When talking about WordPress performance, a lot of keywords come up: TTFB, latency, TTR (Time To Render), bandwidth, redis, nginx, Apache, caching, CDN, Cloudflare and much more. There are too many different opinions around, when it comes to WordPress performance. As a result we believe it is time to end the confusion and get to the point. How to increase WordPress performance?

Truth be told: the answer is complex. So we started this Howto series to shed light on the underlying issues. As a matter of fact we show where most of those different opinions come from. Also: why are most of those opinions viable for specific setups? Additionally we elaborate on the background and offer step by step solutions. All this while we also explain the reasoning for each solution.

We start with this “base”-Howto about WordPress performance. Two more HowTo series will dive into two basic core architectures to consider:

  1. HowTo WordPress Performance
    This “lead”-HowTo covering general points, which apply to sites and root servers.
  2. HowTo WordPress Performance Sites
    Without root access to the server, major issues need to be solved inside WordPress. While less efficient, this strategy is the only option to increase WordPress performance without having root-access.
  3. HowTo WordPress Performance Root Server
    Root-access offers a myriad of options to increase WordPress performance in a highly efficient way, while reducing WordPress complexity. While this is technically the best solution, it is also demanding by requiring a lot of Know How, while being time-intensive.

Introduction:
Four Hosting Architectures

Generally speaking, there are four basic architectures to consider for WordPress performance management. A website, a shared server, a managed server or a dedicated server. Each architecture offers *usually* distinct advantages and disadvantages. Also the pros and cons can change depending on the hoster and the underlying solution. Still the concept is usually quite similar. So this also applies to current Cloud offerings/solutions. Can’t find your hosting? Drop us a comment.

A short overview about these architectures:

Feature to consider Website
(no root access)
Managed Server
(no root access)
Shared Server
(root access)
Dedicated Server
(root access)
Dedicated Internet connection
Guaranteed minimum hardware ressources
Guaranteed maximum hardware ressources
Build an optimized WordPress performance site infrastructure
Optimize OS for WordPress performance
Completly optimize php version and configuration
Optimize Web Server for general WordPress performance
Optimize Web Server for specific WordPress performance
Server/site administration effort minimal low high high
Required technical know-how minimal low average high

Website And Managed Server

Somehow already obvious, Website and Managed Server are quite similar. Basically a Managed Server is a server offering space for several Websites – maybe even a lot of Websites. Or in other words: A Website is running on a Managed Server, making the Managed Server a superset of Websites.

Shared And Dedicated Server

Likewise a Shared and a Dedicated Server: Shared Servers are for normal virtual servers running on a Dedicated Server, making Shared Servers a subset of Dedicated Servers.

Where Resources Are Shared

From another perspective a Website and a Shared Server run on a Server with other active users – resources are shared. So it becomes clear, when e.g. another party is using a lot of system resources, our Website or Shared Server generally receives less resources (especially bandwidth). In worst case only the minimum guaranteed hardware resources remain, (which in most cases is not much).

Where Resources Are NOT Shared

Contrary to above, a Managed and a Dedicated Server do not share resources. Instead both are single machines, where all resources are dedicated to the owner of the server.

CDN

On first view adding a CDN (Content Delivery Network) changes above evaluation. This is especially the case for Cloudflare. While partially true, a CDN can not turn a lame donkey into a complete race horse (but vice versa it can). In the follow-up HowTos of this series we will elaborate in-depth on CDNs.

HowTo: WordPress performance

Ready to take a HowTo ride with us? Comment, ask, offer input – we gladly answer you and take your concerns and requests into account.