"slow initial server response time"

I’ve used three website speed tests.
One thing that gets me dinged every time is
Reduce look up time from server. Reduce DNS look up times, “time to interactive”,
Root document took 1.4s, Reduce DNS lookups, 2596 msFirst Byte Time.
I believe these are all the same thing.
Network Solutions is my original host (they keep saying that Cloudflare is my host). I can’t figure out where the “lengthy” initial server response time is coming from (generally hovers around 1.4s).

Where is the bottleneck? How do I figure that out?
Could some of this be coming from my DNS record that still has a gray flag on it? I asked the question before and when I removed that record, my blog (not a subdomain) promptly stopped working.
Is this part of the issue?
Screen Shot 2021-06-04 at 8.03.27 PM

I’m so sorry for just not getting this, but I’ve gone about as far as I can go on own. Could this be a “simple” as my Network Solutions servers are just slow?

So sorry I keep having to come back to the community, but I get lost in all of this very quickly.
Thank you in advance.

Do you also have a DNS entry for ‘www’? That’s what your site redirects to, and it’s :orange: Proxied. I recommend against using wildcard DNS (*), and manually enter the DNS records you need with the appropriate :orange:/:grey: for each.

I’d like to see that DNS test, as Cloudflare DNS is super fast. It might not like that your site uses nine hostnames (sources) for main page content. Each hostname requires its own DNS lookup, which would account for “Reduce DNS Lookups.”

First Byte (TTFB) is because of your server. Cloudflare doesn’t cache that page, so all requests for the HTML portion have to come from your server.

The best you could hope for is a Page Rule:
Match: www.marcicurtis.com/
Setting: Cache Level (Everything), Edge Cache TTL (12 hours, or the maximum amount of time you’re ok with keeping that version of the page cached)

Thanks for riding in on the white horse to save me! You are so thorough. But keep in mind that while I did code the entire site by hand, I am about as technically illiterate as they come.

Do you also have a DNS entry for ‘www’? MAYBE? DOES THIS COUNT?

That’s what your site redirects to, and it’s :orange: Proxied. "I recommend against using wildcard DNS (), and manually enter the DNS records you need with the appropriate :orange:/:grey: for each.* "
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? I know there are two A records, but when I’ve gotten rid of the * gray one, my blog disappears even though it is not a subdomain. AGAIN, SORRY TO BE DUMB!

It might not like that your site uses nine hostnames (sources) for main page content.” NINE? DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU FOUND THAT AND WHAT THOSE HOSTNAMES ARE? WHAT ARE HOSTNAMES. AGAIN… NOT SO BRIGHT.


First Byte (TTFB) is because of your server.” How do you convince your host that they are actually your host. They keep showing me on lookup that Cloudflare is the host. I keep telling them they are only the CDN, but my site is parked on their server. They keep telling me that since Cloudflare has my DNS records, there is nothing they can do for me. And around and around we go :frowning:

Cloudflare doesn’t cache that page”, so how do I get them to do that? Is that where the Page Rule you gave me comes in? From the link you posted above from performanc.sucuri, do the green columns mean that’s the Cloudflare first contact and the red is from my original server with Network Solutions?

Again, apologies for never, ever understanding your very thorough answers. This is like learning a foreign language and those were never my forte. Thank you sdayman!

Yes, that CNAME counts. Let’s move on from DNS, as that’s not an issue.

That’s a lot of shouting.

I don’t see any mention of DNS on those screenshots, with the exception of the tiny green sliver from WebPageTest. But that screen shows all those hostnames with all their DNS queries. They don’t take much time, but there are quite a few of them.

Not my fight. I use a VPS, so I know my connections, But you can certainly show them the screenshot of your DNS records.


Pretty much. The Connection is Cloudflare opening the door, but First Byte is how long it takes them to get the first bit of information from your server, like the “M” from “May I help you?”. The Total is the total time from opening the door until they finish saying “you?”.

Here’s one of my basic pages. It has a Cache Everything rule, but I’m pretty sure all those connections aren’t cached all over the world, so that’s coming straight from my server. I have two things going for me: A fast server, and server-side caching, like a Wordpress caching plugin. My slowest connections are Australia and Singapore. Not a big surprise since my server is in LA.

Hi sdayman,

Forgive me. I did not mean to come off as a shouty mc shoutface!
I was just trying to differenciate between your thorough responses and my questions. Please don’t take offense.

Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions. They are clear and I will implement them all as soon as I can.
I see an awful lot of google hostnames on that list. Do yo know of any good way, or articles to explore that can suggest ways to bundle/eliminate some of these? Pretty sure some of the redundancy is because they appear in the header and body, right? Seems like google (and Cloudflare) would be aware that the more often they request us to put in their duplicate codes, the slower our response times will be. Am I missing something obvious?

Again, THANK YOU (yes, that was actual shouting of appreciation) and I’ll be looking at your pretty green connection times with envy :slight_smile:

If you’re talking about DNS, there are no duplicates. Those are nine unique hostnames that all require their own lookups. There’s no way around that, other than not using those external resources.

I also just realized that since you hand coded your site (very brave!), you can change that Page Rule to a match for www.marcicurtis.com/* and crank up the Edge Cache TTL to a month. The star at the end means it’s ok for Cloudflare to cache every page, every-everything. Cloudflare most likely won’t hold onto cached files for that long, but setting it to a month will let Cloudflare know it’s ok to cache for as long as possible. If you make changes, you can always “Purge Everything” from the Cloudflare dashboard.

The good news is that since your clients are most likely local to you, they’ll most likely all be using the same Cloudflare cache.

If you want to cheat on site speed for humans, you can prefetch the most likely next pages from your HTML header. Their browser will cache just the HTML of that page(s) so when they click on the link, it’ll give them a head start. Since you’re using Google Analytics, you’ll probably know which pages are most likely to be next after someone hits your home page. Plus, HTML is small and doesn’t add much overhead.

Wow! This is FANTASTIC (yes, and now I AM shouting) information :slight_smile:
My website’s been around for 22 years and when I started they only way to make it look halfway decent was to hand code it.
Brave? No, but stubborn, yes. Unfortunately for me, everything changes every couple of years, so it’s like having to relearn calculus from scratch.
I’m not good at it, but up until the past year, google has rewarded my content and longevity. Now, not so much :frowning:

Thanks for sending me onto a new path. You are awesome! Thank you!

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