What happens if you use a slow web hosting company?
The Tortoise & The Hare
Unlike in the fable, with a web server, the hare will always win. If you are using a Tortoise to collect your assets, you’re gonna be waiting a long time for them to arrive.
When you first load a website. The first thing that happens, is your web browser sends a DNS request to the Domain Network Server system. That then locates your server, on the world wide web. Then it sends back the first bit of data to your computer – the Time to First Byte – is measuring how long that took.
However, the journey doesn’t stop there. Your Tortoise or your Hare, then needs to go and visit houses (various parts of your server), to pick up the assets you need to load your website. An asset might be an image, a font, a piece of CSS code. Each asset needs picking up and delivering back to you on your computer for your website to load properly.
We know the hare is going to have the fastest TTFB. It can run faster. But on each subsequent pick up, it’s going to be faster too. The poor tortoise (I love tortoises by the way) is going to be slow to the First Byte and then it will be slow at picking up every other asset as well.
If you want a fast website – don’t use a Tortoise – use a Hare….!
What is a decent TTFB speed?
Anything under 50ms (milliseconds) I would consider decent. Anything over and I’d be looking at changing my hosting. Every millisecond you lose to your hosting, will affect every asset that you have to load on your website. Be aware that different testing methods can give you different results for TTFB. I like using Tools by KeyCDN and GTmetrix to compare the results.
My favourite hosting companies
These are two of my favourite web hosting companies. Both deliver TTFB times of around 20ms. Always way under 50ms, that is my limit check. When you can get a £50 a year server from Krystal, with a 20ms TTFB, then you should have a very good reason for spending more. WPX is more, but you get free malware removal and 30 second chat support 24/7. So worth the extra for some sites.