How To Fix Slow WordPress Admin Panel (Dashboard) With These 17 Tweaks

A smooth experience motivates us to write more content, but when our WordPress admin panel takes years to load, it lefts us feeling frustrated.

We as humans want everything as soon as possible. It is our tendency to get things done quickly.

A slow WordPress admin panel stops us from producing more (valuable) content which may affect your overall site performance.

It is important to fix it as soon as possible so that it can’t distract us from writing more.

In this article, we are going to look at those ways that we can implement to fix a slow WordPress admin panel aka WordPress dashboard.

Let’s begin!

1: Fix Your TTFB

Most of the time we focus on improving front-end performance to improve page load speeds.

We don’t understand how crucial it is to fix the problem occurring from the server side.

We need to focus on TTFB in order to enhance the performance of the WordPress admin panel.

TTFB sounds complicated, but believe me, it isn’t. It is a measurement of how long the browser has to wait before getting its first byte of data from the server.

The longer it takes to receive that data, the longer it takes to show your page.

Normally, TTFB depends on what kind of plan you are using for your website. If you are running your site on shared hosting, then TTFB is going to be high.

However, there are a couple of ways to fix your TTFB time even if you are using a shared host. But, first, let’s look at the places where you can check your TTFB or server response time.

How To Check Your Site’s TTFB

  • Test Your Site On Key CDN

Key CDN is a great place to see how fast your site is loading in every corner of the world. It is a free tool that allows you to check your TTFB (server response time). Click here to visit.

The report will look like this:

  • Gtmatrix Tool

Gtmatrix has a good interface that easily suggests which points you need to focus on to increase your site’s speed. TTFB is visible in GT Matrix.

  • Test Your Site On Page Speed Insight

Google’s page speed insight is a famous tool where you can look at your site’s speed performance with one click. It shows your server response time (TTFB) clearly.

You can take the help of this tool to fix the server speed issue.

  • Use Web.Dev Tool

Another great tool to look at your server response time. I would say, it is the most advanced tool, it shows every information about your site’s speed. Click here to see your site’s result.

light House Report

How To Fix TTFB

Let’s look at things you can implement to reduce TTFB.

  • Use A CDN

You can always connect your website to a CDN. Cloudflare offers this feature for free. You can sign up for a free plan.

Using CDN instantly affects the TTFB time, ultimately, your WordPress admin panel will load faster. If you don’t know how to set up a Cloudflare account for your website, then click here to see the instructions.

  • Enable WordPress Caching

It is probably the easiest way to decrease TTFB. According to Kinsta, most people think that caching can help decrease your load times, but in fact, it also helps decrease TTFB as it helps to reduce the server processing time. 

I ran a test on my site to see how caching affects TTFB. I used GTmatrix for it because it has a really good interface.

Without Caching –

With Caching Enabled

TTFB reduced by around 300ms which is absolutely awesome. Enable caching plays a big role in reduces load time significantly.

2: Upgrade Your Hosting Plan

Using shared hosting may not get you the results you are looking for. Shared hostings are usually slower than cloud or VPS hosting. If it is possible for you, then upgrade the shared plan to Cloud or VPS plan.

Admin panel load speed depends on how fast your web host is, but when you use a shared hosting plan, you are sharing one server with many websites and that causes a delay in site response time.

Reasons Why Shared Hosting Is So Slow

As I said earlier, mostly it depends on your web host. Choosing a low-quality host gives you poor experiences.

Research before choosing any host because nowadays, there are thousands of web hosts available on the internet that claims to give the best performance, however, most of them are fake. That is why researching on your own becomes so important.

If I have to suggest a web host for you, I would definitely suggest you try Cloudways. It is amazingly fast and not too expensive.

Another host I like the most is A2 Hosting, it is cheaper than Cloudways and extremely fast. Their Shared plan is way faster than Bluehost or Hostgator shared plan.

I have tried almost every famous host, like SiteGround, HostGator, Bluehost, and Godaddy, but no host performed like Cloudways & A2 Hosting. Check them out at least once.

Disadvantages Of Choosing Shared Hosting Plan

I know some bloggers who are just starting out, don’t have much money to spend on hosting services, that is why they go for shared hosting.

