Two Vital Performance Plugins for WordPress

October 15, 2010, By Christian Cawley

If you’re managing a WordPress blog, you are probably aware of the power that plugins can have on your website. These can range from adding Twitter feeds to allowing visitors to choose their own look for the site, and range from free (by far and away the most common) to shareware.

There is, quite literally, a plugin for every purpose.

For instance, I recently redesigned and rebuilt a blog, and to do this took a copy of the database, converted it into WordPress, installed a fresh copy of WordPress on a secondary webserver and restored the database so that I would have a good copy of the original to test new plugins on, as well as well as finalise the redesign.

Applying the new theme design and the amended database turned out to be more complicated than uploading the new theme, however. Thanks to some of the added features, the blog was now running much slower! Thankfully, plugins came to the rescue!

So, here are the best WordPress plugins for ensuring your blog runs as intended…


The first thing that became apparent when the migrated blog went live was that the performance on the new webserver was heavily impacted. Having moved from a custom ASP solution into the PHP slickness of WordPress had changed the footprint of the website, and not for the better.

It took several days to get to the bottom of the problem – the popularity of the website had resulted in too much bandwidth being allocated. Due to us using shared hosting, this was impacting on other websites on the same server.

Migrating again to a dedicated server would not have been cost-effective, so the only solution was to go back, or use a plugin.

Throttle was the answer – designed to manage spikes in server performance, Throttle deactivates non-essential plugins while server load is high, ensuring the site and the server stay online. A Throttle admin page under Settings lets you enable and disable it (while leaving the plugin activated) and it even works out default values for you to apply to your site.

Download Throttle from or browse the Plugins section of your blog.

W3 Total Cache

Similarly, W3 Total Cache can also help with performance issues – particularly those concerned with the speed of website.

Blogs that are regularly updated will attract regular visits from readers – and this can lead to speed issues when pages are opened. W3 Total Cache, as the name suggests, manages the caching of regularly used information on your website such as banner images, backgrounds, etc.

Posts and pages can run up to 5x faster with this installed – in fact it doesn’t matter whether you have a brand new WordPress blog or an old one, you should be using it anyway!

Download W3 Total Cache, from or search from the Plugins section of your blog.

They Might Be the Best WordPress Plugins – But Always Test Them First!

Whether or not these are the best WordPress plugins for improving the speed and server footprint of your blog, you shouldn’t go head first in and installing them without first checking them out properly.

No WordPress plugin should be installed without first checking compatibility with your version of WordPress. This can be done easily on the page.

Secondly, you should always take a backup of your database before installing plugins. I prefer to also run the plugins on a test copy of the blog to make sure no problems arise before installing them on the live site.

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