People often come to us asking how to make their hosting better or faster. Quite honestly, there’s not a whole lot that goes into the basics of hosting. We start off with high quality hardware. That helps, but most of it comes down to properly handling requests and ensuring that pages get cached efficiently. In order to get the most out of your hosting solution, it’s important to understand where your bottlenecks are. For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on WordPress, because that’s what most of our customer base is using. We won’t get into the specific configuration file values or anything like that in this document. That talk will come in a more focused discussion. If you’d like us to cover any other CMS, please leave us a note and we will work something up for you.

WordPress Basics:

With WordPress sites, much of the delay is in waiting for PHP to process a page request and return a page. Some providers focus on speeding up PHP so that customers with dynamic content have low page generation times. Others focus on caching, where a snapshot of your static content is kept ready for a customer to use. The importance of these methods depends on how much of your content changes on a regular basis. If you had your site professionally made, you may have what is referred to as Edge Side Includes (ESI) defined. ESI helps to bridge the gap between your static and dynamic content. Even on pages that change regularly, there are elements of those pages that are the same. Your menu, for example, probably doesn’t change (much). ESI helps reduce server load by caching the elements that can be cached, reducing the overall load time for the page.

General Tips:

  1. Configure ESI
  2. Optimize your config files
    • php.ini
    • my.cnf
    • .htaccess
  3. Add or configure caching
    • PHP- APCu cache
    • Memcached
    • NGINX

It’s worth noting here that most Managed WordPress providers do not allow access to anything except your web files. This means you don’t get to play with my.cnf or anything from #3 on the list. These types of service providers are honestly great for when you are just getting fired up. On the down-side, they lack the ability to tweak your hosting for your specific site. That is one reason that we love having cPanel VPS hosting. The amount of control you’ve got over the back end allows you to do much more with the same hardware, when configured properly. With cPanel, all that power comes in a (relatively) very easy-to-use package that has all the power you’ll need as your business grows.

Remember that WordPress powers some of the world’s fortune 500 companies. Just because you are small now doesn’t mean you’ll have to change your entire infrastructure and learn a new system when you reach a certain level of success. It is a very powerful system that has the capability to grow with your company and scale out to multiple servers with load balancing. If you ever need it set up for you, we can do that too!

We hope this was helpful to you. As always, please leave comments below or give us a shout if there’s anything in here you’d like to know more about or if there are any corrections we need to make.

Happy Dance