I have been having performance issues over at 2 of my other sites – themastersfamily.net and themastershouse.net which are both run with WordPress. Pages were taking up to 30 seconds to load each. I put several calls into the hosting company that I am with but they did not see any issues on their end. It is shared hosting so I suspected that it was a server load issue (which the hosting company would never admit to).
Anyway, the server load issue stems from the fact that WordPress is for the most part completely dynamic. This means that all the pages are built at time of request so the server has to sit there and make the request to the database, receive the data, then fill in the data for display. This takes much more resource then static HTML pages in that they are already built so there isn’t too much processing (if any) that goes on in the web server.
So a quick search under WordPress performance issues brought about the WP-Cache Plug-in (link goes to a plug-in repository instead of the author’s site because their site is in Spanish). What this plug-in does is take a snapshot of your rendered pages and serves them up instead of querying the database and then building the page. Installing it can be a little work if you do not give all the necessary folders and files the correct permissions but once you get that figured out it is pretty cool.
The plug-in gives you ability to choose how long you want the cache to “live” before it is regenerated. For my 2 sites I selected 1 week since the content does not change that often. It also gives you ability to delete the cache for individual pages if you should happen to make an update to them. Finally it only creates a cache of a page if that page is actually visited. That way you are not using a whole bunch of space on your server for pages that no one is visiting.
Did I see a difference after setting this up? Yes, although it was not an outstanding difference the pages do get to your browser quicker. I think that this is a good solution for people that may be on shared hosting and have experience the downfall of an over-used web server.
P.S. I have now enabled the plug-in on this site because of the same performance issues.