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That's exactly their point. They claim most measurement tools will give false results if your web server outputs the headers before processing the actual request data.

In other words, web servers can cheat and look good, so we should just ignore TTFB. If you're not a web server developer, TTFB is quite useful. It tells you how quickly request processing happened. Progressive images can get started quickly.

The problem is not with TTFB -- it's that tests that succeed even with "cheating" header responses need to be fixed, if possible, to fail the cheating server.

WebPageTest could modify their TTFB test to require a complete header, so the single-character cheating wouldn't work.

But sending the header first isn't cheating. What you need to do is wait for the first byte of actual page content to show up. That will show you how long initial request processing took.

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