A lot of articles around the web tend to primarily focus on front-end WordPress optimizations and quick ways to speed up your site. Server optimizations such as network latency are sometimes neglected or overlooked. Because of this, we thought it would be interesting to take a deeper look at the importance of network latency and the impact it has on your WordPress site when loading different regions.
While a CDN can definitely help decrease network latency, your host server location is still very important, especially if you are serving visitors in a very specific geographical location. Latency matters and we’ll show you a couple reasons why.
What is Network Latency?
Network latency refers to the time and or delay that is involved in the transmission of data over a network. In other words, how long it takes for a packet of data to go from one point to another. Nowadays this is typically measured in milliseconds, however, it could be seconds depending upon the network. The closer to zero the better.
“Latency is the wait time introduced by the signal traveling the geographical distance as well as over the various pieces of communications equipment.” – Whatis.com
In other words, the further the distance the greater the latency, which equates to a longer delay. You can’t beat the speed of light when it comes to data traveling over fiber optic cables. For example, below is a map of the Google Cloud Platform network. They have thousands of miles of cable going underneath the ocean spanning the entire globe.
This is one reason why it is one of the fastest networks in the world. And even with this extensive state of the art network, there’s still always going to be latency delays.
There are a couple different factors that contribute to network latency delays, which includes:
- Transmission delay: Different types of mediums, such as wireless or fiber optic connections all introduce some type of delay as they can only push out so many bits. For example, a fiber optic connection will have a lower transmission delay than a T1 line. You must also factor in the size of the packet.
- Propagation delay: This is the time it takes for the packet of data to travel. This could include distance, networking delays, etc.
- Queuing delay: If bandwidth is exceeded there can be queuing delays in which the data has to wait at the host or router. This can be affected by network congestion.
Why Network Latency is Important
However, in most configurations, you still have to query your hosting server for the initial DOC load. And this is why latency matters!