WordCamp Europe 2014 notes - 2.3: The Next Generation Hosting Stack

I’m at WordCamp Europe in Sofia - taking rough notes on some of the talks

Mark Jaquith (@markjaquith) http://2014.europe.wordcamp.org/session/mark-jaquith/

  • Why is performance important?
    • It’s not about overall speed - it’s about the frustration of being interrupted
    • Everyone hates Lag
  • WP has a bad rep for speed
    • no matter what wp core do, WP DB’s are getting bigger, lots of functionality, lots of plugins
  • WP is dynamic - everything is built on the fly
    • Why don’t we just generate static files? - No persistent caching in core. Pages are so dynamic: search results etc. Only a small number of pages can be cached
  • For the purposes of this talk: speed = speed of download of just the html page (not css or other assets)
  • 3+ seconds = EMERGENCY
  • 1-3 seconds = Slow
  • 100-250ms = fast
  • <100ms = instant
  • Many hosts don’t help with static caching
  • Virtual server hosting - what to look for
    • Are they going to be around for a while?
    • What’s their raw performance - lots of people have done hardcore speed tests - easily googleable
    • Value for money
    • Tool support - provisioning scripts, auto backup
    • Recommended: Linode, Digital Ocean

Web Server

  • “Nginx is the best thing to happen to web servers ever”
  • Apache approach - php is baked in. That means there’s an overhead for each request
  • Nginx approach - can’t have php baked in. PHP-FPM runs php
  • PHP 5.5 has significant performance improvements over previous versions
  • HHVM - facebook project: transcodes php into machine code on the fly, with caching = crazy fast
    • Might not be production stable - need monitoring to catch when it crashes


  • MySQL is not the only option: MariaDB, Percona
  • HyperDB - project for providing a layer to manage lots of database instances


Page caching:

  • Questions - who, what, how long. Answers: Anonymous???, front of site, minutes, maybe hours???.
  • Nginx has a cache
  • Varnish is another option, but is another moving part
  • Plugins are tightly integrated with WP, but run in php so are much slower

Object caching:

  • Recommend using Redis (Pantheon uses it)
  • Memcached - used to be a recommendation. Restarting flushes the data - can cause massive spikes in load
  • Mark’s wrappers:
    • TLC Tranients http://bitly/tlc-transients
    • Fragment caching: http://bitly/fragment-cache

The next generation stack

The next generation WordPress hosting stack

  • Audience qu Hyper db - works with MariaDB & Percona?
    • AFAIK yes
  • My qu - can you make core use Redis for your object cache or is that just for your own caching
    • Yes - you configure an object cache and core will use it to cache posts, taxonomies, a bunch of other things.
  • Audience qu: What do you use for performance monitoring
    • NewRelic: very expensive, but gives you amazing insights