Slow WordPress admin panel?
You may need to disable object cache in W3 Total Cache or switch cache plugins to WP Rocket which was rated #1 in a Facebook poll and has less issues than W3TC. You can also disable unnecessary WordPress settings using WP Disable and delete/replace any high CPU plugins.
It could also be a slow server. Run your site through Google Page Speed Insights to see if reduce server response time is in your report (screenshot) and use bytecheck.com to see your TTFB (time to first byte) – these are 2 solid indicators of server speed. You can fix these by either upgrading plans with your current host to include more server resources or migrate to someone like SiteGround who was rated the #1 host in multiple Facebook polls taken by the WP Hosting Facebook Group and is the only host listed on all 3 WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal hosting pages. I use their semi-dedicated GoGeek plan which has 4x more server resources than shared hosting and have a 200ms load time in Pingdom and .5s in GTmetrix.
This tutorial should speed up your website AND admin panel. It will also improve load times and grades in GTmetrix/Pingdom. My WordPress speed optimization guide has more tips with comments like “My page speed score on gtmetrix went from 69 to 93” – but this is a nice start.
Comment with any questions :)
1. Check Your Server Response Time
You can also check TTFB in the GTmetrix Timings tab…
PHP Version – PHP 7 makes your site faster and more secure, but only 15% of WordPress users are on PHP 7. Install the Display PHP Version plugin to see what version you’re running. If you’re using an outdated version, check whether your theme/plugins are compatible using the PHP Compatibility Checker plugin then upgrade to PHP 7 through your host. Some hosts don’t support PHP 7 (Godaddy still uses PHP 5.6) while SiteGround and most hosts use PHP 7.
Slow Server – What Should I Do?
I’m not going to tell you to upgrade plans or migrate hosts if you don’t need to. But I would definitely stay clear of hosts owned by EIG (Bluehost, HostGator, Site5, etc) since they’re known for acquiring companies and cutting costs by downgrading hardware and packing more people on the same server. Check this Facebook poll and if you are with a bad host, consider migrating to someone like SiteGround which is who I got my 200ms Pingdom load time and .5s in GTmetrix with on their GoGeek plan. The 4x server resources can make a hell of a difference since “number of servers” is one of the largest factors from the WordPress optimization guide.
2. Disable “Object Cache” In W3 Total Cache
If you’re using W3 Total Cache go to the General Settings and disable object cache. See my W3 Total Cache settings to make sure everything is configured properly since Cloudflare and MaxCDN may also be the culprit – plus most people don’t have the ‘performance tabs’ setup correctly. That tutorial has been used by over 100,000 people with like… a million comments.
3. Configure WP Disable
WP Disable lets you disable settings in WordPress that consume CPU and slow down your site. It also has options for heartbeat control (if you remember the actual heartbeat control plugin you can now delete it and just use this)… as well as a few other options that can speed up your admin panel/website. Go through the settings and simply select the ones you want…
Tips On Using WP Disable
- Disable EVERYTHING you don’t use
- Scheduling spam deletion is a good idea
- Emojis, Google Maps, and Gravatars take a long time to load
- Disable everything in the “tags” tab since they’re all unnecessary
- Pingbacks and trackbacks aren’t usually worth the extra resources
- Set post revisions to 3-5 so you have backups, but you don’t need hundreds
- Host your Google Analytics tracking code locally in the ride side of settings
Host Google Analytics Locally – on the right side of the WP Disable settings, enter your Google Analytics UA code. This should fix the “leverage browser caching” item for Google Analytics often seen in GTmetrix, Pingdom, and Page Speed Insights. Be sure to delete ALL other tracking codes and Google Analytics plugins, and make sure GA is still tracking user data.
4. Configure A Cache Plugin (WP Rocket)
Try using WP Rocket if you’re willing to drop $39 which was rated the #1 cache plugin in this Facebook poll and can speed up your website / dashboard even more than W3 Total Cache. I wrote a tutorial on how to configure WP Rocket and was able to get .4s load times in Pingdom compared to the .6s+ load times I got with W3 Total Cache and other cache plugins. It also has features W3 Total Cache doesn’t: lazyload, preload bot, database cleanup, and more. It’s solid and it’s also WAY easier to configure, is updated frequently, and doesn’t have bugs like W3TC.
5. Clean Your Database
This deletes your spam folder, trash folder, transients, and the potentially thousands of post revisions stored in your database. You don’t need these, so delete them and schedule a cleanup to run every week (or at least every month) which can be scheduled using one of these plugins.
If you’re using WP Rocket, you can do this in the database settings…
If you’re NOT using WP Rocket, use the WP-Optimize plugin…
6. Avoid High CPU Plugins
Thank you Ivica from the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group for making this list. The most common culprits are related post, statistic, sitemap, chat, calendar, page builders, and plugins that run ongoing scans/processes or show multiple times in your GTmetrix report.
- Broken link checker
- Constant Contact WordPress Widget
- Contact Form 7 (https://contactform7.com/loading-ja…)
- Digi Auto Links
- Disqus Comment System
- Divi builder
- NextGEN Gallery
- PHP Code for Posts
- Reveal IDs
- S2 member
- Simple Post Thumbnails
- Skype Status
- Visual Composer
- WordPress Facebook
- Yet Another Related Post Plugin
You can also use the GTmetrix waterfall tab to see slow plugins…
7. Disable Unused Plugin Settings
Go through each of your plugins and decide which settings you can turn off (this will lower CPU). For example, in Yoast under Settings > General > Features I disabled the following…
Disable plugin settings that:
- Provide statistics
- Run ongoing scans
- Send admin or email notifications
- Wordfence’s live traffic reports
- Broken Link Checker’s ongoing scans
- Yoast’s settings under Dashboard > Features
- Chat and calendar plugins that run constantly
- Statistical plugins that constantly collect data
- Related post and popular post plugins that store tons of data
8. Delete Unused Plugins/Themes
Unused themes store preconfigured settings in your WordPress database (similar to plugins). First go to your plugins menu and deactivate/delete ALL plugins you’re not currently using…
Now go to Appearance > Themes and delete all themes you’re not using…
9. Offload Resources To Cloudflare/MaxCDN
Cloudflare and MaxCDN host your website files on multiple data centers around the world so your content is delivered from the closest data center to your visitors. This offloads resources to their data centers (reducing bandwidth consumption on your own server) and should also significantly improve load times for people who (used to be) geographically far away from your 1 origin server. Using a CDN is also a recommendation in the WordPress optimization guide.
