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Why is my WP "PL dashboard" so slow ?

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I just can't figure out why my WP backend si so slow, for the PL part ("PL dashboard", Site options, Page options...).

This issue was alrealdy raised in forums (e.g. : http://www.pagelines.com/forum/topic/24964-admin-panel-is-slow/), but I was asked to create a new topic. Anyway, I made so many tests with so many settings I'm a bit lost atm, and it's probably better to start from scratch and to stick to my own situation.

1. My configuration at this very moment is :

WP 3.5.1
Pagelines 2.4
All plugins deactivated except Askimet and PL sections
Pagelines debug mode enabled : http://www.erwanlescop.fr/?pldebug=1
Shared hosted server (max 80 Mb for PHP RAM) + Cloudflare CDN & WCO enabled
Memory limit in wp-config : define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M')
Php info : http://www.erwanlescop.fr/info.php

2. As a result :

Page load time : 1.32 s --> http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/#!/dUf8tMKpp/http://www.erwanlescop.fr

Time from WP frontend to backend : slow, IMO --> video http://screencast.com/t/cNEjyqGs2B
Time from "WP dashboard" to "PL dashboard" : very slow, IMO --> video http://screencast.com/t/V6ZvzHxgXBaT
Time from "PL dashboard" to "Site options" : very very slow IMO --> video http://screencast.com/t/EM8N9upS
Time from "Site options" to "Page options" : VERY VERY VERY slow IMO --> video http://screencast.com/t/5ay6spUas

These measurements are not very different with other browsers + I have a pretty good internet connection bandwidth (donwload : 8 MB) + made with nothing else opened than Firefox on my computer. And they are worse with something like twelve well know and reliable plugins activated such as Jetpack or Disqus (whilst I thought for a while that THIS was the problem, versus PL only with no plugins).

Hence :

1. Any explanation ? Do I miss something obvious... ?

2. My under development blog is and will remain low trafficked : could you confirm me it IS suppposed to be enough for Pagelines (I read so many many different, contradictory assumptions pertaining RAM requirements in the forums) ?

Many many thanks in advance.

Best regards.


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First of all, thank you very much for the awesome information you have provided.


Can you perform one more test for us and do a tracert to your server please.

Please search our forums, before posting!

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I am at a bit of a loss as to what is causing the poor load times for the dashboard, let me speak to one of our developers who has a lot more knowledge with performance and I will reply here when I have more information for you.

Please search our forums, before posting!

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PHP memory does not necessarily speed up PHP rendering time, a lot of factors are involved.

You could have a lot of sites all sharing the same server all running intensive PHP applications.

The server could be not optimized.

It could be the SQL server thats choking and PHP is just waiting all the time.


If you provide some more info we might be able to help, but there is no magic cure for speeding PHP up, 32 gigs of ram wouldn't speed it up if the SQL server is bogged down.


What sort of server is it? Shared/VPS/Dedicated


How much ram what sort of cpu is it?

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Thanks Simon for throwing new light on my knowledge pertaining to performance and the numerous factors that can affect PHP rendering time.

1. I must admit that, whatever the issues at stake in my current situation, I do not understand (maybe like Danny if I understood him correctly ?) why my frontend is really fast, the "core WP" dashboard - backend as well, and the "PL dashboard" is so slow at the same time.

Does it mean Pagelines administration features have per se specific resource consumption ?

2. You make it very clear that huge RAM is not everything. Nonetheless, could you at least confirm to me that 64 MB is not a priori a crippling handicap for a Pagelines low trafficked site, with limited PHP scripts / HTTP requests called ? Or it does'nt even make sense for you  to answer yes / no (if that is the case, wrong answers in this forum are countless) ?

3. You ask me for additional info. It seems to me I already provided some  :


  • Shared hosted server (max 80 Mb for PHP RAM) + Cloudflare CDN & WCO enabled
  • Memory limit in wp-config : define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M')
  • Php info : http://www.erwanlescop.fr/info.php

Unfortunately, I am unable to provide you the CPU : it's beyond my abilities. Is it worth asking my ISP ?

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1. The frontend is designed to be faster, thats the whole point. Options are cached and so the page loads fast. The backend is slower because all options are loaded, plus the custon pagelines admin area is rendered, the backend is not going to slow down the frontpage of the site.


