WordPress, the acclaimed content management system, is well known for its user-friendly interface and simple website management. It’s so renowned for its simplicity, in fact, that it’s become by most accounts the de-facto website management tool for beginners and advanced users alike. However, it may be simple to use, but creating and managing websites in WordPress for the long term requires some thought.
WordPress is, despite its simple interface, a fairly complicated piece of code. It needs a fairly beefy server to work properly during heavy traffic; a powerful dedicated host or high-bandwidth plan for media-heavy websites, and a highly optimized theme for use on major authority websites. While using WordPress as a website manager is remarkably simple through its user interface, thinking through its back end can be quite complex.
Whenever you’re planning on using WordPress to build a website, integrate WordPress into website assets that you already have, or simply adding a WordPress blog onto your current website, make sure you keep these three top lists in mind. In some cases, they can be the difference between a high-performance website and a sluggish, needlessly expensive, server drain.
Always use a self-hosted WordPress installation
A variety of pre-hosted WordPress installations are available, the most well-known of which is the proprietary platform at WordPress.com. While these are easier to use than their self-hosted version counterparts, doing so puts you at a significant risk of losing your websites in WordPress.
While the vast majority of WordPress.com websites are rarely tampered with or affected by license changes, it’s always possible that your website could get out of your control when it’s hosted on an external server. Always self-host your assets when using WordPress as a website platform as it allows you both greater control over your content and the ability to customize your website freely.
Check that your server is powerful enough and compatible with WordPress
WordPress, for all its coding tricks and developer accolades, is a bit of a resource hog. High-traffic pages can quickly turn into server-killers, particularly for those using shared hosting. If your blog or website is receiving a large amount of traffic, particularly in a relatively short amount of time, it’s a good idea to upgrade to either a dedicated server or a virtual private server.
Alternatively, you might wish to switch to a WordPress theme that contains very few images, as this will improve your page’s load times and limit resource usage. For the most part, however, using WordPress to build a website that’s expected to receive lots of traffic will need a powerful server for good performance.
Consider using cached pages for high-volume websites
You’ve written an amazing post, promoted it using the standard social media channels, and woke up to a flurry of traffic from around the web. The only problem is that your server is crippling under its resource requirements, leaving your website slow and often inaccessible. The problem: you’re using WordPress’s default page loading settings, instead of caching your pages for faster access.
The solution is to flip a magic switch in WordPress known as ‘cache pages.’ This one simple change can reduce your website’s resource usage, allowing you to make the most of the surge of traffic that websites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit can provide.