WordPress needs to continually be up to snuff in order to run smoothly. However, if your hosting is not up to snuff either, then it will be impossible to have a smooth running web site. Below are some great tips from WordPress.org that can help you get a handle on optimizing the server and WordPress for great web site speed. Enjoy!
Whether you run a high traffic WordPress installation or a small blog on a low cost shared host, you should optimize WordPress and your server to run as efficiently as possible. This article provides a broad overview of WordPress optimization with specific recommended approaches. However, it’s not a detailed technical explanation of each aspect.
If you need a quick fix now, go straight to the Caching section, you’ll get the biggest benefit for the smallest hassle there. If you want to get started on a more thorough optimization process immediately, go to How Do You Improve Performance in WordPress.
A broad overview of the topic of performance is included below in What Affects Performance and How Do You Measure Performance. Many of the techniques discussed here also apply to WordPress Multisite (MU).
What Affects Performance
The optimization techniques available to you will depend on your hosting setup.
This is the most common type of hosting. Your site will be hosted on a server along with many others. The hosting company manage the web server for you, so you have very little control over server settings and so on. The areas most relevant to this type of hosting are: Caching, WordPress Performance and Offloading
Virtual Hosting and Dedicated Servers
In this hosting scenario you have control over your own server. The server might be a dedicated piece of hardware or one of many virtual servers sharing the same physical hardware. The key thing is, you have control over the server settings. In addition to the areas above (caching and WordPress performance, the key areas of interest here are:Server Optimization and * Offloading
Number of Servers
Once you’re dealing with very high traffic situations it may be necessary to employ multiple servers. If you’re at this level, you should already have employed all of the applicable techniques listed above.
The WordPress database can be easily moved to a different server and only requires a small change to the config file. Likewise images and other static files can be moved to alternative servers (see offloading).
Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancer can help spread traffic across multiple web servers but requires a higher level of expertise. If you’re employing multiple database servers, theHyperDB class provides a drop-in replacement for the standard WPDB class and can handle multiple database servers in both replicated and partitioned structures.
Your hardware capability will have a huge impact on your site performance. The number of processors, the processor speed, the amount of available memory and disk space as well as the disk storage medium. Hosting providers generally offer higher performance for a higher price.
One innovation in hosting is the use of Solid State Drives or SSDs which are faster than traditional magnetic media. Digital Ocean offers affordable SSD hosting and Amazon has recently added SSD hosting to its cloud offerings.
Your theme will have a huge impact on the performance of your site. A fast, lightweight theme will perform much more efficiently than a heavy graphic-laden inefficient one.
The number of plugins and their performance will also have a huge impact on your site’s performance. Deactivating and deleting unnecessary plugins is very important way to improve performance.
Making sure you are using the latest software is also important – as software upgrades often fix bugs and enhance performance. Making sure you’re running the latest version of Linux (or Windows), Apache, MySQL Server and PHP is very important.
Keeping up with WordPress upgrades is also important.
The amount of traffic on your server and how its configured to handle the load will have a huge impact as well. For example, if you don’t use a caching solution, performance will slow to a halt as additional page requests come in and stack up, often crashing your web or database server. If configured properly, most hosting solutions can handle very high traffic. Offloading traffic to other servers can also reduce server load.
Abusive traffic such as login attacks, image leaking (other sites linking to your image files from high traffic pages) or DoS attacks can also increase server load. Identifying and blocking these attacks is very important.
Size of Graphics
Making sure the images in your posts are optimized for the web can save time, bandwidth and increase your search engine ranking.
The distance between your server and your website visitors also has an impact on perceived performance. A Content Delivery Network or CDN can mirror static files and images across various geographic regions so that all of your site visitors have optimal performance.