Did you ever experienced a sluggish WordPress dashboard while displaying your plugin listing? Do you know how to pinpoint the problem? If not, please read on. I will guide you through the right steps.
Speed Up Your WordPress Dashboard
What may cause a slow plugin display in your WordPress admin panel? Here are examples:
- Too much outbound network traffic initiated by plugins
- A slow back-end or a slow host
- Plugin conflicts
- Unoptimized plugin code
WordPress Plugin Best Practices
You may have heard about these WordPress plugin best practices:
- delete plugins you don’t need
- keep your plugins updated
- don’t run too many plugins, etc.
Even though you enforced these rules, you may still notice a slow plugin display in admin.
Let’s explore the causes.
WordPress Plugins and Network Activity
A slow plugin listing display is often due to plugins that call home too often or too long (bullet #1 above). Why do they need to call home? To check if a newer version is available? That’s legitimate. But why checking so often? That slows me down, buddy!
Here is what you will learn:
- Identify the causes of slow plugin display using the Snitch plugin
- How to calculate the delays caused by plugins network activity
- Decide a course of action
Detective Work With Snitch
To pinpoint the faulty plugins, you will install Snitch, a free plugin.
Installing the Snitch Plugin
From your WordPress admin panel, install the Snitch plugin:
Plugins > Add New
Type Snitch in the Keyword box
Using the Snitch Plugin
Choose the Snitch plugin in the WordPress admin sidebar
Snitch will display a list of outbound network requests (ref. next figure). Here is the breakdown of the main columns:
- Destination is the target remote host (this is what the plugin communicates with)
- File is the plugin or component that invoked the outbound network request
- State means the request is allowed or not allowed
- Code is the HTML response code
- Duration means the time it took for the plugin to complete its network request
- Time is the elapsed time since the network request started.
Take a look at the plugins that display high duration values (e.g. 2+ seconds). These are the culprit. If a plugin has several entries with low duration values that may be a culprit too. You need to add the duration column values to determine how demanding the plugin is.
Calculating the Total Duration
To calculate how long outbound calls took to complete, copy the rows into a spreadsheet and add the values from the duration field.
I suggest you use Scrape, a Chrome extension that will grab the rows for you.
Select a few rows (2 or 3), and then right-click to display Chrome’s context menu. Select Scrape Similar.
A new Scrape window pops-up.
At the bottom of the Scrape window, click on Copy to clipboard. Then, paste into an Excel sheet or Google sheet.
From your spreadsheet, under the Duration column, suppress the word “Seconds” (use search and replace). This will make the cells numeric so you can add them. See my Google Sheet example:
Next, add all values in the Duration column (with a Sum function).
Surprise! We got a 7.38 seconds of outbound network activity.
Your Next Steps
You have discovered your slowdown causes. And you have a well documented proof. Here is what you need to do.
Don’t let Snitch running all day as it will consume disk space. Delete its entries by clicking on the “Empty Protocol” button.
Next, deactivate the Snitch plugin. This way, it won’t keep collecting data.
Decide What to Do With the Network Hogs
To speed up your WordPress dashboard, you need to have these faulty plugins fixed.
- Deactivate those network hungry plugins, if not essential.
- Contact the plugin authors with your findings and ask them to investigate.
I’ve seen a case where the remote host (Destination) was too slow. After contacting the plugin author, he acknowledged that his host had performance issues. After he fixed his hosting, the plugin display became quicker.[/code]
Some WordPress plugins spend too much time issuing network requests. This will cause a slowdown in your plugin dashboard display. I showed you a technique to isolate this problem and ideas on how to deal with it.
Did you ever experience similar issues? What steps are you taking to minimize slowdowns in your WordPress admin dashboard?
Please leave your comment below.
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