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WordPress Optimization Tips

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WordPress is a wonderful application that allows us to host many different kinds of websites, including blogs, e-commerce sites, photo gallery sites, etc. From small sites, to large scale, high traffic sites, it has all the features we need.

However, as with any kind of website, it is possible that a large influx of traffic could cause slow load times, connectivity issues, etc. Below we will outline some basic tips on how to optimize your WordPress install to help reduce these problems.

Note: The information that is provided below is some of the basics of what you can you do to optimize your site. For even further details, including the types of plugins that you can install to assist in the process of optimization, please check out this article on our knowledgebase.

Databases

Often times, a database will become fragmented or bloated. You can use the “Optimize” function in phpMyAdmin to optimize your tables. This will help reduce overhead on the database and increase performance.

For information on how to do this, please click here.

Heavy Graphics and Themes

One of the ways to help reduce load times, is to reduce the size of your theme files. This includes any graphics/logos, CSS files, JavaScript files, etc. The larger your theme files are, the longer it will take for the viewer to download them. This in turn can cause increased load times, and in some cases, pages not to load at all.

This also goes for any photos you may have. WordPress already does a good job of making thumbnails of the images you upload, but some gallery plugins may not work the same. Make sure you keep an eye on the size of the images that get uploaded to your website.

Number of Plugins

Using a large number of plugins could cause extra server load. Take careful note of how many plugins you install and what each plugin does. For example, using a plugin such as a tracking plugin that does something every time a page is loaded could cause extra database calls, higher cpu use, and more memory usage. In-turn, when under heavy load, all of this could cause a delay in load times, or pages not to load at all.

If you notice any of the symptoms that we talked about, you could try disabling plugins (one at a time) to see if one particular one is causing the issue. You could then try tweaking the plugin to help reduce the server load, you could also try disabling said plugin, or you could attempt to contact the creator of the plugin to see if they are aware of the issue.

You can also install the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) to check the performance of your other plugins.

Cache Plugins

Cache Plugins work in a similar fashion as browser caches. It stores a copy of the website in the form of html pages to help reduce database calls, in turn reducing the server load. There are a few highly recommended plugins that will enable this functionality.

WordPress Cron

WordPress has a function that runs every time a page is loaded that can also add unnecessary load to your website. You can easily control this by using the WP-Cron Control plugin.

Please be aware that you will need to setup a Cron Job in addition to this plugin. For information on how to setup a Cron Job, please click here.

Server Capability

In some cases, your site may become so popular (congratulations!) that you outgrow the servers capability. In cases like this, when all other attempts of optimizing your site don’t work, you may want to consider upgrading your service.

For example, if you are currently using a HostPro service, and you start noticing high load times and other optimization techniques are not efective, you may want to consider upgrading to a Virtual Server (VPS) . This will provide you with not only more resources, but dedicated resources that you and you alone can use.

If you have any questions in regards to upgrading, please contact our support team so they can help assess your current usage and provide you with a recommendation that will fit your needs.

Still have a question? Or need help?
See an error in this article or want to suggest a missing topic? Please leave us a comment below! If you need technical support with your account, please email us, chat live with a representative, or call us!

18 Comments

  • This page is very useful but please put yourself in the mind of a non-tech user, somebody who doesn’t know for example what a CRON job is. I remember vaguely to have learnt about that in my first years of server administration, back in 1998, but in the context of WordPress, I really do not know what this can do and how to set this up.

    Kindly explain this in your page for those who are not as professional as you are in matters of server administration and site optimisation.

    Best regards,
    Pierre

    • Hello Pierre,

      I certainly understand your point – there is a lot of information in any one of these knowledgebase articles, and it is not always possible to relay this in a universally understood manner.

      In the section detailing cronjobs in this article, you should see a link to the KB article on crons itself – http://kb.site5.com/control/siteadmin/siteadmin-cron-jobs/. We try to add these links to other articles explaining some of the more complex terms and tools encountered here.

      • Hello James,
        Thanks for your kind reply. Sorry, I overlooked the link to the cron job page. Now I will check that out.
        Best regards,
        Pierre

  • Your Page Cache is Very Slow by comparing with BlueHost, HostGator.

    Can you Upgrade that Cache Speed.

    • Hi Santosh,

      I’m very sorry, but I am not sure what you mean. Any caching mentioned in this article is through a plugin, and not through any system of ours. Can you explain in more detail?

  • I’m sorry I am just lost with this. When I went to the Cron site it said it was primarily for sites that don’t get enough comments. I’m not sure how that will help me optimize my site?

    Lynn

    • Hello Lynn,

      These are broad steps that we have found help the vast majority of cases. Not every step may apply to you, of course – if the cron section does not, feel free to skip that section :)

  • Hello,
    Can you please tell me which plugin of W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache is working better with http://www.site5.com and what are the best option to select. I am not heavy advanced user and i need some guidance.

    • Hi Simon,

      It’s really personal preference. We recommend one of the two, but it’s up to you which one to use. Either one is fine :)

  • Is there a reason gzip compression was left out?
    http://www.feedthebot.com/pagespeed/enable-compression.html

    Regards,
    Glenn

    • Hello Glenn,

      Compression like this is effective, but not often needed. As well, it can drive up resource usage, which is often the cause of these optimization steps. We have a separate KB article on gzip compression, at http://kb.site5.com/others/how-to-enable-basic-compression-for-your-website/

    • Wow, ok, at the begining, my score on google speed page was 20/100, after I’ve done every recommandation (except optimize my image), my score was 30/100 not so impressive.

      After I’ve done the deflate configuration, my score is 53/100! Each site are probably different, but for me, de Deflate configuration works just perfectly.

      Thank you Glenn

  • Thanks for the helpful list!

  • I have worked out how to use W3 Total Cache plugin to consistently fast site (hosted on Site5) and PageSpeed 100 on all posts and most pages. Here are the directions:
    http://baruchyoussin.com/configure-w3-total-cache-plugin-settings-for-pagespeed-100-grade-part-1.html
    W3 Total Cache also includes caching gzip-compressed html.

    • Hello Baruch,

      Thank you for your insight on this.

  • Thank you for your sharing, I’m using more than caching plugin : W3 Caching, WP Rocket, Optimus.io ( optimize images ). Hope it will increase pagespeed on Google but after the time using, i realize it can make your system down.
    I wish i know some plugin All in one optimize. Do you know anything else plugin like that ?

    • Hello,

      There may be an all-inclusive plugin like that, yes, but I am unaware of what it would be called :) Often only one caching plugin is needed, and having extras tends to do more harm than good.

  • The tutorial is short but it points out the most important topics, cron is rarely mentoned in any tutorials.

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