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When I analyze the website's page load speed in Chrome I can see the wait time (where the return response files of the sever are being generated) is 55ms and total page load time is 1 second or much less. When I run the test via https://www.pingdom.com/, http://gtmetrix.com/, or the Google speed test tool, the wait time is 1.8 seconds or more and total page load time is 3 seconds or more.

The page is fully cached and the cache has been warmed.

Any ideas on why this would happen? The efforts I have made so Google would see my site as fast loading will be lost.

Please don't comment about all other optimization tips like gzip and minifying css files. I am purely asking about the wait time and/o its effects on ttfb.

  • Where are you, your server and the 3rd party testing tool physically located? Distance will play a big part in TTFB and overall loading speed. – MrWhite May 21 '14 at 9:39
  • Hi, I am in the uk, birmingham, my vps hosting my site is in london, uk and with pingdom I ran a test on a cashed page from Amsterdam which showed a wait time of 750ms. I viewed the same page in chrome, the wait time was 55ms. I did another test with pingdom using their dallas server & got the same 750ms. This confirms my thoughts that location wouldnt effect the wait time. I suppose it could effect the ttfb time because of dns looks and connection times would be longer in some locations, but the actual wait time, where the server performs generates the returned page would not change would it? – ads May 21 '14 at 9:51
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    Can you provide the URL so we can give it a try as well? – Tim Fountain May 21 '14 at 13:22
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The physical distance (and infrasture) that your site data must travel plays a large part in the TTFB (time to first byte) and overall download speed of your site.

If you and your server are located on the same network, or even the same country, then the speed is going to be a lot quicker than someone (or a 3rd party testing tool) located on the other side of the planet.

This is one of the main reasons for using a CDN (content delivery network). Your content is distributed over a number of servers around the world. This results in your content being served from a server closest to the user viewing your site.

  • Hi, I have just updated my question a little as I am really asking about how the wait time can be so different, rather than ttfb which I can understand would vary depending on location because of dns lookups and connection times. – ads May 21 '14 at 9:55
  • Hi, I just used this tool uptrends.com/aspx/free-html-site-page-load-check-tool.aspx which allows you to test from london and the wait time is still 700ms – ads May 21 '14 at 10:01
  • Ah ok, that does seem a bit odd. Have you cleared your browser cache? Or tried a new incognito session? Have you tried serving a static HTML file? – MrWhite May 21 '14 at 10:10
  • 700ms is still very good and likely within the top 1-2%. W3d is right about distance, but also consider the network configuration, routers, DNS servers, and so forth. Latencies can really add up. A response time of 1.5 seconds is still very good though I understand wanting to lower this. The primary culprits are DNS resolution and routers. Keep in mind that while these sites are useful, they are also misleading at least in part for the reasons I already explained. Also, take Google page load times with significant salt. They are notoriously slow. – closetnoc May 21 '14 at 16:01

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