And, yes, it is important to save money at the beginning of the journey as a blogger, but shared hosting has many disadvantages and you should be aware of them.

It has low-level security because you are sharing your website with other people on the same server

Due to being in one server, when the server experiences some issue, or crashes, all of the websites that are within the server of the host, will stop working.

When another site in your server suffers a huge amount of traffic, you may encounter slowing down of loading pages on your website

A probability of sharing server space with a hacker that is just waiting for the right time to jump in. Before diving in and choosing the right shared host for you, never ignore the one weapon you have when it comes to choosing: knowledge.

Search and examine every possible choice that you have, find out what benefits and drawbacks that it will give to you and your growing business.

3: Remove High CPU Plugins Or Find Alternatives

There are some plugins that need to be removed or replaced to make our admin panel faster. You may not know which plugins use CPU more and which don’t. So, I am about to show you a list of plugins that causes High CPU usage. If you’re using one of them listed below, then remove or find alternatives quickly.

Here is the complete list:

  • Divi Builder
  • Woocommerce
  • Jetpack
  • Visual Composer
  • Gravity Forms
  • Wordfence (I like this plugin. It helps a lot in stopping severe attacks on-site, but this plugin uses CPU heavily. I allow to have at least one plugin like this. It won’t affect too much.)
  • AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
  • Backup Buddy (use UpdraftPlus)
  • Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps (use Yoast)
  • Broken link checker (use Dr. Link Check)
  • Constant Contact for WordPress
  • Contact Form 7
  • Contextual Related Posts
  • Digi Auto Links
  • Disqus Comment System (use Disqus Conditional Load)
  • Divi Builder
  • Essential Grid
  • Fuzzy SEO Booster
  • Google XML Sitemaps (use Yoast)
  • Jetpack
  • NextGEN Gallery
  • NewStatPress
  • Pods
  • Reveal IDs
  • Revolution Slider
  • S2 member
  • SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
  • Similar Posts
  • Slimstat Analytics
  • SumoMe
  • Talk.To
  • VaultPress
  • WordPress Facebook
  • WP Bakey (formerly Visual Composer)
  • WP Statistics
  • WP-PostViews
  • WP Power Stats
  • wpCloaker
  • WPML
  • Yet Another Related Post Plugin
  • Yuzo Related Posts

So, you can see how long this list is. All the plugins listed above may increase the loading time of your admin panel, so, make sure to find alternatives to them or just don’t use them.

How To Spot Slow Plugins (Plugins that are using CPU way too much)

  • Use Query Monitor

Query Monitor is a free tool that lets you find those plugins that are causing your admin panel to slow. Find and replace them with a lightweight alternative.

  • Use GTmatrix

GTmatrix online tool also a great way to find high CPU plugins. It shows you which plugins create the longest requests.

4: Use The Latest PHP Version

Currently, the latest PHP version is 8.0, but you may get shocked to know that only 0.6% of people are actually running their site on PHP version 8.0.

However, according to WordPress.org, the recommended PHP version is 7.4 or greater. That means you don’t need to freak out if your site is not running on version 8.0, version 7.4 is enough to do the job for you.

How To Know The Current PHP Version Of You Website

Step 1: Install Display My PHP Plugin

This plugin is easily available at the plugin store of WordPress. Install and click activate.

Step 2: Go To Your WordPress Dashboard

Once you install it, just go to your WordPress dashboard. Under “At A Glance” the PHP version will be visible to you.

How To Update Your Website’s PHP Version

  • Contact your web host support: Go to your host’s website, and click on the support section. It may take time, but your host will help you out in this.

5: Enable Server Level Caching

Hosts like SiteGround, Cloudways (recommended), Kinsta, and WP Engine lets you do that.

But what is server caching? According to WP-rocket.me, A server cache is a type cache that’s related to site caching, except instead of temporarily saving content on the client-side, it’s stored on a site’s server. Server caching is also fully handled and administered on the server without any involvement of the end-user, or a browser.

You can enable Memcached, NGINX, and Redis to enhance the site’s overall speed. let’s learn what is Memcached, NGNIX, and Redis.

