeshow.com I got an “F” for FBT every time, that is because this page has a lot of dynamic content and unless I dissect and rebuild this page it will continue to receive an “F” although the overall page is loading in under 2 sec. However, If I go to https://www.shoeshow.com/reward-points it gets a “B” because there is very little dynamic or programming on that page and not many images. Finally when I run our https://www.shoeshow.com/404.aspx we get an “A” because there is no images and no coding.
My overall opinion is that FBT is important, but can also be a false/positive.