Testing Your WordPress Plugin Performance
WordPress by itself is a pretty efficiently created platform. It has been coded quite well, is constantly updated and has great support. WordPress core is quite fast, runs smoothly and has little known issues with lockups or even security.
However, no one is ever likely going to just run a core WordPress installation. Why? Because well, it’s kind of bland. We love WordPress, but one of it’s greatest assets, such as the modular nature of plugins, becomes one of it’s biggest concerns.
With that in mind, we take a look at this weeks POTW:
WordPress Compatability: 3.5.2
Last Updated: 12-6-2012
Average 5-Star Rating: 4.6
Anyone running a WordPress site will eventually run into an issue with slowness, regardless of how fast your server is. On the flip side of that coin, many people can effectively run massive WordPress sites without much in the way of slowness over the lifetime of their site.
How is this done? Well, by knowing what is killing your site’s performance.
The P3 – Plugin Performance Profiler is designed to help with this exact issue. We recently installed this plugin on our test site and managed to check out several of the plugins we have been considering and what we found was quite helpful.
After installing this plugin you simply can just run a scan. Pretty straight forward:
Once the scan is complete, which will take a couple minutes depending on the number of plugins you have active, you will get a refreshed page with a list updates stas about your plugins, including a pie chart.
This now displays the average timings it takes to load the plugins for your site.
On our test site we had a total of 21 plugins installed and activated at the time of our first test.
In our original scan we had two plugins that took up over 25% of the total time to load and had an original load time of closer to 6 seconds.
Upon removing those two plugins we noticed a considerable drop in load time for the site, almost 4 seconds.
Sure 4 seconds may not seem like a ton of time, but that was 4 seconds with just two plugins out of 21. That is nearly a 10% overall increase of speed based on the plugin ratio.
Imagine now those sites that are running 30, 40 or even more plugins. Imagine how much faster your site can be once you understand what plugins are causing the issues and will be able to eliminate or alter those that do.
Now, this plugin is not perfect. Notice the image above has one plugin that shows at 71%. That one plugin is a caching plugin, in this case W3TC (W3 Total Cache).
When this plugin scans, it will scan the site with a “no-cache” function. This gives a great test of site performance and plugin speed but in our opinion may present a false relationship with caching plugins. Since it is forcing no-cache, the W3TC plugin has to check each time the plugin performs the test, which in our view makes the plugin work harder and react differently then it might “under normal caching conditions”.
If the dev team at GoDaddy ever get to updating this plugin, I would love to see it account for caching. Even if it was a optional function to test side by side performance with cache and without caching.
We will add this plugin to our repertoire of admin tools. It does help give insight and keeps a history of scans. This tool will make tracking system performance issues that are related to plugins a considerably easier task.
Grab the plugin from the WordPress.Org Repository here: