Boost website speed with Early Hints

A new web standard for improving page-rendering speed.

What are Early Hints?

The HTTP 103 Early Hints information response may be sent by a server while it is still preparing a response, with hints about the resources that the server is expecting the final response will link to. In a slightly more digestible sentence, Early Hints allow a browser to start preloading resources even before the server has prepared and sent the final response.

How do they work?

Cloudflare’s documentation describes this quite nicely.

Early Hints take advantage of “server think time” to asynchronously send instructions to the browser to begin loading resources while the origin server is compiling the full response. By sending these hints to a browser before the full response is prepared, the browser can figure out how to load the webpage faster for the end user.

Browser support

As of the time of writing there is support in Chrome and Chromium-based browsers from version 103, as long as the HTTP response is over HTTP/2 or HTTP/3. It is also available in Firefox Nightly, but you may need to enable it via the preferences. Other browsers are yet to include the feature.



You can enable Cloudflare’s edge to cache and send 103 Early Hints responses with link headers from your HTML pages. The response contains hints about which assets will likely be needed to fully render the web page. This “hinting” speeds up page loads and generally reduces user-perceived latency.

Enabling on Cloudflare:

  1. Log in to your Cloudflare dashboard and select your domain.
  2. From the dashboard, select Speed > Optimization.
  3. Under Optimized Delivery, enable Early Hints.

Full instructions and documentation can be found on Cloudflare’s docs.

From your hosting

Some hosting providers may offer you the ability to add Early Hints. One hosting company I have seen implementing this is Kinsta. As Kinsta is set up with Google’s server infrastructure and Cloudflare, you can enable it via their dashboard. Full instructions can be found on their website.

Check with your hosting provider to see whether they support Early Hints yet, or ask when they plan to implement this as a feature.

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