Wordpress Extremely Slow




I am creating a website for a client, and have been experiencing great difficulty over the past 24 hours getting the Wordpress powered site to load quickly. I have read through posts stating that installing a caching plugin will help to reduce load times; however, even when doing so load times are extremely long.

The website is located at www.hortonhymanrealty.com and is hosted with DreamHost (obviously). The domain name is with GoDaddy.

Interestingly, I do not recall experiencing load time issues before the domain name was purchased and the name servers were changed over at GoDaddy. I’m not sure if this has any effect whatsoever on the speed of the site.

I should also note that this issue appears to be intermittent. Sometimes, the site loads normally. After sitting idle for some time, it will then load slowly once more, or fail to load all of the elements on a page.

What gives? Is there something I am missing?

Thank you in advance!


Hi Mason,

I had similar issues with my WP site as well when I first set it up. I started using the WP super cache plugin to help the page load faster and I used this wiki for help http://wiki.dreamhost.com/Fine_Tuning_Your_WordPress_Install . Our Dream host support staff is also here to help if you need it! You can send us a ticket here https://panel.dreamhost.com/index.cgi?tree=support.msg& and we’ll look into the issue further.

Hope this Helps,
Matt C


Thank you for the reply! As stated in my original post, adding a caching plugin does not solve my problems. Check the site for yourself. Are you experiencing any slow load times? They are intermittent and occur throughout the day. Sometimes the site loads quickly, other times, it barely loads at all even after several minutes. Are there any other solutions you can suggest?


I looked at your site and the front page did load slowly. The first thing I did was look into your shared and MySQL servers, and they are both running smoothly. If the wiki link from my previous post isn’t much help, then I would suggest sending a ticket to our support team and have them investigate the issue further.

Matt C


If caching is turned on, it’s not working at all. I can tell because there’s no caching info in the source code.


Hi masonnichols,

Do you mind sharing what plugin you used for your property listing, search, results and slideshow?

Hi masonnichols,

Do you mind sharing what plugin you used for your property listing, search, results and slideshow?



I have been experiencing the same…tried everything and contacted support. They were of no help. So if you found a solution I would love to hear it. My site is http://maccarthyclan.org/

It was fine up to about 4 weeks ago. Since then it has been very slow most of the time. Some times during the day though it comes up o.k. but most of the time is takes minutes or even just times out…so to me, that indicates server performance issues with the Dreamhost servers. I have experienced the same behavior from multiple ISPs as well.


DiffEQ, you don’t seem to be using any caching either. Or rather you have it installed, but it’s off (and out of date). You also have a lot of out of date themes.

In general you should clean up your site by removing any themes and plugins you’re not using. Not that they really slow things down, but it’s easier to keep up with updates if you only have to update what you really use.


I am having the same problem. In my case, I am using webpagetest.org to see where the load time is going. What I got:

  1. Response time can be more than 8 seconds just to start loading any file (see for instance http://www.webpagetest.org/result/130315_TY_DEM/1/details/ ) This time is usually closer to 2-3 seconds (which it is still al lot). It seems to be somehow theme dependent.

  2. My domain is set to work both with www and without, but for some reason pages under wordpress are being redirected to www (?). And when I test URLs without www, the load time increases 1.5-2.5 seconds, what seems also a lot for a redirection.

I have contacted support and they told me that "there was a combination of factors on the web server that caused it to be having a high load and respond sluggishly. Once that was resolved, the server’s load dropped significantly. You should be seeing better performance ". However, load times and exactly the same, so I have contacted them again…

Meanwhile, wordpress is just to painfully slow…


The site listed there loads in a split second for me (and I’m on lousy ‘high speed’ DSL)

The reason your site is being directed to www is because WordPress is a very simple app. It knows it’s domain, and if you set that as www.domain.com in your settings, it will always use that.


I seem to be having this problem as well. I have contacted support, but have been given similar advice (caching, compression, etc). Pages load instantaneously once they have been cached, but i’m seeing anywhere from a 12-20 second initial load time. This doesn’t work for me as my customers will not likely be visiting the same page frequently. My site is small, so the actual content shouldn’t be the problem. I’m using a default theme and have two plugins installed - an essential ecommerce plugin and total cache which is off until I figure out why initial load times are atrocious.

I was told by support my site is exceeding its RAM settings on the shared server (charlton). I find this hard to believe, again, because I have done next to nothing to my install. Unless there is an error in initial install of wordpress 3.5.1 that causes it to eat resources. I also don’t trust this answer because I was told the process killer is killing my site when it exceeds its ram cap, but the problem has been consistent for me - always ~15 sec loads.

gtmetrix.com adds more confusion when I test my domain:
^ it scores (relatively) highly, but the timeline shows odd wait times the meaning of which I can’t decipher. It shows it getting the main page in about 10 seconds and taking another 6 secs to load a JS of some sort.

