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How To Improve Your Time To Interactive on WordPress

April 10, 2023 | By David Selden-Treiman | Filed in: Core Web Vitals.


Time to Interactive (TTI) is a performance metric that measures the time it takes for a web page to become fully interactive and responsive to user input. To optimize your TTI, focus on strategies such as implementing efficient caching, optimizing your theme and media files, minifying and deferring JavaScript and CSS, and choosing a performance-optimized hosting provider.


Hey there! If you’re looking to improve your Time to Interactive (TTI) on your WordPress site, you’ve come to the right place. TTI is an important metric that measures the time it takes for your website to become fully interactive and responsive to user input. In simpler terms, it’s the moment when your site’s content has loaded and users can interact with it without any delay.

Improving your TTI is crucial for several reasons. First, it greatly enhances the user experience, as nobody likes to wait around for a website to load. Imagine you’re browsing an online store, and it takes forever for the product images to load or for the filters to work properly – frustrating, right? That’s what a slow TTI can feel like for your site visitors.

Second, search engines like Google consider site speed as a ranking factor, which means that a faster TTI can help improve your search engine rankings. This, in turn, leads to more organic traffic and potentially more conversions.

Lastly, a slow TTI can result in higher bounce rates. If your site takes too long to become interactive, visitors may leave before engaging with your content, products, or services. For example, if you run a blog and your TTI is high, readers might abandon your site before even reading your articles, reducing your chances of gaining subscribers or generating ad revenue.

In the following sections, we’ll dive into practical steps to help you improve your WordPress site’s TTI and ensure a smooth experience for your users. Let’s get started!

How Do I Get My Time To Interactive Score?

Before you start optimizing your WordPress site, it’s essential to know where you stand in terms of your Time To Interactive score. By measuring your current TTI, you’ll have a baseline to compare your improvements against, and you’ll be able to track your progress more effectively.

Tools to Measure TTI

There are several great tools available to help you measure your site’s TTI. Here are three popular ones:

Google Lighthouse

This is a free, open-source tool from Google that can audit your site’s performance, accessibility, and other metrics. It’s available in the Chrome DevTools or as a browser extension for Chrome. To use Lighthouse, simply open the DevTools, navigate to the “Lighthouse” tab, and click “Generate report.”


This user-friendly web-based tool analyzes your site’s performance and provides actionable recommendations. To use GTmetrix, head to their website, enter your site’s URL, and click “Test your site.” Once the analysis is complete, you’ll see a detailed report with your TTI and other performance metrics.


This is another powerful online tool that provides a comprehensive report on your site’s performance, including TTI. To use WebPageTest, go to their website, enter your site’s URL, and hit “Start Test.” You’ll receive a report with a wealth of information on your site’s performance.

Understanding TTI Metrics and Reports

After running tests with these tools, you’ll receive detailed reports highlighting your TTI and other performance metrics. The reports will usually include suggestions on how to improve your TTI, such as optimizing images, deferring JavaScript, and leveraging browser caching.

It’s essential to understand the key metrics provided in these reports, as they’ll help you prioritize your optimization efforts. For example, a high TTI could be due to multiple factors like slow server response times, heavy JavaScript files, or large images. By identifying the primary causes of your slow TTI, you can focus on addressing these issues first and see more significant improvements.

Now that you know how to assess your current TTI, let’s move on to the steps you can take to improve it and make your WordPress site faster and more interactive!

Optimizing WordPress for Better Time To Interactive

Ready to give your WordPress site a speed boost? Let’s explore some practical ways to optimize your site and improve your TTI.

Choose a Performance-Optimized Hosting Provider

Your website’s hosting provider plays a critical role in your TTI. A good host should provide fast server response times and be able to handle traffic spikes without slowing down your site. Here are some hosting options to consider:

Managed WordPress Hosting

These hosting providers specialize in WordPress and offer a fine-tuned environment designed for optimal performance. Examples include WP Engine, Kinsta, and SiteGround. While they may be a bit pricier than shared hosting, the performance improvements are often worth the investment.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

Cloud hosting providers like DigitalOcean, AWS, Hetzner, and Google Cloud offer scalable VPS resources and fast response times. This type of hosting can be more complex to set up, but it can deliver excellent performance, especially for high-traffic sites.