Source: Cloudways

  • Redis

Redis is a great tool used for object caching or database caching. It caches database queries to improve the overall website performance. It is a great open-source option that supports a wide range of data structures and can save data in memory for faster processing.

When the visitor launches a request, this request is delivered to the website backend where the PHP code process it, and if required, creates and executes a database query to fetch data from the tables. This back and forth takes time which can be avoided by using Redis.

  • Memcached

Memcached is another excellent open-source tool that can cache database queries. It has an in-memory key-value storage process that speeds up dynamic web applications by improving data fetch time.

Dynamic sites such as eCommerce stores can profit from Memcached by reducing the load on the database. Memcached processes excessive requests faster by eliminating the entire process of going to the website backend and querying database tables for data items.

  • NGINX

According to Kinsta, Nginx is built to offer low memory usage and high concurrency. Rather than creating new processes for each web request, Nginx uses an asynchronous, event-driven approach where requests are handled in a single thread.

With Nginx, one master process can control multiple worker processes. The master maintains the worker processes, while the workers do the actual processing. Because Nginx is asynchronous, each request can be executed by the worker concurrently without blocking other requests.

6: Disable WordPress Heartbeat API

WordPress introduced Heartbeat API in 2013, it is a feature that allows your browser to directly/automatically connect with the server. However, there are disadvantages to this feature.

Heartbeat API sends pulses to perform periodic tasks. This supports the browser to talk with the server using AJAX calls and provide real-time information on the WordPress dashboard.

This function supports you to sync all the data between the server and the WordPress dashboard. The concept behind heartbeat API is pretty compelling. For example, when you create or edit a post from the editor tool, it provides a function to autosave the post periodically.

A collaborative WordPress site, it has a post-locking function, to prevent you from editing an article that’s being worked on by another user. If you use an eCommerce plugin, this API will also support to display of sales that happen on your site.

Why Stop Heartbeat API?

I believe, WordPress heartbeat API is a cool feature that helps us autosave our posts and show real stats of Woocommerce sales, but there are issues with this feature as well.

According to Hostinger.com, Heartbeat API transfers AJAX requests (POST requests) using the /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php file. Any request that executes a PHP file is equal to CPU time on the server.

This can create a large number of requests sent to the hosting server, which results in high CPU usage, and this can be a problem for a blogger with a shared hosting plan. As you enter your quota limit, high CPU usage can ultimately lead to account suspension, which could be really harmful to your website.

That is why I hate shared hosting plans. Use Cloudways, and give a cloud environment to your website so that it can perform to its best.

Think Twice Before Disabling Heartbeat API

If you are planning to disable WordPress API completely, then you should think twice. Without the WordPress Heartbeat API, all the modifications you made in the post will be lost if you ever forget to click the Save Draft key. And you will no longer have access to the Revisions feature in WordPress.

How To Disable Heartbeat API

There are two ways to disable it, one is by installing a plugin and the second is by editing your functions.php file. First, we’ll look at the plugin method because it is the easiest way, and beginner-friendly.

(1) Disable/Control WordPress Heartbeat API Using Plugins

There are two plugins that can do the job for you, but one of them is just too old, so, we will focus on the latest one because having an old plugin on our site may cause security issues.

LiteSpeed Cache Plugin

This plugin is a gift for bloggers. It has so many options to make your site super fast, but the thing that makes it different than others is its controlling WordPress Heartbeat API option.

With just a few steps, you can control the Heartbeat API. Here is how to do it.

  • Install & Activate The Plugin (Type: LiteSpeed Cache In The Plugin Section)
  • Click on LiteSpeed Cache and then Click on Toolbox

Once you install the plugin, click on LiteSpeed Cache and then Toolbox to find the Heartbeat API option.

  • Click On Heartbeat (visible at top)
  • Turn On Frontend Heartbeat Control

You can adjust the heartbeat intervals to reduce server utilization with the help of the Frontend Heartbeat TTL option. Recommended setting 60 seconds.

