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Reduce Initial Server Response Time Flag in Google PageSpeed Insights

Reduce Initial Server Response Time Flag in Google PageSpeed Insights

If you see a warning like this and you have our cache active, then something is not correct:

If this is the case, please try re-testing the page so the cache would have generated - you can check in smart optimization as well:

Otherwise, some third party plugin or server cache could be overriding our caching mechanism. If you think that is the case please try disabling any other performance tools and reach out to chat support to confirm functionality.

When the cache is properly active and generated it should look more like this:

The actual time can vary from site to site, but it should be less than 500ms when properly working (we've seen as low as 0ms 🙌)

Understanding Initial Server Response Time

Initial Server Response Time refers to the time it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of data from the server after a request is made. High response times can be due to various factors, including server configuration, server load, web traffic, resource CPU intensity, and more.

Diagnostic: Cache Not Hitting

Sometimes, upon retesting your site in PageSpeed Insights, you might encounter a flag indicating the cache did not hit. This means the test was unable to retrieve a cached version of your page, leading to a longer initial server response time.

Expected Behavior

When the cache is properly configured and hit, you should see an initial server response time of around 200ms or less. This quick response indicates that the server is delivering cached content efficiently, minimizing the wait time for the browser to start rendering the page.

Possible Issues

- Cache Miss: The requested page or resource wasn't in the cache, leading to a cache miss. This requires the server to generate the response dynamically, increasing the response time.
- Cache Configuration: Improper cache settings or headers can prevent caching mechanisms from working correctly.
- Overriding Caches: There might be other optimization tools or caching layers (like CDN caches, WordPress caching plugins, etc.) that could be interfering or overriding your intended cache settings.


Reducing initial server response times is crucial for providing a fast, responsive user experience. By ensuring your cache is hitting correctly and optimizing your server and cache configurations, you can significantly improve your site's performance in Google PageSpeed Insights and for your users.

Updated on: 02/05/2024

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