What Hosting Do We Use?

At Potent Pages, we manage our own hosting using VPSs from Digital Ocean and Hetzner. Our hosting specializes in high-performance under higher traffic loads, and we provide it to our clients as well. If you would like higher-performance hosting, please let us know!

Use a lightweight theme and optimize plugins

Your WordPress theme and plugins can significantly impact your site’s TTI. Here’s how to make sure they’re not slowing you down:

Selecting a Fast-Loading Theme

Choose a lightweight, performance-optimized theme to ensure a quick TTI. Look for themes that prioritize speed and simplicity, like Astra, GeneratePress, or Schema Lite. These themes have minimal bloat and are built with performance in mind.

Regularly Updating and Auditing Plugins

Keep your plugins up-to-date, as developers often release performance improvements in new versions. Also, periodically review your plugins and remove any that are no longer needed or are causing performance issues. For example, if you have two image optimization plugins, choose the one that works best and remove the other.

Removing Unused Plugins and Themes

Unused plugins and themes can still have an impact on your site’s performance. Uninstall any plugins and themes you’re not using to reduce potential security risks and improve your TTI.

By carefully selecting your hosting provider and optimizing your theme and plugins, you’re well on your way to improving your WordPress site’s TTI. But there’s more work to be done, so let’s keep going!

Implement Caching and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

Caching and CDNs are two powerful techniques that can dramatically improve your TTI. Let’s take a closer look at how they work and how to implement them on your WordPress site.

Server-Side Caching

Server-side caching stores a static version of your website’s pages, reducing the amount of work the server has to do each time a visitor requests a page. There are different types of server-side caching:

Object Caching

This type of caching stores database query results, so the server doesn’t need to execute the same query repeatedly. WordPress has a built-in object cache, but you can enhance its performance with plugins like Redis or Memcached.

Opcode Caching

Opcode caching saves compiled PHP code to speed up page generation. You can enable opcode caching by installing the PHP opcode caching module.

Page Caching

Page caching stores fully rendered HTML pages, significantly reducing server load and speeding up TTI. Popular WordPress plugins like W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache can help you implement page caching on your site.

Browser Caching

Browser caching allows your site’s static resources (like images, CSS, and JavaScript) to be stored in the visitor’s browser, so they don’t need to be re-downloaded on subsequent visits. You can enable browser caching using .htaccess rules or with the help of a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache.

If you want to manually enable browser caching directly, add this to the .htaccess file in your site’s main folder:

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
  # Enable expirations
  ExpiresActive On

  # Default directive
  ExpiresDefault "access plus 1 month"

  # CSS and JavaScript
  ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 year"
  ExpiresByType application/javascript "access plus 1 year"
  ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access plus 1 year"

  # Images (JPG, JPEG, PNG, GIF, SVG, ICO)
  ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 year"
  ExpiresByType image/jpg "access plus 1 year"
  ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 year"
  ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 year"
  ExpiresByType image/svg+xml "access plus 1 year"
  ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access plus 1 year"

  # Fonts (WOFF, WOFF2, TTF)
  ExpiresByType application/font-woff "access plus 1 year"
  ExpiresByType application/font-woff2 "access plus 1 year"
  ExpiresByType application/x-font-ttf "access plus 1 year"

  # PDF documents
  ExpiresByType application/pdf "access plus 1 month"

  # GZIP compression
  <IfModule mod_deflate.c>
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/xml application/xml application/xhtml+xml text/css application/javascript image/svg+xml

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers distributed across the globe that serve your site’s static resources from a server closest to your visitor. This reduces the time it takes for resources to reach the user, improving TTI.

