First Paint

May 20, 2023

First Paint is a web performance metric that measures the elapsed time from the moment a user requests a web page to the moment the first pixel is rendered on their screen. It is a crucial part of web performance measurement since it helps to quantify how long it takes for a user to see any content on a website.


The purpose of measuring First Paint is to understand how quickly a user can see something on a webpage. The faster a user sees something, the more engaged they are likely to become with the website, which can lead to a variety of positive outcomes such as increased engagement, longer visit times, and higher conversion rates. Conversely, if a user has to wait too long for the first paint to occur, they are more likely to abandon the page and move on to a different site.

Additionally, First Paint is useful for identifying performance issues that are preventing a webpage from loading quickly. By measuring the time it takes for the first paint to occur, site owners and developers can identify areas of their site that may be causing delays and work to improve them.


First Paint is typically measured using browser tools and performance monitoring software. When a user requests a webpage, the browser starts rendering the page and tracking the time it takes for the first pixel to appear on the screen. This information is then sent to the performance monitoring software, which aggregates the data and provides insights into website performance.

There are several different factors that can impact First Paint times, including server response times, network latency, and the complexity of the page being rendered. To improve First Paint times, web developers can implement a variety of strategies such as compressing images, reducing the number of HTTP requests, and optimizing JavaScript code.

How to Improve First Paint

Improving First Paint times can be a complex process, but there are several strategies that web developers can use to optimize website performance:

1. Optimize Images

One of the main factors that can impact First Paint times is the size and complexity of images on a webpage. To improve performance, developers can compress images and reduce their file sizes. This can be done manually or with the help of tools like Photoshop, TinyPNG, or Cloudinary.

2. Reduce HTTP Requests

Each HTTP request that a browser makes to a server can add significant overhead and increase page load times. To reduce the number of HTTP requests, developers can combine CSS and JavaScript files, use CSS sprites, and implement lazy loading for images and other resources.

3. Minimize JavaScript and CSS

Large JavaScript and CSS files can also slow down page load times and delay First Paint. Developers can minimize files by removing unnecessary code, compressing files, and using libraries like jQuery or Bootstrap that are optimized for performance.

4. Implement Server-Side Caching

Server-side caching can significantly improve website performance by reducing the amount of time it takes to load pages. By caching frequently accessed data and pages, servers can serve content more quickly and reduce load times for users.

5. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers that are distributed around the world and used to serve content to users from a server that is geographically closer to them. This can reduce network latency and improve First Paint times for users in different parts of the world.