First Run Long TTFB, Second Run Much Faster

I have been quite careful of site load times for several years.

With a Reseller account on HostGator and using CloudFlare, I have developed several substantial client sites with load times consistently under 2 seconds - often way under.

That is until recently. After the long outage at HG earlier this year site speed performance has been erratic - moreso now in late November/December.

My server hardware has been changed/upgraded and its disc and CPU loading doesn’t seem excessive from the indications inside WHM.

This site has made me aware that much of the performance variation is due to Time-To-First-Byte issues. My newest site shows this vividly - test link:

Particularly strange to me is the big variation in TTFB on the 2nd runs.

I’ve begun two new sites (with similar homepage sizes) using SITE 5 Cloud Hosting; these test out at around 250ms TTFB.

Is there a hope of improving the TTFB at HostGator? Or will I need to move all my client sites to SITE 5 or other, faster hosting venues?

That TTFB is definitely slow. As to the question of will HostGator fix it, only HostGator can truly answer that question.

The site in the test results is using WordPress, with the WP Super Cache plugin. How is WP Super Cache setup? Ideally it should be using the “Use mod_rewrite to serve cache files. (Recommended)” option. That allows for cache hits to be served pretty much like static files.

If that is all set correctly, the next thing I’d look at is the filesystem setup at HostGator. I’ve seen some hosts use network storage for sites, and in some cases that completely negates the improvements that WP Super Cache can provide. In those cases it simply trades off one set of work ( PHP and database look ups ) for another ( fetching files remotely across the network ). I don’t know that this is happening with HostGator, just something to check out.

Thanks for your response joseph.

Having researched a bit more about the HostGator/EIG business strategy, I moved the domain to SITE5 cloud-based reseller hosting.

Without any changes to the website, and without the CloudFlare CDN used on the old HostGator host account, reduced its homepage load time by 70%! (4.97sec vs 1.49sec)

Here is the latest run:

Regarding the “mod_rewrite” setting, I have tried to implement this as you suggest but have not yet succeeded. I get “500” server errors. Clearly it is pilot error on my part and I will keep trying to make it work.

Still, consistent load times under 1.5 secs (one-and-one-half seconds) for Cable 5/1 shaping is easy for me to live with.

I’ll be experimenting with CloudFlare to see if that will further reduce the load times.

Thanks again for your help!