Originally published at: http://www.sitepoint.com/tuning-wordpress-to-handle-higher-amounts-of-traffic/
Performance tuning used to be reserved for high-end websites, however in a world where websites are the first impressions customers have of a company, it is vital to ensure that you and your customers have an efficient website.
At SitePoint, we regularly cover web performance, including topics such as How to Speed Up Your WordPress Site and the Perception of Performance. But, if you still don’t think that speed matters, an article from KISSmetrics provides multiple figures on how latency on websites leads to lost conversions.
What Affects Performance
Before going into the ways you can improve your WordPress site performance, it is important to understand the factors which impact the performance of typical WordPress websites. Some of the biggest areas according to the official WordPress Codex include:
Hosting: This is a topic which can span pages, but in a nutshell for anything mission critical, you should be using a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated box at the least. While shared hosting is dirt cheap, performance often is lacklustre because you’re sharing resources with hundreds (if not thousands) of users. On VPS and dedicated machines, resources are dedicated meaning you are guaranteed what the host promises.
Number of servers: For highly trafficked sites, you will need multiple servers to spread the load rather than having a single server bear the brunt of your visitors. Load balancing can be a complex topic, but in a nutshell, you need to keep in mind that for high traffic settings, multiple lower end machines is better than having a single high end box.
Hardware performance: Using Solid State Drives (SSDs) and high performance servers can greatly boost your site’s performance. If you don’t want to pay for a SSD, purchasing extra RAM for your server is a more affordable option to boost performance.