13 Quick Ways to Fix Slow WordPress Admin (Permanently)
Do you want to fix slow WordPress admin permanently? Then read on.
The word I just mentioned “permanently” means your WordPress admin area or dashboard will never be slow again after utilizing the tips and tricks that I will share.
Frankly, I had the same issue with my WordPress site years before. My WordPress backend was very slow, and I hardly could make any changes to my website, not even update my posts.
Sometimes my WordPress admin stopped responding completely or gave a request timed out error.
It was pretty frustrating to me.
Then, however, I researched a lot and tried different methods, and finally, I was able to speed up WordPress dashboard and figure out the causes.
Since then, my WordPress website has been running smoothly like never before and has never faced any issues till now.
Enough talking! Now, let’s help you to speed up your WordPress dashboard.
What Causes Slow WordPress Admin?
When you first installed WordPress, it used to load fast, but now, it loads extremely slow.
It’s a common issue that many WordPress site owners face. And, several reasons can cause a slow WordPress dashboard.
Here are the common reasons below that mostly cause a slow WordPress backend.
- Resource-heavy plugins
- Older PHP version
- Low WordPress memory limit
- Not using a cache plugin and CDN
- Outdated version of WordPress
- Cluttered database
- Unnecessary WordPress widgets
- Poor quality web hosting
Now let’s speed up your WordPress admin.
How to Fix Slow WordPress Admin Panel
Here are the steps you need to follow to speed up your WordPress dashboard.
1. Identify and Remove High CPU Usage Plugins
If your WordPress dashboard is loading slow, chances are you have one or more high CPU usage plugins installed on your site.
These types of plugins usually eat lots of resources to run efficiently. As a result, your WordPress site takes more time to respond.
The most common high CPU plugins are maps, statistics, related posts, broken link checkers, image sliders, page builders, or any plugin that frequently runs scans or processes in your site.
So eliminating the slower plugins could be a solution to speed up your WordPress dashboard.
But, how can you find resource-heavy plugins?
There are two ways you can find resource-heavy plugins.
Method 1, Using Query Monitor Plugin
Using the Query Monitor plugin, you can find plugins that are slowing down your WordPress site.
The plugin allows you to debug database queries, PHP errors, HTTP API calls, and on top of that, shows which plugins take a longer time to load.
So, install and activate the query monitor plugin. Once activated, go to your WordPress dashboard.
At the top of the page, you can see the plugin’s stats. Click on the “L Queries by Component” option to see the slowest loading plugins.
If you find a slow plugin, consider removing it from your WordPress site and find a better lightweight plugin.
Method 2, Using WP Hive Chrome Extension
Another way to find slow plugins is using WP Hive Chrome Extension. It shows if a plugin impacts your website’s page speed, server’s memory usage, latest PHP compatibility, regular updates, etc.
Install the Chrome Extension and open a plugin’s page from the WordPress.org website.
On the right side of the page, you can see all the insights. Here’s how it looks.
If you find a plugin has a high impact on the server’s memory usage or the website’s page speed, consider finding an alternative.
2. Update Your PHP Version
WordPress is built with PHP, and its version is set by your hosting company.
Like updating your WordPress software, plugins, theme, it’s also essential to update your PHP version. Newer PHP versions are more secure, have fewer bugs, and can run your scripts more smoothly.
According to Cloudways, the newer PHP 8.0 is 2.6% faster than, the older 7.4.
From the graph, you can see that,
- The average response rate of the latest (8.0) PHP version is 164 ms.
- And for the PHP 7.4 version, it’s 264 ms.
But, how do you check your site’s current PHP version?
If you are using the WordPress 5.0 or above version, you can check your PHP version by going to Tools > Site Health> Info > Server.
If it’s 7.0 or lower, consider upgrading it to the newer 8.0 version.
But before you start updating your PHP version, we highly recommend you take a backup of your site as well as the database. In case something goes wrong, you can restore your site from the backup.