Some well-known CDN providers include Cloudflare, Amazon CloudFront, and Akamai. Many of these providers offer easy integration with WordPress, either through their own plugins or through caching plugins

By implementing server-side and browser caching, along with a CDN, you’ll be able to significantly reduce your TTI and deliver a faster, more responsive experience to your visitors.

Optimize Media Files and Content

Media files like images and videos can be some of the largest assets on your site, and if they’re not optimized, they can significantly slow down your TTI. Let’s explore how to optimize your media files for a faster, more responsive website.

Image optimization

Optimizing images is essential for improving TTI. Here are some best practices to follow:

Properly Sizing Images

Ensure that your images are the right dimensions for their display size on your site. For example, if your blog’s content area is 800 pixels wide, there’s no need to upload images that are 2000 pixels wide. Resize your images to the appropriate dimensions before uploading them to WordPress.

Compression and Format Selection

Compress your images to reduce their file size without sacrificing quality. You can use tools like Photoshop or GIMP to compress images before uploading them, or you can use a WordPress plugin like Imagify or ShortPixel to compress images automatically. Additionally, consider using modern image formats like WebP, which offer better compression than traditional formats like JPEG and PNG.

Lazy Loading Images

Lazy loading delays the loading of images that are not visible in the user’s viewport until they scroll down to them. This can significantly improve your TTI by reducing the amount of data that needs to be loaded when a page first loads. You can implement lazy loading with a plugin like a3 Lazy Load.

Video Optimization

Videos can also have a substantial impact on your TTI. Here’s how to optimize them:

Hosting Videos on External Platforms

Instead of hosting videos directly on your WordPress site, consider using an external platform like YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia. These platforms are optimized for video streaming and can handle the bandwidth and storage requirements better than your server.

Using a Video CDN

If you need to host videos on your site, consider using a video CDN like Cloudflare Stream or Amazon CloudFront. These services can distribute your video files across a global network of servers, ensuring faster playback and improved TTI.

Lazy Loading Videos

Just like with images, lazy loading videos can help improve your TTI. Only load the video player when it’s visible in the user’s viewport. You can use a plugin like Lazy Load for Videos to implement lazy loading for your videos.

By optimizing your media files and content, you can significantly reduce their impact on your site’s TTI, leading to a more responsive and enjoyable experience for your users.

Minify and Defer JavaScript and CSS Files

JavaScript and CSS files play a crucial role in how your WordPress site looks and functions, but they can also impact your TTI if not optimized correctly. Let’s go through some ways to optimize these files for better performance.


Minification is the process of removing unnecessary characters (like whitespace, comments, and line breaks) from your JavaScript and CSS files, making them smaller and faster to download. Here’s how you can minify these files:

Use a Plugin

Many caching and performance optimization plugins, like Autoptimize and W3 Total Cache, can automatically minify your JavaScript and CSS files. Simply enable the minification option within the plugin settings.

Use an Online Tool

If you prefer to manually minify your files, you can use online tools like CSS Minifier for CSS and JavaScript Minifier for JavaScript. Upload your files, and the tool will generate minified versions that you can then replace on your server.


Concatenation is the process of combining multiple JavaScript or CSS files into a single file, reducing the number of HTTP requests needed to load your site. Some plugins like Autoptimize can handle concatenation automatically. Keep in mind that HTTP/2 makes concatenation less critical, as it allows multiple files to be downloaded simultaneously.

Deferring JavaScript

Deferring JavaScript means delaying the execution of your JavaScript files until the rest of your page has loaded. This can help improve your TTI by ensuring that critical content and layout render more quickly. Here’s how to defer JavaScript:

Use a Plugin

Autoptimize and Async Javascript both offer options to defer JavaScript execution. Just enable the appropriate setting in the plugin’s configuration.

Add the ‘defer’ Attribute

If you prefer a manual approach, you can add the ‘defer’ attribute to your JavaScript files within your site’s HTML. Here’s an example:

<script src="your-javascript-file.js" defer></script>

By minifying, concatenating, and deferring your JavaScript and CSS files, you can reduce their impact on your site’s TTI, ensuring a smoother and more responsive experience for your visitors. Just be sure to test your site thoroughly after making these changes, as some files may not function correctly when deferred or concatenated.

