Plugins, Tools, and Tweaks To Make WordPress Run Faster

Choosing Better Plugin

When we are talking about WordPress, what makes it great is the ability to expand itself by using plugins. Those plugins can also expand themselves by having their own plugins. Choosing the right plugin to do the right job will make WordPress run faster than ever.

There are more than 50,000 registered plugins inside WordPress database. Those numbers didn’t even count numerous paid plugins being sell on Codecanyon or other private plugins store.

Depending on who wrote the plugins you are using, it will define how fast your WordPress will be served to your visitors.

Front-end Caching Plugin

W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are two competitive plugins for caching front-end WordPress code. There are saying says that, “No one knows your product better than you do”. Automattic, the creator of WP Super Cache is also the creator of WordPress. By holding to that phrase, we are choosing WP Super Cache since it is straightforward, easier to use and lightweight.

Installing W3 Total Cache brings chaos to our WordPress sites by making it slow and unresponsive for a certain period in the admin panel. While thinking it was just a WordPress problem, we didn’t know it was W3 Total Cache all this time. After we have replaced it with WP Super Cache, it works as advertised.

Object Caching Plugin

Caching WordPress object is crucial for creating a fast site. The front-end of a WordPress will be using the object to make your post and page. When a new visitor opens the same post, a new object will again, created. Creating the same object isn’t good for your site. Thus, object cache will come for a rescue.

Caching object as a static file is okay. But the best one is to cache it in memory. We are using Redis Object Cache plugin to achieve this. You need to make sure your server has Redis installed and started for the plugin to works.

Javascript and CSS Minifier

One key to reducing website load time is to minify and concatenate Javascript and CSS files. This will reduce HTTP request and your site will serve smaller Javascript and CSS files. We are suggesting Merge + Minify + Refresh plugin to do this jobs.

Queuing email for comments

Did anyone notice that WordPress comment system sucks? It is freaking slow because when someone leaves out comment, it will send an email to the blog owner. Queueing email is fairly simple by using SMTP Mailing Queue plugin. We suggest you take a look at Mailgun or ElasticEmail if you don’t have Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) inside your server.


WordPress Cron

A scheduled job will be created by WordPress whether you like it or not. This job will be running when it has reached the execution time. It will appear to you that your site runs fast to you but in reality, your next website visitor will execute the jobs. You can’t disable the cron job, but you can make it run using a true cron job.

Open your wp-config.php and add DISABLE_WP_CRON under DB_COLLATE as shown in the example below.

/** The Database Collate type. Don't change this if in doubt. */
define('DB_COLLATE', '');

/** Disable wp-cron.php **/
define('DISABLE_WP_CRON', true);

After you have saved the file, register a cron command inside your crontab.

/path/to/php/binary/php -q /path/to/your/wordpress/folder/wp-cron.php


RunCloud as your server manager

Provisioning your server will bring you a total pain. Due to the pain in setting up a perfect server, it is advisable to use tools like RunCloud for hassle-free server management.

Categories: Tips & Tricks, WordPress

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13 thoughts on “Plugins, Tools, and Tweaks To Make WordPress Run Faster

  1. Quick update: most W3 Total Cache options can be set to use Redis (instead of Memcached, or disk caching, etc). So I think the Redis plugin would be redundant (or unneeded).

  2. Also, sometimes the minifying options in W3 Total Cache are incompatible with some themes – eg., it’ll cause errors when loading a slider, or change image styling. So I switched to using Cloudflare’ minify.

  3. We have been using Cache Enabler by KeyCDN for a while and prefer it to Super Cache as its very simple and light weight. We had issues in Multisites when using Super Cache.

  4. Question though. On the cron job. Being that all wp-cron are like scheduled all differently depending on plugins and stuff. What do we put on the our Runcloud cron tab? To schedule every minute?

  5. If using REDIS under Nginx + Apache2 Hybrid do we still need to install the Nginx plugin and set it up to purge the cache?

    1. 2 layers of caching – static and object, should really help keep your site fast under heavy loads.

      There is a tutorial on Nginx FastCGI/Proxy Caching for your static needs here, you’ve probably already seen that?

      The Nginx plugin helps manage the static (html)
      cache and can purge cache on post and content updates. But at the moment the purge all function isn’t working, but I believe the RunCloud guys have their own home rolled solution in the works, which we eagerly await.

      The Redis/Memecached caching is object caching, for caching database queries using the standard WordPress plugins. Though I do believe with more advanced setups you can use it for things like template fragment caching. Though I’ve never set this up myself.

      I am going to do a short tutorial on setting up Redis for Wordpress, just the basics.

      1. Yes I’ve seem that 🙂 I’m not using it because as you mentioned their caching doesn’t fully clear when purging it.

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