HOW TO: Optimize WordPress for Speed and Scale

Ben Metcalfe

At WordCamp L.A. 2012, Ben Metcalfe, co-founder WP Engine, shared his list of the things you need to do to optimize a WordPress site for speed and scale. If you missed it or weren’t there and didn’t take notes, here it is:

  1. Obviously, keep WordPress up to date. Right?
  2. Use w3-Total-Cache, WPSuperCache or Bat Cache. But only use one!
  3. Deactivate plugins you don’t use. Delete them but they slow down your page load time.
  4. Avoid bad plugins like backupwordpress, backwpup, broken-link-checker, dynamic-related-posts, file-commander, google-sitemap-generator, LinkMan, MyRP and wp-symposium-alerts.
  5. Dump PHP plugins with file-get-contents() or fgets() in the code, because they are calls to retrieve data from other servers, and that’ll slow you down too.
  6. Check You’ve got Signal Reverse IP look-ups to see who you’re sharing your server with.
  7. Use Flickr and YouTube as a free Content Delivery Network.
  8. Burn your RSS feed with FeedBurner which will minimize the the capacity required to satisfy subscribers, so you’re off loading the demand to Google’s servers, rather than yours.
  9. Keep your MySQL DB up to date. Use PHPMyAdmin, the OptimizeDB plugin or do it manually (ninja’s only!).
  10. Log slow MySQL queries here and remove the slow pokes.
  11. Check the site with profile tools like Debug Bar Plugin or go here.
  12. Use a premium CDN, like Los Angeles-based MaxCDN (event sponsor), Amazon CloudFront or CloudFlare all the time, or just for emergencies.
  13. Compress your images without reducing resolutions with the WPSmush.it plugin

Great useful session to end off a terrific day of WordPress insights. Thanks Austin Passey, LMU and sponsors for putting it together!

About WP Engine

Headquartered in beautiful downtown Austin, Texas — the same state where WordPress was born. WP Engine host tens of thousands of the 75 million WordPress sites and apps on Earth – a number that grows every day.

If you’re interested, I wrote another post on the key take aways from the day on the official Wordcamp L.A. blog here.