  • Turn On Backend Heartbeat Control

Let Backend Heartbeat TTL as default (60 seconds)

  • Turn On Editor Heartbeat

Note: Turning on this function will affect the WordPress autosave feature negatively.

Let Backend Editor TTL as default (15 seconds)

  • Click On Save

Don’t forget to click on the Save button to save the changes you have made.

Heartbeat Control

I don’t recommend installing this plugin as it is outdated, however, I am sharing this detail just for knowledge. Only install it if it is extremely important for you to disable the heartbeat API.

Here are the settings to completely disable heartbeat API:

(2) Disabling WordPress Heartbeat API By Using A Code

You can also completely stop the heartbeat API by adding the below code in the “functions.php” file of your theme. This can be done especially if you are the only author maintaining your WordPress site and do not want to install an additional plugin.

add_action( 'init', 'stop_heartbeat', 1 );
function stop_heartbeat() {
wp_deregister_script('heartbeat');
}

7: Delete Unused Themes And Plugins

I think this should be the easiest task for you. Find out those plugins and themes which you aren’t using right now, and delete them one by one.

These unused themes and plugins give unnecessary pressure to your server, it stores preconfigured settings in your database which causes loading issues both internally (admin panel) and externally (blogs posts).

I suggest keeping less than 10 (lightweight) plugins on your site if you are using a shared hosting plan.

Currently, I am using shared hosting on one of my sites, it has more than 20 plugins right now, and doesn’t matter what I do, that site never loads quickly, it’s definitely because of those plugins.

8: Increase PHP Memory Limit (256MB)

By default memory limit for WordPress is 32 MB. It is very common to exceed this limit and get the error. plugins like WooCommerce sites, Elementor, WPML, and other systems require a 256MB memory limit.

How You To Find Memory Limit In Your WordPress Dashboard

Yes, you can find the current limit, steps are Tools>Site Health> Info>Servers.

How To Increase Memory Limit

Source: Beaverbuilder

Before proceeding, make sure to create a backup of your site.

To increase the WordPress allowed memory size for your site:

  1. Open wp-config.php , which by default is placed in the root WordPress directory.
  2. Find the following line near the end of the file:
/* That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */
  1. Just above that line, add the following line:
define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M');

Click on save changes.

9: Clear Database Junk

Wp-Optimize and  Advanced Database Cleaner are great plugins to remove database junk. A bloated database can slow down your WordPress, so, it is crucial to clean it up asap.

Advance Database Cleaner

Advanced Database Cleaner assists you to delete old drafts, post revisions, and comment spam. You can then apply it to optimize the database to fix the slow WordPress admin panel.

This WordPress plugin will help you eliminate unwanted data. Rather than flushing down all content, you can select the specific files to be eliminated.

If you publish posts more frequently, you can schedule an automatic cleanup. This plugin will also analyze metadata, scheduled tasks, and tables. Overall, great plugin.

WP-Optimize

WP-Optimize is an awesome multifunctional database management plugin. This plugin is created by the same developer as the popular backup plugin Updrafts.

You just need to click on one button to clean out database junk.

Both of these plugins are compatible with the current version and I highly recommend installing one of them if your site is not on Cloudways servers.

10: Delete Expired Transients

WooCommerce users might be aware of transients, it is a kind of cached data enabled in WordPress by the Transients API. You can use the transient to save data, but only for a while – a transient will have an end date and they can expire at any time.

Even when they expire, transients are not erased– they are either deleted when someone attempts to access the information in an expired transient or by you manually. These expired transients slow down the WordPress admin panel.

To delete the expired transients, you can either use WP-Optimize or Delete Expired Transients plugin. These plugins are a one-click solution to clear expired transients.

Qodeinteractive.com published a great article on how to manage transients.

11: Clear Plugin Notifications From The Dashboard

You may have noticed that whenever you install a plugin, a new notification appears on the dashboard. These notifications could be about upgrading the plugin, new update release date, or rating the plugin.

Clear them out, it is easy to do that, just click on the close icon or dismiss button. Also, these messages or notifications may distract us from writing posts. So, remove them from your dashboard quickly, it will instantly impact speed.

