Speed Up WordPress – Caching and Database Optimization

Almost every WordPress user searches at least once in his/her blogging career about the techniques to speed up WordPress. As a newbie blogger, it is not a surprising matter to ignore the importance of caching and database optimization. But as soon as the pages become heavy and the loading speed of the site decreases, then the headache starts. Static HTML websites store their data inside the pages, but the Content Management Systems like WordPress uses databases to store data. WordPress uses MySQL to store the static and dynamic content along with your website information, WordPress settings etc. Databases are just like the spinal cord of the website. If you forget to maintain them, they may become heavy and over-sized. WordPress doesn’t build up too much bloat in the database, but that doesn’t mean it won’t slow down your website. Especially when you are using a shared hosting.

Speed Up WordPress by Caching Techniques:

Caching is the most useful technique to reduce database load and speeding up WordPress websites. It is too important for a site having a higher volume of traffic. Caching methods help to create .html files for each post and page and serve these HTML files instead of making the database queries every time. There are four types of major caching protocols used under WordPress. These are as follows,

  • Page Caching – Page caching is the process of saving the dynamically generated HTML files in the server’s cache and serving them from the cache whenever a request is made. This reduces the load of executing PHP code and MySQL database queries.
  • Database Caching – WordPress uses MySQL databases to store and serve website data. It is not a good idea to allow WordPress to make the same non-altering query over and over again on each page and for each visitor. Database caching saves the database queries results in the local storage and serve them whenever the same queries are made.
  • Object Caching – Object Caching is the most advanced caching method. WordPress has an internal caching system which includes several subsystems like the Caching API, Object Cache, and Transient API etc. The WordPress core allows plugins to control this caching system to reduce the number of database calls.
  • Opcode Caching – PHP is an object oriented programming language. For a PHP code to execute, the PHP compiler must compile the code first and generate the executable code for the web server to execute. Opcode caching is nothing but caching the output of the PHP compiler to for multiple executions and serve it wherever necessary.

Among the four listed server side caching techniques, we have to perform some exercises to enable Page, Database, and Object caching and leave the opcode caching to be done by WordPress core itself. Along with server side caching we have to pay attention to the client side caching, i.e. Browser Caching too.

  • Browser Caching: Browser caching allows internet users to speed up the loading time by storing a cached copy of your website locally. Some of the largest files on your website rarely change. This includes CSS files, JavaScript files, your website logo etc. One way to take advantage of this is to enable browser caching. This reduces calls to your server and saves the user from downloading the same files again.

How to implement Caching Techniques to Speed up WordPress

Fortunately, you need not have to implement these caching techniques manually. There are two mighty plugins to do it for you. Those are,

W3 Total Cache

WP Super Cache

Database Optimization Techniques to Speed up WordPress

MySQL databases don’t clean themselves. Optimizing your database will help to free up disk space and keep your database running smoothly. You can optimize database tables manually using phpMyAdmin or by using a plugin.

Optimization using phpMyAdmin – If you are technically sound and want to explore what is going on with your database tables, login to phpMyAdmin. Expand the database tab and check tables having overhead. Once they are checked, select “optimize table” from the drop down menu.

If you are using Akismet plugin to get rid of spammers, you may notice that your database size is growing unnaturally. If it is happening to your website, you must clean up wp_commentmeta. You may read further about this HERE.

Optimization using a Plugin – If you are not familiar with phpMyAdmin, using a Plugin is a safer option for you. WP-Optimize is the best plugin available for this purpose. It allows you to remove post revisions, auto-drafts, comments in the spam queue, un-approved comments with a single click. It has some advanced options like deleting transient options in your database. You may use Transient Cleaner plugin for cleaning transient options

Bottom Line

WordPress database stores all of your website content. This includes website settings, theme settings, and plugin settings, blog posts, pages, comments, and custom post types such as links, form entries, and portfolio items. A bloating database can affect the overall performance of your website. Ranking depends on the loading speed of your website. That is why caching and database optimization techniques are so important for your website’s future. Hope the above tips to speed up WordPress will help you in this regards.

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