MaxCDN vs. Cloudflare – Cloudflare is free and has over 115 data centers. It helps with both speed/security but they don’t provide support for the free plan. MaxCDN is $90/year with my coupon (or do a free 30 day trial) and has 54 data centers. One of the most valuable things about MaxCDN is their support team who helped me configure everything… they improved my GTmetrix scores to a perfect 100% with .5s load times. I would try using both if you can.
Cloudflare helps offload bandwidth consumption…
So does MaxCDN…
Tutorials (These Integrate With Most Cache Plugins)
- How To Setup WP Rocket With Cloudflare + MaxCDN
- How To Setup WP Fastest Cache With Cloudflare + MaxCDN
- How To Setup W3 Total Cache With Cloudflare + MaxCDN
10. Exclude WP-Admin From Cloudflare Using Page Rules
Step 1: Disable Hotlink Protection – protects websites from pasting YOUR images on THEIR website when the image is still hosted by you, which means you are consuming bandwidth from their website. In Cloudflare’s settings go to scrape shield > enable hotlink protection.
Step 3: Set Page Rules For WP-Admin – Cloudflare says “we recommend that you create a Page Rule to exclude the admin section of your website from Cloudflare’s performance features. Features such as Rocket Loader and Auto Minification may inadvertently break backend functions in your admin section.” Here are the 2 rules to create for your admin panel:
Navigate to the page rules settings…
Create these 2 rules for your admin panel…
10. Use AWStats To Identify Source Of High CPU
AWStats helps you find:
- High bandwidth crawlers
- High bandwidth IP addresses
- High bandwidth download files
- High bandwidth files (eg. images)
- Total bandwidth usage (for monitoring)
Images usually consume lots of bandwidth…
Images can be optimized 3 ways using GTmetrix (see tutorial)…
But search engine crawlers/spiders usually consume the most. See next step…
11. Block Spammy Crawlers (And Limit The Good Ones)
In AWStats you might see bots + spiders consuming a lot of bandwidth. Obviously we don’t want to block Googlebot and other legitimate crawlers, but we do want to block spammy ones.
I recommend adding this file to your .htaccess which blocks tons of known spam bots including Ahrefs and other sites that crawl your site for statistical purposes but increase CPU.
Tweak the Wordfence “options” tab to limit bandwidth consumed by this plugin:
- Do not “enable live traffic view”
- Do not “enable automatic scheduled scans”
- Do not “enable email summary”
- Enable “use low resource scanning”
- Decrease “limit the number of issues sent in the scan results email” to 500
- Do not enable “updates needed (plugin, theme, or core)”
- Increase “update interval in seconds (2 is default)” to 10-15 seconds
- Decrease “how much memory should Wordfence request when scanning” to 100MB
- Enable “delete Wordfence tables and data on deactivation”
- View the Wordfence options page for more recommendations
Switch To SiteGround (#1 Host In Multiple Facebook Polls)
Hosting is the #1 speed factor…
My GTmetrix report…
#1 in last year’s poll too…
People who migrated…
Higher plans include more server resources (number of servers is the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide). You can see a full comparison chart of their StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek plan but GrowBig gives you about 2x server resources as StartUp, and GoGeek is semi-dedicated hosting which gives you even more server resources. GrowBig + GoGeek come with priority support and you can host unlimited sites. Cloud hosting is quite the price jump at $80/year but comes with 2CPU + 4GB RAM and is even faster than GoGeek.
You can see this on the features page…
Why I Like SiteGround
- They were #1 in 2017’s Facebook poll
- They were #1 in 2016’s Facebook poll
- They’re highly rated in thread after thread after thread
- Ivica runs the WordPress Speed Up Group and ranks them #1
- People who migrate usually see nice load time improvements
- Average load time is 1.3 but I have 200ms in Pingdom + .5s in GTmetrix
- Their speed technology uses SSDs, NGINX servers, HTTP/2, PHP7
- SG Optimizer keeps your site updated with the latest PHP version
- Their cloud hosting includes HHVM which is even faster than PHP7
- Choose from 5 data centers (select the one closest to your visitors)
- They’re the only hosted listed on all 3 WordPress, Joomla, Drupal pages
- Automatic daily backups
- Automatic WordPress updates
- Weekly security email notifications
- Their cPanel is easy to use (view demo)
- All plans come with a free Let’s Encrypt SSL
- They constantly release new security updates
- 1-Click Cloudflare activation makes it super easy
- I usually get 100% uptimes but 99.99% is guaranteed
- Support tickets are usually answered within 10 minutes
- SiteGround will migrate you for free (just fill out a ticket)
- SiteGround is NOT an EIG company (EIG has a horrible reputation)
- They are super helpful in Facebook Groups, WordCamps, community events
- Out of the 50 people I referred to SiteGround in July, not 1 person has cancelled
- Their semi-dedicated plan comes with 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting, 1-click WordPress staging, and PCI compliance if you run an eCommerce site
Did it work?
Let me know in the comments!