Want to speed up WordPress backend for a smoother experience? Looking to revitalize your frustratingly slow WordPress admin panel? A fast and efficient WordPress backend is just as critical as a visually appealing frontend. Think of it as tuning up a sports car engine.
Sure, the sleek exterior might turn heads, but it’s the powerful engine that really makes it roar. And in case you’re wondering, the answer is no – you won’t be using any technical skills to optimize your WordPress dashboard. A couple of basic tweaks is possibly all you might need.
Now, that’s exactly what we’ll be explaining over the next couple of minutes. So, pull up a seat and pay close attention as we reveal how you can speed up WordPress backend to keep your website firing 🔥 on all cylinders.
Why is my WordPress admin slow?
Since you won’t find a one-size-fits-all solution to slow WordPress backends, identifying the most common issues would be a good starting point.
👉 Here are some of the problems that might be affecting and slowing down your WordPress admin panel:
- Slow WordPress hosting: Your WordPress backend may suffer if your hosting server is underpowered, outdated, or located in the wrong place. Cheap web hosts are particularly guilty of limiting the amount of CPU and RAM available to your WordPress site.
- PHP errors: Outdated plugins or old code in your functions.php file can lead to PHP errors that take time to process. A single bad error can add one to two seconds to the load time of each WordPress backend page.
- No page caching in place: Without page caching, each user session demands a lot of resources from the hosting server. WordPress needs page caching to run fast and smoothly.
- Over-optimization: Randomly implementing WordPress optimizations without troubleshooting and diagnosing issues can result in duplicate or excessive optimizations that slow down your WordPress backend.
- No object caching in place: Object caching is a server-side caching technique that duplicates database query results to accelerate data delivery. This improves WordPress performance, reduces server workload, and enhances page loading times.
Now that we’ve identified the most common issues, let’s explore the solutions that could help speed up WordPress backend. 📈
How to speed up WordPress backend
Use our tips below to get your site up to speed in no time! ⏱
1. Upgrade PHP version ⚙️
WordPress websites are built with PHP, and the variant that your site rides on corresponds to the PHP version installed on your server.
Newer versions are known to offer better performance and security. As such, the WordPress core team itself insists that you should always use the most recent PHP versions.
It’s worth noting, however, that most hosting companies don’t automatically upgrade their PHP versions to avoid incompatibility issues with themes and plugins. That means you’ll be managing the entire process by yourself.
You can start by confirming your current PHP version. Just navigate to Tools → Site Health in your WordPress dashboard and then click on Info → Server.
⚠️ Note: WordPress 5.4 is required to see the Site Health tool.
If you see that your PHP version is outdated, you should update it to the latest one to speed up the WordPress backend.
But, before changing the PHP, we’d recommend updating your plugins and themes to avoid incompatibility issues. You can check their status from your WordPress admin panel by clicking on Dashboard → Updates.
With that done, you can upgrade the PHP version using your server’s cPanel. Just log in to the cPanel admin panel, go to Software → Select PHP Version, and then choose to update your server to the latest PHP version.
If your WordPress hosting provider doesn’t use the cPanel, the update process might be a little different. In that case, contact your host’s support team for technical guidance.
2. Increase WordPress memory limit 💾
Memory limit in WordPress refers to the maximum amount of memory that PHP scripts can use. A low memory limit could cause system crashes, script loading errors, a “white screen of death,” and a slow WordPress backend.
By default, the PHP memory limit in WordPress is set to 32 MB. But, it may not be enough for large websites and eCommerce stores.
You can, however, raise your PHP memory limit by adding a line of code to your wp-config.php file. The file itself can be accessed via FTP. You should then open it in a word processing program and add the following line of code:
Replace the “X” here with your desired memory limit – such as “256 MB.” And when you’re done, just save the changes and then upload the modified wp-config.php file through FTP.
3. Minimize WordPress plugins 🔌
While plugins can be beneficial, certain poorly developed or resource-intensive ones could significantly slow down your WordPress dashboard. Furthermore, when you have numerous plugins, they may also conflict with one another or overwhelm your server’s resources.