Regularly Monitor and Maintain Your Site’s Performance

Optimizing your WordPress site’s TTI is an ongoing process. To ensure that your site stays fast and responsive, it’s essential to regularly monitor and maintain its performance. Here are some steps you can take to keep your site running smoothly:

Regular Performance Audits

Schedule regular performance audits using the tools mentioned earlier, like Google Lighthouse, GTmetrix, and Pingdom. By consistently measuring your site’s TTI and other performance metrics, you can identify any issues that arise and address them before they become more significant problems.

Keep WordPress, Themes, and Plugins Up-To-Date

Developers often release updates that include performance improvements and security patches. Make sure to regularly update your WordPress core, themes, and plugins to ensure you’re taking advantage of the latest enhancements and keeping your site secure.

Review and Optimize Your Content

As your site grows, you may add more content, images, videos, and other assets. It’s essential to periodically review and optimize this content to prevent it from slowing down your TTI. For example, you might find older images that could benefit from compression or resizing, or you may discover embedded videos that could be replaced with links to external platforms.

Monitor server performance

Your hosting environment can also impact your site’s TTI. Regularly monitor your server’s performance using tools like New Relic or your hosting provider’s dashboard. If you notice a consistent decline in server performance, it might be time to upgrade your hosting plan or consider switching to a more performance-optimized hosting provider.

Be Careful When Adding New Features

When adding new features, plugins, or themes to your site, consider their potential impact on performance. Always test new additions in a staging environment to ensure they don’t negatively affect your TTI, and remove any unnecessary features that could be slowing down your site.

By staying vigilant and regularly monitoring your site’s performance, you can proactively address any issues that arise, keeping your WordPress site fast, responsive, and enjoyable for your users. And remember, improving your TTI is an ongoing process, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see instant results. Keep working on it, and you’ll continue to see progress over time.

Consider Using a Performance-Optimized Hosting Provider

Your hosting provider plays a significant role in your site’s TTI and overall performance. If you’ve optimized your WordPress site using the strategies mentioned above and still find your TTI lacking, it might be time to consider switching to a performance-optimized hosting provider. Let’s discuss some of the benefits of using a performance-optimized hosting provider and how to choose one.

Benefits of Performance-Optimized Hosting

  • Faster server response times: Performance-optimized hosting providers typically offer faster server response times, which can directly improve your TTI.
  • Scalability: These hosting providers often provide more scalable solutions, allowing you to handle more traffic without sacrificing performance.
  • Better caching and server-level optimizations: Performance-optimized hosting providers usually include server-level caching and other optimizations that can further improve your site’s TTI.
  • Enhanced security: High-performance hosting providers often include advanced security features that can help protect your site from threats and keep it running smoothly.

Choosing the Right Hosting Provider

When considering a performance-optimized hosting provider, it’s essential to evaluate their offerings based on your site’s specific needs. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Type of hosting: There are various types of hosting, including shared, VPS, dedicated, and managed WordPress hosting. Managed WordPress hosting is often optimized for performance and security, making it an excellent choice for many WordPress sites.
  • Server location: Choose a hosting provider with server locations near your target audience to reduce latency and improve TTI.
  • Support for performance-enhancing features: Look for a hosting provider that supports features like server-level caching, HTTP/2, and PHP 8, which can help improve your site’s TTI.
  • Customer reviews and reputation: Check customer reviews and the provider’s reputation to ensure they have a track record of delivering excellent performance and support.

There are many hosting providers that provide optimized hosting. At Potent Pages, we use our own highly-optimized hosting. Look for hosting that is designed for speed and will provide you with support for bursts of traffic.

By switching to a performance-optimized hosting provider, you can further improve your site’s TTI and provide a better experience for your visitors. Keep in mind that migrating your site to a new hosting provider can be a complex process, so make sure to plan carefully and seek professional assistance if needed.