Here are the steps to follow:
Method 1, Update PHP Version through cPanel
If your hosting provider offers a cPanel, you can upgrade your PHP version very quickly.
First, log in to your hosting’s cPanel account. Under the Software section, you can see an option like “Select Version Manager” or "PHP Manager".
Click on that and select the desired PHP version from the list and click on Save.
Method 2, Update PHP Version on Cloudways Hosting
Currently, I am using Cloudways hosting, which is one of the fastest cloud hosting providers. It also offers the latest PHP version that you can upgrade anytime with just a few clicks.
To update the PHP version on Cloudways, log in to your hosting account.
Select your server and go to Settings & Packages > Packages, and select the latest PHP version.
Once done, hit the save button.
3. Increase WordPress Memory Limit
By default, many hosting companies limit the WordPress memory to 32MB, which is not enough sometimes, especially if you run a WooCommerce store or resource-heavy plugins.
You may notice when you process anything on your site, your WordPress admin responds so slow or even shows WordPress memory exhausted errors.
This is because your site requires more memory to run different tasks efficiently.
By increasing the WordPress memory limit may speed up your WordPress dashboard.
But first, check what the current memory limit set by your hosting provider is.
If you are using WordPress version 5.0 or above, go to Tools > Site Health > Info and scroll down to the Server section.
If it’s 64MB or lower, consider increasing it to 128MB or more.
To increase PHP memory limit, log in to your hosting cPanel and then File Manager. There go to the root directory of your WordPress site.
Find the “wp-config.php” file and add the following code before the line:
“/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */”.
define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M' );
Don’t forget to save the file.
However, on Cloudways, increasing the memory limit is a straightforward process.
All you have to do is go Settings & Packages > Basic and enter your memory limit to something like 300 or 400.
Once done, click on Save Changes.
4. Switch to a Better Web Host
If the above methods didn’t solve the slow WordPress backend issue, it’s probably due to poor quality hosting, such as shared hosting.
Shared hosting is an excellent option at the beginning, I mean when you are building your website. It is beginner-friendly, offers impressive features, and cheaper too.
But, as your site grows, your website needs more server power to run, which shared hosting can’t deliver. As a result, your WordPress site loads so slow.
The solution could be upgrading or switching to a better web host.
I am currently using Cloudways, and it’s far better than my previous hosts - SiteGround, and others, especially for performance.
After switching to Cloudways, I immediately noticed a huge difference in my website’s loading speed.
You can see the result.
Cloudways is one of the best cloud hosting providers that lets you choose high-performing servers from Google, Amazon, Vultr, Linode, and Digital Ocean.
There are several reasons why I recommend Cloudways,
More than that, Cloudways is a top-rated host out there. Here you can see the ratings.
#1. On Facebook - Cloudways rating 4.5/ 5
#2. On G2 - Cloudways rating - 4.8/ 5
#3. On Trustpilot - Cloudways rating - 4.7/ 5
#4. On Capterra - Cloudways rating - 4.7/ 5
Cloudways is number #1 voted hosting in every Facebook groups.
Many people also shared their results on Twitter. Here is a couple of them.
Cloudways is affordable too. Their entry-level plan starts at just $10 per month, allowing you to host unlimited websites.
They offer a free website migration. So you can quickly move your website from other hosts without any downtime.
Steps to Move Your Website to Cloudways
5. Start Using a Cache Plugin
A cache plugin automatically creates a static file of your website’s content on your server. The cache plugin serves the static file when a visitor visits your website instead of loading the heavier PHP scripts.
Static pages generally load quickly in browsers and boost your site’s performance overall.
Some of the WordPress cache plugins I recommend:
- WP Rocket
6. Optimize the WordPress Database
Whenever you make any changes to your site, for example, installing a plugin, editing a page or post, when a user leaves a comment, etc., your WordPress database stores everything.
