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Optimize site to load consistently in under 3 secs (now @ 5 secs) WordPress

I have been working on optimizing one of my client's sites for far too long.. many months. I have tried every cache setup, optimized images, modified my .htaccess file, used WP Total Cache, Super Cache, Hyper cache, Amazon Cloud, Amazon S3... you name it.. and I can get the site to load consistently in under 3-5 seconds. Every now and then it will load in 5 seconds and then later it may take 45 seconds! (It is a custom theme, btw, that I had to design to replicate the existing site.. unfortunately it was my first time dealing with designing for WP, so I took some harsh learning curves/lessons along the way and have spent far more time than I will be able to bill for, but I don't think it is that bad programming-wise.)

I am going (gone) crazy and am happy to pay anyone $50-$100 to get this working for me. I have done all of the tedious account set up work and file opt. work. I just need someone who knows WP total Cache (or other solution) and site optimization THOROUGHLY.


If you would like to do this for me, please sign the non-disclosure/non-competition contract I have posted here:

and send me an email with a link to your site and other wordpress sites that you have caused to run quickly.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention, my client does not want to pay more for hosting and is currently on a shared Godaddy server. I realize this isn't ideal, but also had the site on Bluehost at one point and wasn't having much more luck. I know Nginx servers are supposedly lightening fast with wordpress sites and I am open to moving the site, though ideally that wouldn't be required. I do however have to keep monthly costs around $50. It is currently on an Apache server sunning PHP 5.

Once I have signed contracts I will forward Full reports from for you to review and set up an admin account for you on the worpress backend so you can admin that side of things.

I think that someone better than I can complete this in fairly minimal time and that $100 is adequate for the time I expect it will take. However, I am open to discussion if you disagree.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help me with this. My client is holding back checks for jobs dating back to January that I desperately need because his site is too slow and I am at my wits end.

Thank you.

Send all forms to [email protected]

Answers (3)


Clifford P answers:

If monthly hosting budget is that high, try VPS because shared hosting, while "unlimited" in disk space and bandwidth typically has some behind-the-scenes limitations - like simultaneous users limited to 20-50 connections/actions (doesn't mean only 20-50 visitors at a time - more like uploading, downloading, etc.). I'm not sure about GoDaddy's current hosting plan. There's also Managed WordPress hosting from and (more just FYI, probably not realistic).

Did your client/contract require 3s load time? If so, I hope you had some stipulations about how to measure speed, because there are a lot of variables. Is your client located in the same metro area as you are? Just curious, not trying to be nosy. No need to answer if you don't want to.

Clifford P comments:

You can also include some code like this, just for a quicky how to view queries and load time:
<?php // 2011-07-20 from and
if (current_user_can('level_10')) {
echo get_num_queries() . ' queries in ' . timer_stop(0,3) . ' seconds';
} ?>

And a plugin that spits out A LOT of data for debugging:
[[LINK href=""]][[/LINK]]

Clifford P comments:

That code goes in the footer, not in functions.php.


Graham Kite answers:

Sounds very much like a cache issue if you load fast the first time and slower after that. It should be the other way around if your cache is working properly.

Here are some steps you can work on.
1: Make sure your images are optimized PROPERLY. Don’t use smushit, if you know what you are doing you will always get a better job yourself.

2: limit the number of call outs, if you have a lot of things coming from elsewhere get rid of some of them, or figure out how to get them loading from your own server.

3: use something like wp-cleanfix to make sure your database is clean.

4: de active ALL your plugins and test the site, if it works properly active one at a time until you find the one that is causing the problem, delete and you are not needing and using, as they will slow the load.

5: if all this does not work then it is almost definitely your cache, use some different plugins and test with different setting. Cache plugins can bring down a server if not set properly, and you get a lot of traffic.

6: Here are some sites you can use to test your speed and problems:

7: you can compress your code css html on the site itself, this takes out all the white space and can make a difference, if done properly it will remove comments etc.
You will need to keep your original as a backup in case further changes are needed.

8: if this was not in your spec doc, delete the site and move on, 6 -7 months is way to long for a simple site to get payment. If your client did not put that in your contract and is withholding payment it is always going to be a problem. Get a better client. (That is of course you delivered the site in a timely fashion and have met all their terms)

and yes like Cliff said, querie your database, if done properly it should tell you what is wrong. also the sites I have sent should also give you some good tips.

Graham Kite comments:

One thing I forgot to add above. Moany images have a metadata file created with hold basic information about the file, creation date, settings etc. If you can find a program called jpgcleaner grab a copy and run all your images throuhg it before you upload, it should have a few kb off the load time. It doesn't sound like much but in your situation I would do everything I could to shave load time.

Graham Kite comments:

sorry for th typos, very quick message :)

Graham Kite comments:

WP Super Cache
W3 Total Cache
Hyper Cache
Here are three good caching plugins you mihgt like to try.

Graham Kite comments:

Lots of sites (especially if they use plug-ins) use common JavaScript libraries like MooTools and JQuery. These are JavaScript files that contain all the magical code that makes your site do all the Ajax type stuff like popping up light box windows, opening menu’s, sliding photos etc.

Unfortunately, these can add a fair bit of size to a page as the JavaScript file has to be downloaded before the page can load. Once it has done it the first time, it’s normally kept in your browser cache so you don’t notice it later. However, spiders and first time site visitors don’t have this luxury.

So here’s a little known trick. Rather than loading it from your site, load it from Google itself using their own public code libraries. The beauty of this is that if you load it from Google directly, it will be superfast for the Google spiders. Plus, if that visitor has been to another site that’s accessed the same file, the browser will pull it from the cache, rather than try to download it again, making it faster for the end user too.

Here’s how we do that for Prototype, JQuery and Scriptaculous.

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
// You may specify partial version numbers, such as "1" or "1.3",
// with the same result. Doing so will automatically load the
// latest version matching that partial revision pattern
// (e.g. 1.3 would load 1.3.2 today and 1 would load 1.4.1).
google.load("jquery", "1.4.1");
google.load("prototype", "");
google.load("scriptaculous", "1.8.3");
google.setOnLoadCallback(function() {

Graham Kite comments:

The other thing that is worth trying is consolidate all your and css from all of your pluings into your main stylesheet.
and also minify it, but if you do that keep a backup as it will be hard to edit later.

As Reland mentioned yslow is very good and also firebug for firefox is useful and you can add page speed to it, which might help you also.

Without knowing more about the plugins, settings etc, it would be difficult to add much more. Hope one of these suggestions work.

Graham Kite comments:

Can you post the setting you have in w3 cache please, doing some testing at present.


Reland Pigte answers:

Try using YSLOW - This is a firefox plugin to check the errors on the page and this also suggest what to do to make you site loads faster.

You can get it here:

Happy coding..