1. Knowledge Base
  2. >
  3. Results
  4. >
  5. How To Optimize a WordPress Installation

How To Optimize a WordPress Installation


One of the greatest benefits of using WordPress is its customizability. The drawback to this is that you may easily configure WordPress so that it has high resource usage. Your resource usage can impact other users, violate the terms of service, and cause suspension of your site with little to no warning.

The vast majority of issues that cause WordPress to consume too many resources are the result of coding that HostGator is unable to support. However, this article recommends options for optimizing WordPress and reducing the CPU and resource consumption so that you have a better hosting experience.

Optimized WordPress (OWP) is the superior platform for hosting WordPress sites. OWP is a managed WordPress hosting service that includes CodeGuard, SiteLock, server-side caching, and we carefully evaluate and blacklist plugins that are harmful to your site.

If you want to run an optimized WordPress site easier, and to have the best WordPress hosting experience, including a free migration, use Optimized WordPress:

Before making any changes to your WordPress installation, we recommend generating a manual backup to prevent any possible complications and allow restoration of your site, if needed.
  • Upgrade to the latest version of WordPress: The latest versions have optimized code that could reduce the CPU consumption of your site. Please review the instructions below for assistance for updating WordPress to the latest version:
Note: Updating WordPress can have adverse affects to your theme or plugins. Many themes and plugins have updates available from the same Updates page. If your theme or plugins are incompatible with an updated WordPress, we advise seeking an alternative theme or plugin.

To upgrade your version of WordPress:

  1. Log into your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Click Dashboard and then click Updates, which will list how many updates you may have available:

  3. Click Update Now:

After WordPress finishes upgrading to the latest version it will display a page letting you know about its newest features and changes.

By returning to the Updates page you will also be able to update any installed themes or plugins to the latest version, which is strongly recommended for the best WordPress experience.

  • Review your plugins: WordPress users are already familiar with how dramatically plugins can affect the behavior of a website, and resource usage is no exception. HostGator offers the following article to help with your plugins usage:

    This article will assist you with making the following changes:

    1. Installing plugins that help your site perform better.
    2. Identifying plugins that hurt your site so you can uninstall them.
    3. Recommending well-developed plugins for common needs, such as SEO.
  • Minimize the number of WP Crons: The WordPress Cron job is a resource intensive task that runs every single time visitors access your WordPress. You can greatly improve your site's performance with the advice in this article:
  • Limit WebCrawlers and Bots: Webcrawlers can often cause resource problems for WordPress sites. The first tool for protecting your site against webcrawlers is a robots.txt file. Please review the instructions below for assistance with creating a robots.txt file for improving performance of WordPress sites.
Note: This is a generalized robots.txt that will work for most WordPress sites. Please see the following article for information on advanced robots.txt configuration:

These are the step by step instructions for creating a file called robots.txt in the document root for your WordPress site. The file should contain the following text:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Disallow: /wp-admin/
Disallow: /wp-includes/
Disallow: /wp-content/
Disallow: /trackback/
Disallow: /index.php
Disallow: /xmlrpc.com
Disallow: /wp-login.php
Disallow: /wp-content/plugins/
Disallow: /comments/feed/

User-agent: Yandex
Disallow: /

User-agent: Baiduspider
Disallow: /

To create the file:

  1. Log in to cPanel.
  2. Click on the File Manager icon:

  3. Navigate to the directory your WordPress in installed in:

  4. Click the New File icon:

  5. Name the file robots.txt then click Create New File:

  6. Click on robots.txt to highlight and select the file, then click Code Editor:

  7. In the new pop-up dialog box, click Edit:

  8. In the new window, copy the robots.txt text provided above, copy it into the window, and click Save Changes:

Congratulations! You have successfully created a robots.txt file!

In addition to robots.txt, the Bing Network and Google Webmaster accounts offer tools to help reduce the rate that crawlers initiate requests with your site, reducing the resources, and allowing for more legitimate traffic to be served.

  • Check Your Theme: Sometimes the coding of a theme can cause resource issues on a WordPress site. Fortunately, this is simple to test for. Click the link below to expand instructions for checking your theme:
    Note: This method will not work for sites that are currently access restricted. The site must be able to have traffic to test resource usage accurately.
    1. Familiarize yourself with how to monitor resource usage from the following article:
    2. Set your WordPress to a default theme.
    3. After several hours of usage, check your resources to see how your WordPress functions with the default theme.
    4. Activate your theme of choice.
    5. After several hours of usage, check your resources to see how the new theme has impacted the resource usage of your site.

    If your theme is causing resource issues for your site, you need to contact your theme developer or select a new theme. Alternatively, you may contact HostGator Design Services for a quote to design a new resource friendly site.

These changes are not guaranteed fixes, but do provide a starting point for correcting high load issues on WordPress sites. These recommendations are provided in order of complexity, and will have varying results depending on the specific cause of the resource usage of your WordPress site.

HostGator offers design services! If you have difficulty with the recommendations in this article, or if they are not sufficient and your site is not currently able to function on shared hosting, you may wish to consider having us create a new site for you:
If you have any questions about this, please don't hesitate to contact us via phone or Live Chat.