Performance and Speed Optimizations of WordPress-Based Web Applications and its Underlying Server Stack

Welcome to my bachelor’s thesis description website. I’ll be dealing with optimizing WordPress-based web application and the underlying server on which the app is running. You can find links to various resources I’ll be using during my research and  my contact information (feel free to contact me, btw).

Goal of our Work

In our work, we will be dealing with the performance and speed optimizations of an underlying server and a WordPress-based web application running on it. After a thoughtful study of our work, an ordinary web programmer or administrator will be able to install and configure his web server and refactor the source code of his PHP (WordPress) web application, without having to research what to modify or avoid from other sources, thus saving his time and resources. Product of our work will be a highly optimized server with proper caching and a WordPress application developed to be as efficient as possible.

Background Story

Nowadays, about 82% of web pages and applications are based on the scripting language PHP. 25% of these are powered by WordPress content management system (CMS). WordPress CMS is troubled with performance and speed issues in normal conditions, which is reflected in the number of site visitors. According to various studies, the ideal time to load a web page ranges from 0.1 to 0.5 seconds, similar to the page turning speed of a book. The more the loading of a web page takes, the greater the percentage of its visitors leaving and closing it before seeing the page fully rendered, resulting in the loss of clients and their trust.

As I’m a life-long web developer and web enthusiast, I decided to tackle this issue, thus enabling web programmers to concentrate on stuff they like doing (designing and developing the sites) while having better than average loading speed of their web apps. I’ve chosen to use WordPress as the testing application because it’s so widely used, everyone can see and compare the results easily.

Draft of the Work’s Structure

We start our work with arguments why it is crucial to have highly optimised and configured web server and WordPress CMS and outline good and bad examples of websites.

The ‘Performance and Speed optimizations of WordPress-Based Web Applications and its Underlying Server Stack’ will be divided into two main parts:

In the first part, we’ll be discussing, researching and comparing different web server applications for serving static and dynamic content (such as nginx, apache2). We will outline their similarities and differences and show multiple configurations with proper explanations. After that, we’ll be doing comparisons between various PHP versions and configurations and also include HHVM (Hip Hop Virtual Machine). On top of that, we’ll be looking into multiple types of caching and performance-boosting options between wide range of possibilities current open source ecosystem offers any web developer or sysadmins (e.g. memcache, redis, varnish, nginx proxy and fastcgi cache, etc).

In the second part, we’ll be digging deeply into WordPress ecosystem experimenting with various performance optimizing plugins, tips and tricks. W3 Total Cache will be examined in more depth (options explained and proper configuration outlined) as well as best practices during the development of a plugin or a theme. Then we’ll look into client side optimizations such as browser caching, minifying and combining resources, compressing images and making use of CDNs such as CloudFlare and others.

Contents of this work may heavily change and update so take this draft only as a tentative outline of what you can expect and look forward to. What I can promise you is that you won’t be disappointed. After studying our work and following steps contained within it, you will be able to configure and set up a performant web server, making use of all its resources. You’ll also be able to refactor (if needed) your WordPress based web application and take one hundred percent advantage of its great functionality and features.

Stay tuned!

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  1. by far this is the most interesting and detailed guide that I have ever read on wp performance optimization. you deserve a gentle pat on your shoulders. 🙂



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