It’s been a frustrating week and decision time. I’ve tackled every problem along the way to get WordPress working the way I want it. But the one thing that kiboshes it all has happened. WordPress is too slow.
I didn’t expect this. As I developed it on my home computer, I was consistently getting 0.5 second response times. I had thought that the response time on the website was okay when I put version 2.3 up. But last week after I upgraded to 2.5, as I noted in this blog, I encountered intolerable response times. I’m talking about 5 seconds or more for a page to refresh.
I spent most of the week researching why. It is not the database accesses. Those are fast. Somehow, it appears to be slowed down by “include” and “include_once” statements in PHP. Every time a file is loaded, it takes about 0.1 seconds. Every page loads about a dozen files plus another 10 plugins for every call, whether the plugin is used or not. Even if I deactivate all my plugins, I cannot get response time less than 1.5 seconds. Already that minimum is only at the “bearable” level and there is no room for adding much of anything. Some plugins (especially my favorite Weather Icon) add up to 2 seconds of overhead.
Apparently this is an inherent problem with the way WordPress was developed and may never be solved. I’ve experimented with various sorts of Wordpress caches to speed things up. But these only work once a page has already been loaded. It’s almost worse to get some pages responding fast and others slow than to have them all slow.
This is all a factor of where the website is. I thought IXWebhosting’s shared Windows plans would give decent response. But it is 10 times slower than exactly the same Wordpress configuration on my own computer. I believe the only solution will ultimately to get a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or even a Dedicated Host to get better response. However, I’m not ready for that yet. When the traffic on my site starts to demands it, I’ll make that move.
So where do I go from here? I spent 5 months working to set all this up. It’s not all lost, as I learned a lot that is valuable to me. But I have not worked at all on Behold over that period. It’s time to change that. I’m going back to my old blog, my old forum, and I’ll just convert it over to my new site design. Then I can concentrate on Behold again which is what I should be doing.
Thanks everyone for your patience. I’m coming back on track.