A problem that I have always found on my blog is the speed that it loads at. It takes far too long for my content to display fully and although in reality it only takes a few seconds, it will frustrate people because most people are used to the content displaying instantly ( maybe they never experienced dial-up before, so they cannot be grateful for the speed difference) ;).
Anyway my blog is of course powered by the open-source platform: WordPress. In my opinion the best platform for blogging. So yesterday I spent a lot of time trying to find different ways on how I could increase the performance of my blogs load speed, and it has definitely been successful.
So first off I went around a variety of different blog posts reading the different methods people used and also reading a lot of tips on how to go about improving load speed/time. So the first thing is that my blog used to take approximately 2.5 seconds to load, of course this speed varies from page to page, but on average the load time would be 2.5 seconds. It’s not too bad, however there is always room for improvement and I hate having to wait for my blog to load, so that means if it annoys me it will definitely annoy others 😀 and also if people have to wait for a page to load they will generally give up and go elsewhere and you will now have lost out on a new visitor :(.
So here are the few steps that I took to increase my blogs performance. Before you do any of this I always recommend backing up your database and export a copy of your blog posts (Just incase 😉 ). So apparently when you install plugins and then remove them and save and edit your blog posts and pages it will cause a lot of inconsistencies within your blogs database. By having all of these inconsistencies it can contribute to your database being very complex and will in turn cause the site to slow down, and that is what we do not want. So the solution I used to fix this was a simple plugin that is called: ‘Fix Database‘. It will add a page to your admin backend under the settings section called fix database, so once you click into it there is only one button in it saying fix database, once that is clicked it runs through the database fixing and optimizing your database by updating table information.
The next thing I done was to add a cache system to my site, this will save a copy of the page for a set amount of time so that when you next visit the site the page will be loaded from the cache and will cause less communication to be needed to your server so page will load quicker :D. The plugin I used for this cache in my site is called WP Super Cache, this is probably the most popular cache plugin used on wordpress. By going though the various setting in the WP Super Cache plugin you can set when and how long a page will be cached for, for example you might want the cache page to load until a new post is added and then have the cache cleared so visitors can see the new post you have added. Also you can turn on compression so that less space is used by the cache pages. Having a cache on your blog is a must and especially if your traffic is very high.
The final plugin I added is called WP-DBmanager, this is another plugin for maintaining your database and it does contain a lot of complex settings that I do not bother messing with. However there are a lot of useful things such as being able to repair and edit your database and also you can make queries into your database, I would not really make many queries into my database but it is always helpful to be able to do this. Also you can make back-ups of your database and download them or have them e-mailed to your e-mail address. Also you can set your blog to automatically send a backup daily to your site so if your blog goes down you won’t lose anything and also you can set it to automatically optimize the database on a regular bases so that your site will be in a great performance state.
So after doing all of this the new page load speed on average now is about 0.777 seconds, that is now less than a third of the original load speed (2.5 seconds) before I added all of these plugins. So I am happy at the moment on my blogs performance 😀
Also in terms of administration I have increased speed in the back-end of the site by upgrading to wordpress 2.8, it has helped a lot but the speed in the back-end never really annoyed me too much 😀