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First Byte Grade Fluctuation?
01-09-2012, 11:20 AM
Post: #1
First Byte Grade Fluctuation?
Would the First Byte Grade fluctuation from an A to an F at intermittent times indicate its my shared hosting server?

Sometimes its an A (few times a B) and many times its an F. I have been having so many problems with site speed.. I am so confused!

Yesterday I saw the googlebot was indexing my new site and now I have fallen off the first page (I do not even think I am ranked anymore) Sad could it be from speed?

I have a Wordpress "Elegant Themes" theme and they have not been much help at all. And I have tried to fix the things I could with the results shown but there are somethings I cannot change like the 5 images missing size attributes because these are images entered directly into Elegant Themes ePannel.

These are things I have done to try and speed up my site:

W3 Total Cache
Cloudflare (did not seem to make a difference)
Optimized My Database with PHPMyAdmin

here are various result pages:
http://www.webpagetest.org/result/120109_KB_2SKGV/ (A)
http://www.webpagetest.org/result/120109_VZ_2SKGC/ (B)

here is my site:
www.pictureperfectkeepsakes.com
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01-09-2012, 11:13 PM
Post: #2
RE: First Byte Grade Fluctuation?
Do you regularly see 3+ second socket connect times (orange bars)? That is an indication of likely packet loss which would (probably) be an issue on your hosting provider's network.

Yes, the variability in first byte times is usually a function of the hosting. Usually when it is slow your site hasn't been visited recently so the servers need to go to disk for the data but if it has been visited then there's a chance that things are still in RAM. With shared hosting you are basically competing for that RAM cache with other sites that run on the same servers. W3 Total Cache tries to reduce the impact as much as possible by reducing the number of things the server needs to get from disk and moving a lot of database queries to local disk requests (shared hosting database performance in particular is usually quite painful).

I'd reach out to your hosting provider to have them look into the socket connect issues and see if they can find any issues (and have them take a look at the web and database servers to make sure they aren't running too hot).

As far as the page ranking goes, that's pretty much a black box so it's hard to say. Go take a look at your webmaster tools dashboard and see what the diagnostics for crawler stats and site speed look like. If you see the time to crawl jump up and the number of pages crawled drop then the crawler is also being impacted by the slow performance.
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01-10-2012, 12:53 AM
Post: #3
RE: First Byte Grade Fluctuation?
Hi I am so sorry you got repeat posts from me... I was so confused as to why my posts were not going up so I posted a few times Sad Sorry... messages must be approved I am assuming? Thank you for your help... So you do not think its the Theme I am using? I hope not I just have so much time invested in it.

You are awesome BTW.. its so refereshing to get someone to even reply... on ET's forums I cannot get people to respond.

Best Wishes
Lina

(01-09-2012 11:13 PM)pmeenan Wrote:  Do you regularly see 3+ second socket connect times (orange bars)? That is an indication of likely packet loss which would (probably) be an issue on your hosting provider's network.

Yes, the variability in first byte times is usually a function of the hosting. Usually when it is slow your site hasn't been visited recently so the servers need to go to disk for the data but if it has been visited then there's a chance that things are still in RAM. With shared hosting you are basically competing for that RAM cache with other sites that run on the same servers. W3 Total Cache tries to reduce the impact as much as possible by reducing the number of things the server needs to get from disk and moving a lot of database queries to local disk requests (shared hosting database performance in particular is usually quite painful).

I'd reach out to your hosting provider to have them look into the socket connect issues and see if they can find any issues (and have them take a look at the web and database servers to make sure they aren't running too hot).

As far as the page ranking goes, that's pretty much a black box so it's hard to say. Go take a look at your webmaster tools dashboard and see what the diagnostics for crawler stats and site speed look like. If you see the time to crawl jump up and the number of pages crawled drop then the crawler is also being impacted by the slow performance.
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01-10-2012, 01:54 AM
Post: #4
RE: First Byte Grade Fluctuation?
Yep, sorry - every user's first post is moderated to keep the SPAM down. Your posts should flow freely now.

I doubt it is the theme specifically though I'm sure there are things the theme could do better. Unfortunately poor first byte performance for wordpress is something I see way too often (particularly on shared hosting). It is getting so bad that a wrote an article on it for this year's performance calendar: http://calendar.perfplanet.com/2011/when...ds-go-bad/

I don't have any quick/easy solutions though. More likely than not you will need to switch hosting (or at least the hosting plan) to see improvement and the options have quite a range of prices. Someone like WP Engine offers fully managed hosting (you don't need to know how to run the site) but it will be more expensive than solutions where you manage the servers yourself. I've seen people have good luck with Rackspace cloud hosting ($11/month at the cheapest) but it requires a lot of hands-on configuration of the systems.
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01-10-2012, 11:10 AM
Post: #5
RE: First Byte Grade Fluctuation?
Thank you very much for all your input Smile I appreciate it.. but it is discouraging. I am really confused I need affordable hosting. You are the 2nd person to recommend Rackspace Cloud... do you know of anything else that may be an improvement to where i am hosting ... at least until I get all this business stuff going? I have tried to read reviews online but I do not know which sites have "genuine" reviews. Smile

Thanks a bunch and Have a Great Evening!

Best Wishes -
Lina

(01-10-2012 01:54 AM)pmeenan Wrote:  Yep, sorry - every user's first post is moderated to keep the SPAM down. Your posts should flow freely now.

I doubt it is the theme specifically though I'm sure there are things the theme could do better. Unfortunately poor first byte performance for wordpress is something I see way too often (particularly on shared hosting). It is getting so bad that a wrote an article on it for this year's performance calendar: http://calendar.perfplanet.com/2011/when...ds-go-bad/

I don't have any quick/easy solutions though. More likely than not you will need to switch hosting (or at least the hosting plan) to see improvement and the options have quite a range of prices. Someone like WP Engine offers fully managed hosting (you don't need to know how to run the site) but it will be more expensive than solutions where you manage the servers yourself. I've seen people have good luck with Rackspace cloud hosting ($11/month at the cheapest) but it requires a lot of hands-on configuration of the systems.
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01-10-2012, 11:31 PM
Post: #6
RE: First Byte Grade Fluctuation?
I'm not aware of any objective sources for information on the performance of various hosting providers. Do you have systems administration skills or access to somebody who does (can set up and configure the web server and database)? If so then a reasonably cheap VPS would be a good option (which is what Rackspace is but there are cheaper alternatives available). I have had reasonable luck with Dreamhost but it's kind of dependent on what other sites are on the same server and the database there is pretty painful too.

You can set up W3 Total Cache or another caching plugin to cache your important pages on the server (front page for example) which should significantly improve the performance (you'll also want to make sure you have cron hitting the word press cron page regularly to make sure the pages are pre-cached for users).

Another option is to have an external monitoring service (like pingdom) monitor your important pages frequently (like every minute). That would give your pages a higher liklihood of staying in the server's memory cache but it's kind of working around the system instead of fixing things.
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