Horrific time to first byte


This is my first time on your site. It is so useful! Thank you very much.

My site’s time-to-first-byte being served is an awful 12.4 secs for the first view and 8.3 secs for the repeat view. ([url=http://www.webpagetest.org/result/110205_8Z_33X7/]http://www.webpagetest.org/result/110205_8Z_33X7/[/url])

I am experimenting with combining and compressing files on my development site which has far fewer HTTP requests, and the time-to-first-byte is 1.6 secs and 0.99 secs for the repeat. ([url=http://www.webpagetest.org/result/110205_85_33XQ/]http://www.webpagetest.org/result/110205_85_33XQ/[/url])

Am I on the right track or is there anything else I should be looking at too? (Apart from items highlighted in the report. I keep wondering if there might be an .htaccess problem.)

Thanks again

Wow, that’s a painful first byte time. Compressing or combining files won’t help you with that, you need to get the first byte time under control before you focus on optimizing the front end.

Your development server is probably a lot faster than your production site because there is no other load on it and if it’s using a database the database is likely on the same box.

The large CMS systems (Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla) tend to really suck for performance in their default configuration (mostly because they will make dozens or hundreds of database queries just to build the page). If builtwith.com is accurate, it looks like your site is built on top of Joomla. This is a pretty good resource for information on tuning a Joomla install: http://www.joomlaperformance.com/

Your database performance is going to be critical if you’re going to stay on Joomla so that’s the first thing I’d look at.

At a minimum you want to look into caching the generated pages on the server side (for non-authenticated sessions) but don’t ignore the performance of logged-in sessions either.