12: Shield Your WP-Admin Area

When I looked at my Wordfence live traffic, I found out that most bots were hitting my admin area (mysite.com/wp-admin), which scared me a bit.

Hiding or shifting your admin area to another URL not only enhances security but also helps to fix the slow WordPress admin panel. These bots consume server resources when they attempt to login to your site which can lower CPU.

How To Change Admin Panel URL

  • Type WPS Hide Login In the Plugins Section Search Box
  • Activate The Plugin
  • Click On Settings And Then Click On WPS Hide Login Option (Settings>WPS Hide Login)

Once you activated the plugin, go to the settings page of the plugin to set up a new login URL.

  • Enter A New URL

Now, you’ll see an old URL (something like yoursite.com/wp-login, or yoursite.com/login) change it with a new one (like yoursite.com/new-login, or yoursite.com/new-wp-login).

Note: Once you click on the Save Changes button, your new login panel will become effective. So, your old login URL will no longer work!

Enable Bot Protection In Cloudflare

If you don’t have a Cloudflare account, no need to worry, click here to see the steps you need to take to have your first Cloudflare account for free.

Here the steps of people who already have an account.

  • Log in to your Cloudflare account
  • Select Your Website
  • Click On Firewall And Turn On Bot Fight Mode

Set Up Page Rules Cloudflare

  • Click On Page Rules Under Active Subscriptions
  • Click On Create Page Rules
  • Set Up Page Rules

Set a high-security level, bypassed cache in the admin, and disable apps + performance features (i.e. Rocket Loader) from working in the admin. Also, if you have changed the login/admin panel URL by following the above steps, then use the current URL, not the older one.

  • Click On Save And Deploy Once You Finish Page Rules

Always save the settings after following the steps.

Also, there is a plugin called blackhole for bad bots. You can install it can help you blog bad bots from your website.

13: Don’t Allow Data Sharing

Some plugins ask you to allow them to collect data. This data can help the plugin to fix few bugs and optimize their plugin, but it won’t help you much because it slows down your admin panel. Next time if a plugin asks you for your permission to share data, simply, deny it.

14: Enable Hotlink Protection

I have a website in a DIY niche, and that site contains a lot of pictures. Many bloggers come to my site to download images which increases bandwidth usage and slows down the admin panel. So, I enabled hotlink protection.

here are the steps if you also wanna enable hotlink protection.

  • Log in to your Cloudflare account
  • Click on Scrape Shield
  • Turn On Hotlink Protection

15: Change Your Theme

Some themes are just too heavy. There are many lightweight alternatives available. You don’t always need a fancy theme to increase your sales. A normal lightweight theme can also do the job for you. Take the example of wpbeginner.com, their theme is ridiculously simple, still, they generate millions.

In fact, heavy themes take time to load which can affect your site’s revenue, and they consume more bandwidth which may affect the admin panel speed.

Check the size of the theme before installing, also, see the reviews, test it on the staging site first, and then apply it on your live site.

16: Delete No Traffic Posts And Pages

Deleting them actually benefit your site in terms of both speed and SEO. According to some findings, having pages and posts that don’t get any traffic may affect your SEO negatively.

I like to keep my site clean. Pages or posts that bring me no traffic are a burden for my site. But, before deleting them, I make sure I’ve given them enough time to rank (a post’s popularity generally peaks after 6 to 8 months in Google).

17: Fix Your Internet Connection

it’s funny but this could also be the reason behind your slow WordPress admin panel. To find whether it is the fault of the internet provider or not, just open some websites and see how fast they are loading.

If those sites are also taking time to load, then contact your internet provider and ask them to speed up your internet.

Wrapping Things Up

A slow WordPress admin panel hurts badly when we are in the mood to write a post. WordPress admin panel becomes slow generally because of installing too many plugins. Also, a bad host plays the biggest part in it. To fix it, you need to clear plugins that are not crucial for your site and move your site to a better host like Cloudways.

I hope this post helped you.

Thanks For Reading!

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Sumit

Sumit is a regular contributor to Hostinggrow.com. He has 6 years of experience in blogging, and he loves football, his favorite player is - Lionel Messi (GOAT), but he has no hate for Ronaldo.

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