Faster WordPress and Caching

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How to get a faster WordPress powered website? Now that I am (reasonably) happy with the look and feel of things, I have turned my focus to performance. The website as it was took far too long to provide the first byte of data to the visitor’s browser, and then took far too long to follow with the content. The result in real world testing would be that a visitor would not wait for the site to load, and would go elsewhere, or give up. A faster WordPress server? Maybe.

I think the server is pretty much as fast as it can be and is not lacking in resources. Tests I have run show that the server is not having to work at all. So, only a few variables exist to slow things down:

  • The data uplink speed from the server. Currently at 100 mbps, it could be upgraded to 1 gbps (ten times faster). I need to find the cost.
  • Every time a page is requested, WordPress has to make it from the database. That takes time. Better to cache that page if it is unlikely to change from one visit to the next. I have tried W3TotalCache and WP-FFPC, but I noticed that our site security software, Wordfence, has 2 cache types available as an option. I can’t get the advanced Falcon working, as our site is not using .htaccess, and so the rules needed for Falcon need re-writing (I have posted a support ticket for this help), but the basic cache works fine. Much faster than W3TotalCache and WP-FFPC. No extra cost there.
  • Those static files (stylesheets, javascripts and cached pages) from our own server are still too slow. The online guides I have read suggest that using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) will speed this up. As our host is a Cloudflare partner, I have asked for details to upgrade to Cloudflare Pro, which will mean that Apache server will need mod_cloudflare adding. Hopefully BBGN, our host, can do that. The most that this will cost is $5 per month (75% off the normal price).
  • Physical distance. No matter where your server is in the world, the data has to travel all the way to the visitor’s computer, and that takes time. A CDN holds copies of your files in dozens of places in the world, again reducing the load time.

Hopefully, all this, when I get details and implement them, will give us a faster WordPress.

Categories: WordPress.