2. Not sure what you mean here, guess there is a translation breakdown somewhere, but basically according to your phpinfo file your php process has a hard limit of 90M and then in your wp-config.php you are setting a maximum of 64M whats the point in that? Set it to 90M.


3. I have absolutely no idea what WCO is.

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1. I'm feeling kind of stupid, my question in retrospect seems childish.


The frontend is designed to be faster, thats the whole point.


Received loud and clear.

2. Sorry for my school-level / too "academic" English... I try to rephrase.


You told me:

there is no magic cure for speeding PHP up, 32 gigs of ram wouldn't speed it up if the SQL server is bogged down.

Which I fully understand.

Nonetheless / however: there are WP RAM requirements. And Pagelines RAM requirements too: 32MB in your documentation (http://support.pagelines.me/docs/getting-started/requirements/), usually 64 MB or 128 MB recommended in this PL forum. Basically, my question is: for a low trafficked site with limited features, are 64 MB enough ? Or you can't answer because too many factors are involved ?

After reading many topics here, I understood that 64 MB was enough + the value should be a multiple of 8 MB (hence: 90 MB is not correct):  that's why I set my wp-config memory limit this way.

I followed your recommandation and set it to 90 MB. Unfortunately, no change at all pertaining to frontend and backend speed.

3. WCO = Web Content Optimization (CloudFlare : http://www.cloudflare.com/features-optimizer - Akamai : http://www.akamai.com/html/about/press/releases/2011/press_011811.html)

Additional info

4. I made new measurements of my backend loading time with browsers: actually, using Chrome vs. Firefox improve them a little bit (Javascript performance ?).

5. I asked a friend of mine with the same web hosting provider (1&1: n°1 in Europe, n°4 in the USA), but with a dedicated server and 128 MB of RAM, to install Pagelines framework. The backend performance is better, but there is only a slight difference.

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The PHP memory requirement is unique for almost every user, due to factors such as PHP version and amount of plugins installed. On testing, having roughly between 32mb to 45mb is more than enough. However, some users do have a vast number of plugins installed, the most we have enountered was 234 plugins. Which in my opinion, is simply insane, there shouldn't be any real need to have more than 10-20 plugins installed.


Also, in the past I have used 1and1 and my experience with them was extremely poor, performance was poor and even simple tasks such as creating a database become cumbersome. At the time, I was using a fairly light Wordpress and Joomla theme, so the performance was tolerant. However, I then switched to another host which the name escapes me but the difference in performance was immense. I have never used 1and1 again.


I wouldn't be surprised that your backend performance issue is related to your host 1and1.

Please search our forums, before posting!

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Hi Danny and Simon,


As for PHP memory requirements, Danny's answer is perfectly clear.

Keeping in mind so many factors are involved in fronted as well as backend performance (both of you provided really valuable pieces of information, grateful thanks !), my last question is: does PHP RAM level have a more determining role for PL backend vs. frontend performance, or once again this formulation does not allow to draw an overall conclusion?

Finally, may I suggest you to complete Simon's topic "The quest for speed" http://www.pagelines.com/forum/topic/25369-the-quest-for-speed/ by summarizing the PHP RAM points raised here and your answers? It would be really useful for many many PL users IMO.

As for my 1&1 hosting: I of course know they are widely criticised, especially for their shared hosting. To some extent, it's the unavoidable price of success, and I really think they do not deserve such an ill repute among devs / advanced users. Many assertions on the web about them are quite simply untrue or out of date. Anyhow, I will try another provider and will keep you informed.

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To answer your last question, PHP memory resources don't distinguish between frontend and backend processes.  It simply provides the resources to handle any PHP functionality of your site.  Keeping this in mind, we must consider that most functions of WordPress as well as PageLines, every plugin, section or process usually has a PHP process.  This is why it's important to have more than a sufficient volume of resources available in the form of PHP memory.


Pingdom.com has an amazing service (free) to let you know if your site goes down for any reason.  I'd recommend using it.  Should you find downtime, you know you'll have to react and of course, plan a new strategy.


I went through much grief in 2011 with my site crashing frequently due to insufficient memory. It wasn't a technical issue, but one in which the pairing of PageLines and WordPress made my site so much more popular that too many visitors were draining VPS resources. Eventually, I discovered that moving to a dedicated server wasn't as expensive as previously thought and now, my site runs as smoothly as possible without any memory issues. Now if I could only get my laptop to be as cooperative! ;-)

Former PageLines Moderator, Food Expert and Raconteur

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