Effect of WordPress Themes and Hosting

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I’m a massive fan of New Relic. I use it for all my Managed WordPress customers to not only monitor their websites but also to look for poorly written or misbehaving WordPress plugins.

Recently, I had a customer who decided that it was time to move on (it happens). When a customer decides to move on, I normally remove New Relic as part of the off-boarding process. Well, it’s been very hectic recently, and I forgot to disable the Synthetics Monitoring for their domain.

One night, while I should have been sleeping my phone goes off telling me that a domain I no longer manage has gone down. The light bulb went off, and I logged into New Relic to disable the monitoring and was a little taken back by what I saw.

New Relic Page Load Time

Right after they customer changed hosting providers there was a large uptick in the average load time for their pages. It jumped from about 250 to 600ms. In addition to that, the average page size increased from 200 to over 700kb.

New Relic Page Size

I’m extremely proud of the environment that we’ve built. It’s meant for one purpose only – hosting WordPress. As part of our managed services we regularly monitor customer sites for improvement possibilities. In this particular case, we spent a fair amount of time optimizing the customers chosen WordPress theme as well as the assets (images, CSS, etc.) that were part of the theme. I think it’s clear the effect that the additional work had.

Depending on who you believe the speed at which your site (WordPress or otherwise) loads has an effect on your page rankings. Did the site slowdown affect the customers search rankings? Only Google (and the customer knows) for sure.

The point is this. Themes are one of the things that make working with WordPress great, but they aren’t perfect. Make sure that you optimize them where it makes sense. Additionally, regularly monitor your site with Google Page Speed – or find a service provider to do it for you.