Speeding up your WordPress Dashboard


Recently, I’ve noticed when I’ve been administrating my blog, my WordPress dashboard has become awfully slow, and I mean slow. The loading of the dashboard was like dial up speeds and im on a 2 MB broadband connection (Soon to be 10 MB) so it was a joke really. So I went hunting for some tips on getting my WordPress Dashboard like the speed of light again. Not all of the tips I found helped my specific situation, but some might help you if your in a similar situation

Keep WordPress Updated!

A bit of a obvious one, but upgrading your WordPress installation when the developers of the team WP release a new version (Even if it’s a patch or bug fix release) you should always update, because they contain fixes on problems that have been discovered and you may not know it, but you might be experiencing one of the problems highlighted and fixed in a newer release. Another reason to always be up to date is because updates upgrade the WordPress database which essentially runs most of your WordPress website, which leads to the next tip.

Optimize your WordPress Database

Like I was beginning to suggest, your WordPress Database is pretty much the life blood of your WordPress website, most of the information that runs your WordPress website is stored in the database and therefore you need to take care of it. Some people will be done with it after they first installed WordPress, but you need to show it some love. Now I understand that not everyone knows what MySQL is or isn’t able to modify database tables, myself included, I know what MySQL is but I wouldn’t be able to just go and open phpMyAdmin and mess with my database tables and not break something. Luckily there a few WordPress plugins out there to help optimize your database, to make sure everything is running smoothly. Here’s a handful I’ve used and liked:

Plugin: WP-DBManager:

Is a brilliant plugin to manage your database, it offers all the goodies you need to help control your WordPress Database, like optimizing options, cleaning options, repair options and even backup options, which is must if you planning to mess around with your database, since my blog started getting a nice number of hits on a daily basis I made sure I had my WordPress database backed up daily and sent to my email inbox, so if anything went wrong my posts, comments and other information wasn’t lost. Though remember your WordPress theme isn’t in your database, that is within the wp-content/themes folder which is up to you if you keep a local copy. But DB Manager is a brilliant plugin to manage every aspect of your database.

Click to go to the WP-DBManager Plugin homepage

Plugin: WordPress Database Backup:

If your a bit overwelmed by all of these database options and simply want to make sure your database is backed up then you can use the WordPress Database Backup tool to do just that, you are able to pick which method of backup you like e.g. Download to Server, Computer or even get it sent to your email inbox. Personally I would recommend you choose email option, because if anything happens to your web space and you saved all your WordPress Database backups to your webspace, in simple words you are boned, so it’s best to keep backups off the server and store them locally. Whats good about this plugin is it will automatically backup your database and you can schedule when your database is backed up by selecting the time and how often you want it to be backed up. My preferences were a daily backup at 12:00 AM. So in the morning I had my WordPress database sitting in my inbox, and trust me it’s a good feeling I’ve certainly recovered my site more than once from my database backups!

Click to go to the WordPress Database Backup Plugin homepage

Plugin: Optimize DB:

Optimize DB is a plugin that does everything for you. All you need to do is click optimize now when you visit the admin interface, it will automatically clear redundant data that is on your tables without asking you what this table is and what that does. It simply gets on with the job. Which is good if you don’t have the time to spend hours and hours giving your database a sponge bath. The plugin is also safe to, it won’t remove any tables or anything it simply optimizes them. There is a difference between modify and optimize. So your safe.

Click to go to the Optimize DB Plugin homepage

Plugin: Clean Options:

Clean options is a bit more of an advanced user plugin, because this plugin will modify your WordPress database tables, but not without your input. What Clean Options does is scan your WordPress database wp_options tables and finds tables that are not referenced to be any plugin using the get_option or get_settings tables that Clean options finds, which are mostly likely oprhaned tables that have been left over from a plugin that you removed. This plugin is brilliant to remove these tables but you will need to be very careful and make sure that any tables you remove are 100% not being used by anything on your WordPress website, thats why it’s a bit more of an advanced user plugin. But none the less as long as you are careful you should be fine.

Click to go to the Clean Options Plugin homepage

After all of that talk about WordPress databases you can see why your database is the heart of your WordPress website and why it’s important!

