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WordPress Optimization

If you run a high traffic WordPress installation you will want to optimize WordPress and your server to run as efficiently as possible. This article is a general overview of the avenues to pursue. It's not a detailed technical explanation of each aspect.

If you need a quick fix now, go straight to the caching page, you'll get the biggest benefit for the smallest hassle there.

For a quick introduction to WordPress Optimization see the cheat sheet. For all the articles on optimizing WordPress see the WordPress Optimization category.

See also High Traffic Tips for WordPress


Hosting Specific

The optimization techniques available to you will depend on your hosting setup. This article is divided into categories according to hosting type.

Shared Hosting

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:

Other areas which may be of interest include:

Virtual / Dedicated Server

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:

Other areas which may be of interest include:

Multiple 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).

If you're employing multiple database servers, the HyperDB class provides a drop-in replacement for the standard WPDB class and can handle multiple database servers in both replicated and partitioned structures.

WordPress MU Optimization

Many of the server-side techniques discussed here also apply to WordPress MU.

Use a CDN for Images and Static Files

Using a CDN can greatly reduce the load on your website. Offloading the searching and delivery of images, javascript, css and theme files to a CDN is not only faster but takes great load off your WordPress server's own app stack. A CDN is most effective if used in conjunction with a WordPress caching plugin such as W3TC, see caching page.

Here is a step by step guide to using Amazon CloudFront.

MySQL Tuning

Here is a helpful script for tuning MySQL to your WordPress & server configuration.

Further Reading

General server performance

For testing the speed of your site

WordCamp Presentations