Tux Tweaks Performance Enhancements

June 7, 2010 by
Filed under: General, news, web development 

I spent a few hours this past weekend working on some performance optimization for the site. This site is run on the WordPress blogging software which has tons of great plugins available to add functionality. The downside to this is that most plugins tend to slow the website performance slightly. The exceptions to this are the plugins that are written specifically to speed up WordPress site performance.

Perhaps the best know plugins for improving WordPress site performance are WP Cache and WP Super Cache. Due to the nature of Open Source Software, these two plugins are not mutually exclusive. WP Cache introduced caching ability to WordPress. WP Super Cache built upon the success (and code) of the WP Cache plugin and added enhancements to further improve performance. I've been running the WP Super Cache plugin on this website for the past year.

Now for the recent performance enhancements. Starting this past weekend, I'm no longer running WP Super Cache. I have replaced that plugin with W3 Total Cache. "Replace" is probably not the correct word here. Just like the way WP Super Cache built on the code from WP Cache, W3 Total Cache has built upon the code of WP Super Cache and added further enhancements. Correction: W3 Total Cache is independent (not forked) from WP Super Cache. It has similar caching functionality along with enhancements to further improve your site performance.

Perhaps the biggest improvement that W3 Total Cache offers for smaller sites is the ability to minify and consolidate Javascript and CSS files. Minification consists of eliminating all the comments and spacing, line breaks, etc., that make the code easily readable for humans. All those extra bits of information use up precious bandwidth when being fed over the internet. So the Minify function strips all of that extra stuff out and only feeds the information required to make the code execute. The plugin also allows you to consolidate the various Javascript files (local only) and put the calls near the bottom of your web page source code. This is done so that the Javascript execution doesn't delay the loading of other page elements.

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Is the site faster?

In my observation, the website feels noticeably faster. If you're one of my regular visitors, what do you think? Is the site faster?


2 Responses to “Tux Tweaks Performance Enhancements”

  1. Sorry, while I appreciate the mention, I have to offer a clarification. As you correctly stated, WP Super Cache was a continuation of the WP Cache project, while W3 Total Cache is completely independent of any other plugin in existence. There is no code in common and a completely different objective for the projects.

    • Linerd says:

      Thanks for the correction. I guess I've read too much documentation and got my wires crossed somewhere. Somewhere I had gotten the impression that your plugin was WP Super Cache+. I'll make a correction to the post.

      In some ways the plugin seems a little more complex to set up than WP Super Cache, but in other ways it's easier. The added complexity I think is due to the additional functionality. For basic cache setup, I think it's actually easier than WP Super Cache. Great job on the plugin. My site really does seem much more responsive.

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