Check your plugins

Plugins are a prime suspect for slow loading WordPress dashboards, specially older plugins that were not designed for newer versions of WordPress. For example, if you had WordPress 2.8 installed and had a plugin enabled that was compatible up to WordPress 2.5 then chances are this plugin isn’t going to function correctly and will cause you problems. There’s not alot you can do if this is the case, other than disable all your plugins and re-enable them one by one to see if you can find a specific plugin thats causing slow loading of your WordPress Dashboard. If you find a older plugin thats compatibility is not set to your WordPress version, then you can check to see if there’s a update for it, if not then you can message the plugin developer to see if a new version is in the pipeline. Thats probably the one bad point about plugins, it’s up to the developer to update it as WordPress developers roll out new versions, but most plugin developers are very good and are working in harmony to constantly update there plugins to work with the ever growing releases of WordPress.

Have you checked your Internet Connection?

Probably one of the first things you should check, but many people will simply think, WordPress = Slow, it must be a problem with WordPress. Not always the case. If your internet connection is having problems then no wonder WordPress is slow. For people on Wireless connections, you might want to check if there are problems with packets of information being sent and see if there is any loss of information, or if your close enough to your router to be able to get a good signal. A common problem with routers is the channel that the connection is set on can often be used by about five other routers in your area. This was the case with my dads internet connection, I would often find that I would lose connection frequently when I was like 10 Ft away from the router, I simply switched channel the router was on from 11 to 1, there are programs that can tell you which channels are busy or traffic free. Software like this can identifiy active wireless connections in your area and determine what channel the wireless router is on which then you can use the information to select a channel which is free, or has minimal traffic. You can change the channel that your wireless router is set to by accessing your routers admin interface, if you don’t know how to access it then you can probably just google “(Router make here) Admin Interface IP”

Here’s a couple of programs that I was describing above:

NetStumber (For Windows XP and Below)

VistaStumbler (For Windows Vista Users)

Im sure there are many more if you google around, I know for a fact there are some for Mac users. But im not rich enough to own one, so i wouldn’t know the names of them.

Fresh copies of your wp-admin and wp-includes folders

Some slowness problems can be fixed with grabbing a fresh copy of the wp-admin and wp-includes folders and placing them into your WordPress directory again. Rather than overwriting them, you will need to remove the wp-admin and wp-includes folders that are currently in your WordPress installation and then re-add them again with fresh copies. You can simply download the version of WordPress you are currently running and grab the fresh copies from there. You will need to set yourself aside about half an hours worth of time because the transfer of the fresh folders (And Deletion of the older folders) will take a while over FTP, so you might want to grab a coffee, read a book, do a dance, whatever. If you decide to do this you will need to bare in mind that your WordPress website will temporarly not function because files will be missing, so I’d recommend performing this action at a dead zone time (When you site receives minimal traffic)

Note: Make sure you replace your wp-admin and wp-includes folders with the correct version of WordPress that you are currently running and this tip is for people that run WordPress off there own server or webspace, if you have a blog with WordPress.com then your not going to be able to do this.

Turbo Boost WordPress

Since WordPress 2.7 a feature known as Go Turbo has appeared within the tools panel on your WordPress dashboard. Wondering what this is? Basically Go Turbo is Google Gears which is a special feature designed into WordPress which helps your dashboard loading times by storing alot of the content such as CSS, scripts etc locally on your computer so when WordPress comes to access it, the files will already be there which speeds up the loading process. Once Gears is enabled it will automatically cache your files and store them, you will not need to do anything. Though I would like to add that Gears, really didn’t do much for me, but everyones WordPress installation is different in the slightest way, so it might benefit you while it may not benefit others. Good Luck

Consult your webhost

If all of a sudden your WordPress dashboard is at a crawl speed it might be an idea to check with your website host provider to see if they’ve made any uniqye changes to the server you are located on, specifically with the MySQL and PHP services. It sounds quite a stretch to conclude your web host as the problem, but it could happen. So just send a support ticket to your host, or send a quick email to enquire about any recent changes to the system.

You have to admit troubleshooting is quite fun, you never know whats going to happen, one day you could be doing a simple check and two hours late find yourself fixing and optimizing this and that. I hope you found these tips helpful and useful!

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