You can clamp down on these problematic WordPress plugins using two methods – manual and automatic.
To manually identify them, you would need to disable all the plugins, check the impact on your dashboard, and then reactivate them one by one until you identify the one(s) causing issues. However, this method can be unreliable and overwhelming as different plugins may clash with each other.
The automatic option, on the other hand, is powered by a test plugin called Query Monitor. It can locate bad plugins, themes, and functions, as well as identify and debug issues like slow database queries, PHP errors, slow HTTP API calls, and blocked performance.
On installing and activating the Query Monitor plugin, navigate to the Queries by Component section to view a list of plugins that are slowing down your WordPress frontend and backend. You can then decide whether to remove them or find alternative solutions that’ll speed up WordPress backend.
4. Limit WordPress Heartbeat API 🖤
The WordPress Heartbeat API is a service that facilitates real-time communication between your server and the client. While this allows you to autosave posts and revisions, the Heartbeat service may consume the limited CPU resources allocated by your web hosting solution, which would reduce performance in your WordPress backend.
To address the problem, you should consider limiting the Heartbeat API frequency instead of permanently disabling it. At least that will speed up WordPress backend without taking away your content autosaving privileges.
You can start by installing and activating the Heartbeat Control plugin developed by WP Rocket. Then, when it’s up and running, navigate to Settings → Heartbeat Control and click on Modify Heartbeat. A sliding panel labeled “Override Heartbeat frequency” will appear.
Try sliding the bar to your desired frequency. If, for instance, you intend to run a single API request per minute, you should place it on “60.” The next step is to save the changes before refreshing your WordPress admin panel.
5. Optimize your WordPress database 🗄
Unnecessary data such as post revisions, deleted comments, old plugin settings, and unused tags may pile up over time within your WordPress database. If left unattended, such a bloated database will increase your server response times, thereby slowing down the WordPress admin dashboard.
Thankfully, optimizing your WordPress database is relatively easy. Instead of manually searching through files with phpMyAdmin, you can bring in a WordPress database optimization plugin to do the job for you. This approach is especially useful for beginners or busy website owners.
One recommended plugin is WP-Optimize, an all-in-one tool for caching, compressing images, and optimizing your database. It can delete spam comments and transient options, compact and defragment your database tables, clean your database on a schedule, and create pre-optimization backups. What’s more, the plugin offers statistics about your WordPress database cleanups.
So, to speed up WordPress backend, start by installing and activating the WP-Optimize plugin. You should then proceed to WP-Optimize → Database. From there, you can go ahead and specify the database items you’d want to optimize.
6. Remove the WordPress admin toolbar 🛑
The WordPress toolbar at the top of your site provides several admin connections and allows you to switch between the backend and your live site. However, it may increase the core memory usage and slow down your WordPress admin backend.
👉 You could remove it by following these simple steps:
- Go to your site’s backend.
- Click on your username positioned in the top right corner.
- Proceed to “Edit My Profile“.
- Scroll down to the “Toolbar” option.
- Uncheck “Show Toolbar when viewing site“.
When you’re done, you should see a noticeable improvement in your WordPress backend speed and performance.
7. Disable dashboard screen elements 📴
The WordPress dashboard comes with many useful screen elements that can save time and boost performance. However, as you add more elements, they could eventually slow down your WordPress admin panel.
Removing unnecessary screen elements will declutter your dashboard, reduce loading time, and ultimately speed up WordPress backend.
To do this, go to your WordPress dashboard and hit the “Screen Options” tab positioned in the top right corner. You’ll then be able to uncheck the boxes of all the screen elements you’d like to disable.
Conclusion on how to speed up WordPress backend 🧐
By following the tips outlined in this article – such as upgrading your PHP version, increasing your WordPress memory limit, minimizing your plugins, and limiting the Heartbeat API – you should be able to speed up WordPress backend and keep your website running smoothly.
Just remember to troubleshoot and diagnose any issues before implementing the fixes. Otherwise, over-optimizing the site could further sabotage your WordPress admin performance.
Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. Learn more below: