Some of you may have noticed that I have been doing quite a bit of work on this site in recent weeks.
The home page is constantly being tweaked and improved, the logo has changed a few times, and I've also been experimenting with quite a few new plugins to add different features to the site.
Last week, I noticed that the site was running extremely slowly. It was almost unbearable for me to even write a blog post, because common tasks like saving drafts and previewing posts were taking way longer than normal.
It wasn't only the dashboard that was slow. Even the pages and posts were taking up to several seconds to load. So I decided that I definitely needed to do something about this because if it was bothering me, it would definitely bother the visitors to the site.
My first thought was to look for a good caching plugin (That's right. I suspected that this problem was being caused by slow WordPress plugins, and here I was installing yet another plugin).
Caching plugins work by saving static copies of your pages (which are normally generated by a database), and allowing pages to be served with little or no work from the database.
I did a little research and eventually decided to go with a plugin called WP Super Cache. I installed and set it up within a couple of minutes, and started browsing the site to see how it was working.
Database driven sites are not inherently slow (they can actually be extremely fast), but when you take WordPress, throw in a bloated theme, and start adding a bunch of plugins, the combination can sometimes lead a high amount of load on the server and really slow things down.
The caching plugin did help quite a bit. Pages were loading noticeably faster, but still seemed pretty sluggish. So I did some more research on “How to debug slow WordPress Plugins”. This lead me to … you guessed it. Another Plugin!
This time, it was a plugin called P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler). This plugin runs a scan on your WordPress site and analyzes all installed plugins and measures their impact on the speed of your site.
After installing running it, it gave me a very detailed picture of which plugins were causing my speed problems. I ended up deactivating a few plugins, and it made a huge difference. Again, the site still doesn't seem fast to me, but it's a lot better than it was.
Plugins are part of what makes WordPress so great, but they can lead to problems if you don't keep track of them. If a plugin isn't 100% necessary, you should probably just remove it. And if you suspect that your site may be running slow because of a plugin, I highly recommend using the P3 plugin.
Post a comment if you have any other recommendations for speeding up WordPress.