What’s the optimal server response time?

Fairly valid answers:


  1. Faster than your competitors
  2. Under 2 seconds


I’d go with #2 as I’m a believer in having metrics for myself independent of others’ performance. It just seems conducive to higher overall happiness.


My coworker, Sreeram Ramachandran, who developed Site Performance in Webmaster Tools forwarded me an article by Akamai about response times for eCommerce sites.


At Google, we definitely aim for sub-two.


You can check your site’s response time from locations throughout the world at WebPagetest.org. For example, a user in Virginia with DSL needs less than a second to run the query [page speed] on Google.com.


response time for google query
click image for this result on WebPagetest.org

8 Replies to “What’s the optimal server response time?”

  1. Hi Maile! I love your site. The Love & Technology idea is a brilliant combo. I’ve added you to my blogroll and look forward to learning more about L&T from you. Fx


  2. Hello Maile,

    I’m a graduate journalism student at Sciences Po Paris, and we watch many of your Google videos in my “networked media” class. They are really excellent (well-written, easy to follow, thorough), but every time I watch one, I can’t help but think to myself, “She’s got my name! There is another Maile in this world who geeks out to all things Web!” (Next to you, I have much to learn, however.)

    I just wanted to say “hello.” And to ask if you’re from Hawaii. (I am.)

    Best of luck with your blog! Keep up the good work!

    – Maile


    Maile Ohye Reply:

    Hi Maile, this is really fun. It’s like writing a letter to myself!

    My parents and older sisters, Michelle and Marnie, lived in Kaneohe, Oahu, before moving to California, where I was born. Cruel twist of fate 🙂 that my sisters had these nice, sound-as-they’re-spelled names, while I had “Maile” in an area where no one had heard of it. Not sure what it’s like for you, but I’ve been addressed as “may lee”, “my lay”, and of course, “male.” Nothing makes a girl feel more feminine than being called “male!”

    And now we also have Hannah Montana…
    Is your family still on the islands?



    maile Reply:

    hi maile!

    thanks for the reply. forgive the delay–i only saw your message today. but yes! I so know what you mean about the spelling. And oddly, I find people really struggle to pronounce it, too, even if they haven’t seen its spelling. maybe they try to make it more exotic than it is? here in france, i’ve become my-leh, which is pretty cute when french people say it, and a lot closer to the way it should be said than when people say may-lee, or worse, may-ling. (i’m half chinese, so a lot of people think it’s chinese in origin.) miley is also a man’s name in ireland, something i learned while there–to the amusement of others. 😉 (there apparently is a famous irish tv show, glenroe, that features a character called miley. from what i gather, he’s a bit of a grouchy old man.)

    yep, the family is still back in hawaii–on the big island. though, oddly enough, i too was born in california. my dad was back and forth between the two places for years, then when i was 7, he settled us in kona.

    again, nice to hear a reply from you. keep up the good work, and if you ever need a local girl in paris, let me know! (might attending leweb fall within the realm of your responsibilities? actually, i think there’s a lot of interesting stuff happening in france, in terms of web media. i’m starting a new internship at lefigaro.fr on monday. very cool stuff.)

    much aloha,


  3. it’s best to allow database servers to handle data manipulation. Adding SQL code to handle this work is much more efficient than doing string manipulations or doing in-memory queries (query of queries). Additionally, stored procedures generally provide a higher level of performance than regular SQL queries


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