Thanks for the help, I can’t afford to wait another two days for a canned response from support.


[quote=“samuraipizzacat29, post:11, topic:58947”]gtmetrix.com adds more confusion when I test my domain:
^ it scores (relatively) highly, but the timeline shows odd wait times the meaning of which I can’t decipher.[/quote]

The initial time to first byte for me just now was over 20 seconds. According to useful data the site is currently in the bottom 5% of average response time of websites which means from an end-user perspective it is (relatively) “crap”. The lag appears to be more to do with the server rather than the code - although WP being what it is the code is a hurdle you’re forever stuck with.

Doing things in the order below while checking results at each step will maintain a process of establishment rather than a process of elimination:

An Apache instance test would be handy (but we can’t do that) so the first thing to do is log in to shell and check the server load by typing “uptime” at the commandline. If you see numbers greater than 100 then report the load to Support.

The next step is to delete any caches in WP and disable all your plug-ins (including cache plug-ins). You can re-enable things later - but for now disable everything and perform another response check to see if there is a radical change.

If there is still no change, check the domain settings via Panel, selecting PHP 5.4 FastCGI and dismissing all options except Extra Web Security. You’ll need to wait a while for any new settings to kick in before re-testing to see if there is any difference, so do something else that doesn’t involve loading your site for a good half hour.

If you have not seen a vast improvement by now, reinstate your plug-ins, ask Support to move your site to another Apache instance, and sit tight.

If you’ve noticed the site is more responsive it’s time to reinstate plug-ins one by one, doing response checks at each step in another browser window or TAB.

Next, investigate the most appropriate caching mechanism to further boost response for your particular website. WP Super-Cache and W3TC are the popular choices.

PageSpeed and CloudFlare can be problematic, but give them a try - first individually, then together, starting with PageSpeed. If one or both play well with your particular website with all plug-ins enabled then use it/them.


server response from Shell:

/home/username$ uptime
22:03:33 up 99 days, 9:49, 1 user, load average: 15.29, 15.49, 15.14

I don’t know what I’m looking at there…

I disabled and deleted ALL plugins and there was a significant improvement on first page load time. see screenshot:
Screenshot from GTMetrix.com

Still, I think over 4 seconds for 166kb of output is terrible, agreeably without knowing much details about exactly how the code works. I will continue with the optimization end of things from here to see where it leads me, I just very much want to start with the problem corrected, rather than band-aid it to find it impossible to fix on down the road.

I have cloudfare added as a plugin now so maybe that’s helping. Working with pagespeed to help identify problems, but again, it doesn’t see any.

I just enabled the shopping cart plugin from getshopped.org, which seems like a very popular and well supported plugin, and went back to 15 seconds plus.

going down the optimization list:
with gzip enabled - no change
I tried to add expires headers, but yslow doesn’t see it, so possibly I made an error? I used this method:
<FilesMatch “.(ico|jpg|jpeg|png|gif|js|css|swf)$”>
ExpiresDefault "access plus 2 hours"

that’s all i’ve worked on for now. on to something else…

just ran uptime again and seeing numbers in the 25 range.

Thanks for the response,


Load looks okay. Anything over 80 and you should start checking in on it occasionally. If it’s over 100 consistently then it’s time to request a server move via Support ticket.

4 seconds on first load isn’t too far out of the ordinary. Subsequent loads should be faster.

I have clients that use that getshopped plug-in, and yes it is a quite heavy hitter. Having said that, you should probably not be seeing 15 second load times out of the box. Could be database problems maybe. Take a look in your error logs and see if you notice any errors that look something like this:

Once you enable caching with WT3C you should see another dramatic increase in load times.


I received a response from support today. Seems they had my SQL database located cross country from my site files. :d’oh:

Now I’m seeing more normal load times from what I’d expect from a wordpress page. ~3 seconds of server load, even with a few more plugins added, and the getshopped ecart plugin. So, that’s more in the realm of what I’d expect and can further optimize from there.

Thanks for the help, I definitely learned something in the troubleshooting process.

Paper Products Music


3 second load time with getshopped activated is really good. I might be asking you for some tips soon.


In my case, after several tickets, support finally replied that “your webserver is a bit overloaded and I’d like to try moving you to another machine”. So, we will see how it goes :slight_smile:


Optimize your database - it could help greatly!


^I don’t think you’d get anywhere asking me for tips… :wink: though I thought it necessary to add to this thread that now my database is located on the proper server, my site is functioning as speedily and correctly as I’d expect (if even better). Since I’m in the build process, I don’t even have caching turned on yet. Cached pages are served like lightning.