Top 7 server optimization tips for WordPress performance tuning
Everyone loves a fast website. Even search engines such as Google say a site should respond within 200 milliseconds . This means you should keep your site lightning fast not just to keep your customers happy, but to retain your SEO rankings.
From image optimization to web server tuning, a lot goes on behind performance tuning a WordPress site. Here at Bobcares, we help website owners, web designers and web hosts optimize their WordPress sites and WordPress servers.
We monitor WordPress servers 24/7, quickly fix performance issues if we detect any, and periodically optimize the web and database servers.
In a previous post we covered website specific optimization tips such as plugin optimization and CSS/JS minification. Today we’ll cover the server optimization part of WordPress performance tuning.
Here are the WordPress server optimization steps included in our Server Management Services, that we’ve seen to be effective.
1. Get browsers to cache your site files
By asking browsers to cache your website files, you can get visitors to load your site pages really fast. In NginX, this is done using the “Expires” tag, and in Apache, this is done using “mod_expires”.
However, take care when you use these directives. The look and functionality of your site depends on CSS and JS files, and if these kinds of files are cached for a long time (eg. 30 days), your repeat customers might not notice a theme or feature change in your site.
At Bobcares, we help WordPress site owners take advantage of browser caching, but avoid common pitfalls by custom configuring expires directives.
2. Compress site files for faster download
A vast majority of the files in a WordPress site are text files such as CSS, JS and HTML. These files can be compressed to one-tenth of its size, thereby reducing site load speed.
In Apache, this can be done using the mod_gzip module, and in NginX it can be done using the “gzip” tag. It is important to note that while compression improves page speed, it can induce considerable CPU load, thereby slowing the server.
We help WordPress site owners strike a balance between compression and resource usage. In some cases, we’ve used statically compressed files, and caching web servers to reduce CPU load while ensuring high compression rates.
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3. Optimize the database
WordPress stores all it’s contents in the database, and for each page load, several database queries are executed. Over time, issues like fragmentation, growth in table size, etc. lead to poor database performance.
So, it is vitally important to optimize the database every once in a while. At Bobcares, we detect database bottlenecks early, and fix them before it can slow down the website.
Our server experts monitor database metrics such as query latency, slow queries, memory usage, etc. in our customer servers to detect performance issues.
Here are a few settings we tweak often in MySQL servers to keep up the server speed:
- max_connections – In multi-user servers, this setting is used to prevent a single user hogging the entire server. In heavily loaded shared servers, this limit can be as low as 10, and in dedicated servers, it can be as high as 250.
- innodb_buffer_pool_size – In MySQL databases enabled with InnoDB, query results are stored in a memory area called “buffer pool” for fast access. We set this value anywhere between 50-70% of available RAM for MySQL.
- key_buffer_size – This setting determines the cache size for MYISAM tables. This is set approximately at 20% of available memory of MySQL.
- query_cache_size – This is enabled only for single website servers, and is set to 10MB or less depending on how slow the queries are at present.