Help with TTFB

Thanks for having such a great forum and for all the tips that have helped me get this far solo.

I’m trying to get my TTFB lowered as much as possible however I seem to have hit a wall.

I’ve tried optimizing what I can using the suggestions from Yslow and Pagespeed, and have even turned on the pagespeed option from my shared host (dreamhost), all of which have helped the overall load time, # of HTTP requests and size of download.

With all of those enhancements, however, my site seems to be running really slowly given its size.

Here are the test results:

I run wordpress and in trying to figure exactly why the TTFB is as slow as it is I’ve asked my webhost (DH) and they’ve said perhaps it is coming from Procwatch (which would only be an issue i suppose if i were running multiple sites at once that were all getting traffic - which is definitely not the case).

They then suggested plugins as perhaps contributing to the slowdown. To try and figure that out, I’ve downloaded and run the P3 Plugin Profiler which has given me the following results:

of plugins: 24

site load time: 2.9667s
Visits: 15
Number of Plugin Function Calls: 6,966 calls avg.
Memory Usage: 58.27 MB avg.
MySQL Queries: 59 queries avg.

I’ve setup and run a separate test site, using only the basic wordpress installation. With nothing else running except the basic wordpress theme I get:
Site Load Time 0.1586 seconds avg.
Visits: 5
Number of Plugin Function Calls: 28 calls avg.
Memory Usage: 19.60 MB avg.
MySQL Queries: 13 queries avg.

Even so, my TTFB for were unimpressive considering the bare site (

With one of the main plugins (Wishlist Member) active, I got a real lag in TTFB

After Wishlist Member the P3 Plugin Profiler shows the following:
Site Load Time 1.8438 seconds avg.
Visits: 5
Number of Plugin Function Calls: 336 calls avg.
Memory Usage: 29.35 MB avg.
MySQL Queries: 58 queries avg

Any help on trying to figure out a way to speed things up on TTFB would be greatly appreciated. Since certain plugins (such as WLM) have to stay, am I doomed to a slow site? (PS Caching is not an option with Wishlist Member because it gets super cranky and unstable - this was confirmed by plugin author as well)

You’re sort of in a tough position because your performance is most likely a function of the database performance and the number of queries from the plugins and you are on shared hosting (and from personal experience, Dreamhost’s mysql performance isn’t so hot).

Page caching may not be an option but have you tried doing something a little lower level and doing database query caching? I know W3TC can do it and I’d be surprised if other plugins didn’t also. You might be able to get rid of some of the pain that way.

If that doesn’t work, you MIGHT be able to sidestep the problem a bit and try running wordpress on sqllite but I wouldn’t recommend it if you get a lot of traffic.

Most real fixes are going to involve $$ and switching hosting if you can’t eliminate a lot of the existing plugins.

Thanks Patrick. I have a plugin called WP-database manager - would that conflict with W3TC database query caching? If the issue is to spend $$, what would be the next reasonable step - what kind of hosting would I need in order to fix the MySql drag?

You could look at a VPS that gives you more control over the software stack and resources or possibly try WP Engine (they target fast serving for Wordpress specifically).

Sorry, I don’t know if the plugins would conflict.

I just used this test, my website uploads fast, but my WordPress blog (Hosted on DreamHost) loads 10 seconds, 8 of which are for that First Time To Byte time.

I just moved to VPS (for website not database). No change.

Would it help to move database to VPS or is this a waste of time and money.

Only have 9 plugins. I did a test, deactivating all of them. Reran, and 10 seconds dropped to 3.2 - there is one thing, this blog/javascript/loading.gif - what is this, can I remove it?

Will now put back in plugins until I find the culprit.

Here is more data. I disabled all of my 9 plugins, got 3-4 seconds pageload.

Went one by one, found the culprit: Share and Follow - added 10 seconds of time.

Anyone have a fast social networking plugin for wordpress they can recommend?

Hi Patrick,

So it has been a while since my first round of performance optimizing activities and while our site’s traffic has grown, the performance has started to degrade. Recently I switched the site (wordpress) over to a VPS (still with dreamhost) and to my amazement the performance seemed to get worse - i.e the site is now loading slower than it did when it was on shared hosting. The memory usage meter is showing that CPU load is low and memory usage is well below the threshold value so I am at a loss as to how explain the degradation in performance and more importantly how to bring the load times down substantially?


Did you also move to a VPS for the database? If I remember correctly, Dreamhost has those separately. The database is usually the big constraint for Wordpress.

Thanks for the suggestion - I currently don’t have a VPS for the database. I’ll look into whether getting a VPS for the database will help with the performance of the site, especially under growing traffic. Thanks for all your help!