For most bloggers, the bigger the audience the better. And when it comes to building up a regular readership, it's hard to argue against the benefits of a fast loading blog. For both daily subscribers and one-time traffic spikes from sites like Digg, it's vital for the growth and reputation of your blog to ensure that you always bring the bacon.
Follow these steps to keep your WordPress blog at the top of its game.
- Use gzip compression. You can optimize your blog with gzip compression. Use a plugin, such as WordPress Gzip Compression or Gzip Ninja Speed Compression, to enable it. Gzip compression can help your page load faster, use less bandwidth, and in certain circumstances, be beneficial to SEO as well.
- Get rid of unnecessary plugins. You can give your WordPress a little speed boost by removing all inactivated or less useful plugins that you may have hanging out in your folder. Here are 12 plugins which could help if you're struggling to do this manually.
- Adjust your WP built-in cache. Your WordPress blog can get a small boost in speed from a very simple adjustment. WordPress automatically caches many types of database queries as files on your disk, which can bog down your CPU. Simply go to your wp-config.php and change the following://Enable the WordPress Object Cache: define(ENABLE_CACHE, true); This internal cache is very convenient, although it can't be purged, and it's a fairly basic solution. If you need better caching, read on.
- Get a WordPress caching plugin. Instead of using built-in WordPress caching, try out this useful plugin. It's can make your site more efficient, responsive, and noticeably faster. There are other plugins available if W3 Total Cache doesn't suit.
- Use a CDN. Content-heavy websites may slow to a crawl if there are lots of requests for large files. A content delivery network could speed up downloads, help pages to load faster and take the load off your host. Users can even access common files, like jQuery files, from the CDN.
- Clean up PHP: php.ini. PHP is full of tons of small modules that need to load and take up valuable time. You can reduce the amount of time this takes by accessing /etc/php.ini. From there, you can disable any extensions you aren't using and maximize your PHP.
- Accelerate your PHP Opcode Cache. Instead of waiting for your scripts to recompile, you can use a program like eAccelerator, which caches scripts in their compiled state. It can shave a significant amount off of the time it takes for your blog to load.
- Edit your Apache httpd.conf. Your blog can get bogged down loading modules you're not using, but changing your Apache settings can help. There are many how-to guides out there that can help you maximize the performance of this software.
- Set reasonable timeouts. Setting reasonable Apache timeouts can help you keep any individual thread or connection from monopolizing the system and bringing all other incoming queries down. Setting the timeout to a reasonable time limit like 30 seconds can help eliminate this problem and keep your blog speedy.
- Tweak your query cache. The query cache is designed to save the results of queries, but slight changes in these queries aren't compiled and can create multiple cache entries for very similar requests. Don't go too high, though: this guide offers good advice on tweaking incrementally.
- Check your MySQL key cache. Check out your MyISAM key cache in MySQL to see how yours is functioning. Ideally, the ratio of actual reads of your blog to requested reads should be in the range of 1:10. If it's not, you can increase your key buffer.
- Optimize the MySQL thread cache. Every time MYSQL processes a request, it creates a new thread, or on some systems, forks. Some of these threads get stored and become part of your cache. In order to speed up the process, you can up the cache until the process is only left to making a few new threads. This will keep you from using up memory to create thousands of threads.
- Choose the right webhost. While having your own top of the line dedicated server is nice, not everyone can afford it. There are less expensive options that will give you dependable hosting and keep your blog up and running smoothly.
- Employ mirroring. You can keep your WordPress blog from going offline by employing mirroring. Mirroring your content is very simple.
- Get better hardware. If you're running your blog on an old, outdated PC, you're asking for trouble. While you don't necessarily need a top-of-the-line machine to run your blog, it doesn't hurt to have a system that gives you a little room to breathe. Consider adding extra RAM to speed things up, or if you have the funds, invest in a faster CPU.
- Use up-to-date software. While it may seem pretty obvious, make sure you're using the newest version of any software you work with. Often, improvements have been made that can greatly speed up the performance of the program.
- Maximize your server architecture. The amount of traffic your blog gets can determine the best way to set up your server. For some, it may be better to run everything on one box, but for others, splitting up the components into different boxes can speed things up.
Before you try out any of these tweaks, try using a program like Pingdom that can provide you with a detailed analysis of your blog's loading time and performance. Then, you can easily evaluate how much time you've saved by using any of these suggestions.