In conclusion, improving your Time to Interactive on WordPress is crucial for providing an excellent user experience and keeping your visitors engaged. By following the strategies outlined in this article, such as optimizing your theme, using caching and CDN, compressing and resizing media files, minifying and deferring JavaScript and CSS, and choosing a performance-optimized hosting provider, you can significantly enhance your site’s TTI and overall performance.

Remember, optimizing your site is an ongoing process, and regularly monitoring and maintaining your site’s performance will help you address any issues before they become more significant problems. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see instant results; keep working on it, and you’ll continue to see progress over time.

With a faster, more responsive WordPress site, you’ll not only improve your user experience but also potentially benefit from better search engine rankings and increased conversions. So, take the time to optimize your site’s TTI and enjoy the rewards of a better-performing website.

David Selden-Treiman, Director of Operations at Potent Pages.

David Selden-Treiman is Director of Operations and a project manager at Potent Pages. He specializes in custom web crawler development, website optimization, server management, web application development, and custom programming. Working at Potent Pages since 2012 and programming since 2003, David has extensive expertise solving problems using programming for dozens of clients. He also has extensive experience managing and optimizing servers, managing dozens of servers for both Potent Pages and other clients.


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What Is The Best Web Hosting Provider?

Finding the best web hosting provider for your needs is an important step in optimizing your website. There's a lot to consider. Here are our basic recommendations:

Simple Websites

For simple websites, you have a lot of options. Most web hosts will do acceptably for a simple small-business website or blog.

That said, we recommend avoiding website builders so that you maintain control of your website.

VPS Hosting

If you just need a simple VPS, most providers will work well. Different providers have different downtimes, but the big differentiators are cost.

Providers like AWS and Google Cloud tend to be much more expensive than more specialized providers.

We recommend Digital Ocean and Hetzner if you're looking for a good VPS provider at a good price (it's what we use.)

High Performance Hosting

If you're looking for high performance web hosting, you're going to need something more specialized.

You can't just expect a simple cPanel host to give you what you'll need. You need a custom configuration.

Generally, you'll need either a managed host, or you'll need to get your servers configured with custom configurations.

If you're looking for a high performance hosting provider, we offer hosting designed for high-availability and high-traffic.

WordPress Hosting

What WordPress Hosting Should You Get?

There are many considerations when getting a WordPress hosting provider. Focus on the performance needs of your website.

WordPress Hosting Setup

When setting up your WordPress hosting, or switching hosts, there are a number of steps to complete. These include:

WordPress & Security

There are a number of WordPress security threats to contend with. We recommend using a plugin like WordFence to help secure your site.

WordPress Backups

Make sure to also back-up your site. It's absolutely essential, and ideally use an off-site backup provider that's different from your hosting provider.

WordPress Speed Improvements

There are a number of ways to improve the speed of your WordPress site on its hosting.

There are a number of plugins that can help improve your site's speed.


DNS Records

There are many different types of records, each with their own purpose. These include: SOA, A, TXT, CNAME, PTR (reverse DNS), and more. On some servers, you can also set up wildcard records.

The records you need will depend on what you're doing; WordPress sites require different records than mail servers, for example.


The process of your records transmitting to DNS servers around the world is called propagation. It normally takes 48 hours, but you can speed it up a bit with some planning.


To test your DNS records, there are 2 main tools: dig and nslookup. Each is very helpful in its own specialty.

Reliability & Security

There are a number of ways to improve your DNS reliability and security.

  • Split Horizon allows you to separate networks, either for intranets or for separating by geographic region.
  • GeoDNS allows you to give different records to different locations based on the requesting IP address. This allows you to create your own CDN, speeding up your site.
  • DNS over QUIC speeds up your DNS requests and gives you better DNS security by encrypting your DNS connection.
  • DNSSEC allows you to sign and encrypt your DNS connection, ensuring that nobody is changing your records.
  • DNS over HTTPS allows your visitors to request your DNS records over an encrypted connection.

Internationalized Domains

Internationalized domain names allow character encodings other than Latin characters. They have their own methods for backward compatibility.

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