However, the WordPress database also stores unnecessary things such as page/post revisions, uninstalled plugins’ tables, unapproved/ spam comments, etc.
By the time your WordPress database cloaked up with this unnecessary data, and as a result, your WordPress site takes more time to respond.
This can be fixed by clearing your WordPress database.
Before you start, I recommend you take a backup of your database.
If you use WP Rocket, you can easily optimize your WordPress database.
From the WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > WP Rocket and click on the Database tab.
I recommend you check all the options and run the Optimize process.
There is also an option for scheduling database cleanup; however, I don’t recommend you enable this option as it may break your site. The manual database cleanup process is better, which you can run once a month.
If you are not using the WP Rocket plugin, you can also clean up your WordPress database by using the WP-Optimize plugin.
Install the plugin and go to your WordPress dashboard. From there, click on the WP-Optimize option and clean up your WordPress database.
7. Disable or Limit WordPress Heartbeat
WordPress Heartbeat API is a feature that allows your browser to communicate with your server and provide real-time information on the WordPress dashboard.
Basically, WordPress Heartbeat API:
- autosaves the progress that you made in the page/post editor
- provides real-time data on the dashboard by plugins
While this feature helps in many ways, it can also slow down your site drastically.
Heartbeat API sends AJAX requests to the server every 15 seconds using “/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php. “ This can generate high CPU usage on your server.
Now, if you are on a shared hosting server and causing high CPU usage, your hosting company most probably will terminate your account.
How to Check Heartbeat API?
Scan your site on GTmetrix. After the scan is complete, go to the Waterfall tab and check the chart for any “POST admin-ajax.php” request.
From the “POST admin-ajax.php” option, check the Response tab to find the culprit plugin.
Here, I found that a social sharing plugin caused the API calls, and it delayed my site for 2.3 seconds.
How to Disable or Limit WordPress Heartbeat?
If you are using the WP Rocket cache plugin, you can easily disable or limit WordPress Heartbeat.
We recommend you disable it everywhere.
8. Delete Unused Plugins and Themes
Having unused plugins and themes can make your site vulnerable and make your site slow.
Those unused themes and plugins require more space on your server, and most of all, your dashboard looks messy. WordPress also recommends deleting unused or old plugins to run your WordPress site smoothly.
By deleting unused plugins and themes, you can improve your site’s performance.
To delete a plugin, go to Plugins > Installed plugins > and deactivate the plugins you don’t need anymore. Then delete them.
Similarly, to delete unused themes, go to Appearance > Themes.
Then click on any inactive theme. You can see a Delete option at the bottom of the right side. Click on the Delete button to delete the theme.
9. Disable Object and Database Cache in W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is a great plugin to speed up your WordPress site.
However, it can slow down your website if not set up correctly.
If you are using the W3 total cache plugin, we recommend Disable Object and Database Caching.
Go to “Performance > General Settings” and disable Database Cache and Object Cache.
10. Add Your Site to Cloudflare CDN
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a system that caches your website content and delivers it to the viewers from their nearest geographical location. A CDN also speeds up your WordPress admin area, protects your site from DDoS attacks, saves your hosting’s resources, and most importantly, improves user experience.
11. Update your WordPress, plugins, and theme
It’s highly recommended that you update your WordPress, plugins, and theme. With the latest update, WordPress developers include new features, fix security issues, bug fixes, and most importantly, performance improvements that make your WordPress site run faster.
To update WordPress, go to Dashboard > Updates.
There you can see if there are any updates available.
Slow WordPress backend is a common problem that most WordPress site owners face. A slow website can hurt your SEO, reduce conversion rates, and create a bad user experience.
But, don’t worry. You can speed up your WordPress site and the dashboard (very quickly).
In this tutorial, I have shared the 13 best tips that will help you to fix a slow WordPress admin panel. It’s straightforward to utilize. All you need is to read these steps thoroughly and implement them on your WordPress site.
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