Guidance on How to Reduce WordPress CPU Usage

how to reduce wordpress cpu usage

WordPress is considered the best and most widely used blogging platform in the blogosphere.  Aside from being free, it is user-friendly and supported by thousands of free themes and plugins that can be easily installed.  However, WordPress is notorious for high CPU usage in shared hosting environments.

Competition in the web hosting industry has become heated in the past few years because of the number of players.  As such, majority of web hosts now offer very low monthly rates that even allow unlimited domains.  But if you’re paying a monthly fee of only $4 to host your domains, there’s no such thing as unlimited.  At this price, you’re probably sharing a server with a multitude of domains and don’t have much room to breathe.  And if you have one or more WordPress blogs, it’s likely you’ve been flagged by the web host for using too much resource from their CPU. Then again, you probably don’t have enough traffic to justify an expensive upgrade to a dedicated server.  Here are some quick tips to optimize your WordPress blog without the need to tweak any complicated codes in your theme.

1.  Install WP-SuperCache or W3 Total Cache.  Since WordPress is database-intensive, it renders a page dynamically for each view.  These plugins perform caching that renders viewed pages into static content and significantly reduces calls to the database.

2.  Remove unnecessary plugins.  Nothing can be more tempting than installing numerous plugins that offer various functions to your WordPress blog.  However, most plugins consume a lot of resources, which can slow down site loading and get you flagged by the web host.  Such plugins include Related Post and any plugin that check stats regularly.  If you need to check stats, use Google Analytics instead. 

3.  Avoid Tweets in your blog.  Plugins that update tweets on your blog increase database entries. It’s unlikely your readers will be interested to know where you had dinner or what you gave your boyfriend on his birthday.

4.  Always upgrade WordPress and active plugins.  Upgrades translate to removal of bugs and improvements on the software.  Keeping them updated means your blog is optimized.

5.  Repair and optimize your database.  This can only be done through your cpanel.  To ensure you do it properly, contact your web host’s support representative and request for detailed instructions on how to repair your database.

6.  Reduce the number of widgets.  Widgets can hog resources, especially those that generate images or thumbnails.  Better to remove those that are merely for aesthetics and keep those that are simple and provide more value to your blog.

7.  Choose a simpler theme.  If all else fails, the best option is to simplify your theme.  A WordPress theme that is clean with minimal graphics generates a lighter load from your web host server.

More often than not, bloggers get carried away in designing and setting up their WordPress blog because of the multitude of options available.  We only realize the impact when we get flagged by our host, or worse, get suspended.  Remember that in a shared hosting environment, it is our responsibility to ensure our domain consumes equal resources among 200+ other sites. At home, bloggers can easily connect equipment to their computers using handy Computer Cables in order to maximize potential. No auxiliary equipment or computer cables can be used by the host that would improve the sharing environment for bloggers instantly.  It’s all about storage and memory of the server.  If you already have a significant amount of traffic or you insist on keeping your WordPress blog flashy and flamboyant, then it may be time to move on to a dedicated server or at least a virtual private server (VPS).

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