Up to now, almost 34 percent of all websites run on WordPress. Nevertheless WordPress is often still seen as a small content management system (CMS). But WordPress has no reason to shy away. Especially not when it comes to high-performance. What important contribution WordPress can make, we willl show you in the following article.
WordPress & High-Performance - a few examples
The following megastars all rely on WordPress as their website CMS. It should be clear that WordPress sites of stars such as Katy Perry or Justin Timberlake have to handle constantly high traffic, but also peak visitor loads.
How your magazine survives 75,000 views per minute
Difference between calls and visitors
Before I reveal the secret of how your website can handle an extremely large number of visits, I would first like to explain the relationship between visits and visits. A visitor can of course call up several subpages. The amount of time the user spends between clicks is the most important metric to establish a relationship between visitors and views.
If 900 visitors click on an site on average every three seconds, we have 300 views per second.
As an important rule of thumb, the number of visitors is generally at least twice as high as the number of views.
WordPress & High-Performance - Caching as a wonder weapon
Our caching is not a separate Varnish server, which is inconveniently connected upstream, but a technology that is integrated on the server side by default.
1000 times calls and the processor gets bored
Due to the server-side caching, the requests are delivered directly without even contacting the processor and the database. In our STARTER plan , for example, 75,000 calls can be answered within one minute by default. Especially for visitor-intensive blog, magazine and company sites, WordPress is therefore a very good system.
This is how we often experienced it in high-performance times, such as after mentioning customersites in a TV show or during online marketing campaigns: even though the processor was upgraded in advance, it ended up getting bored because the caching had taken over the delivery.
High-performance special case - WooCommerce
However, there is one important limitation: The statement refers to static sites , which can be stored in the cache.
Dynamic requests can be poorly cached
For dynamic requests, such as filling out contact forms or checkout processes in the shopping cart, caching is not allowed.
An example of dynamic content are product pages that change the prices in the shopping cart depending on the user's action. Here it would be fatal if the price in the shopping cart or even at the checkout would not adjust and the user is permanently displayed the cached price.
Such dynamic sites are therefore excluded by default in our caching to ensure proper operation. Simultaneous visitors in a shopping cart therefore usually hit the processor directly.
Likewise, communities and membershipsites with forums and many logged-in visitors are difficult to cache. Here there is a serious need for action in terms of hardware resources.
The chip shop as our CTO's favourite metaphor
Without caching, the only thing that helps is a higher number of CPU cores, which can then answer a high number of simultaneous visitor requests. Our CTO Marcel always uses the chip shop as a metaphor to explain the principle to non-technical people:
Each CPU core stands for a worker at the french fry stand. The more people fry at the same time (cores are available), the more fries can be sold (user requests can be answered).
By the way, this does not apply to the speed at which people work. For this, the CPU clock frequency would have to be increased. This is the case with our new tariffs from PRO plan , where the "workers" (processors) are up to 30 percent faster.
Approximately 600 visitors at the same time in the shopping cart as maximum
With two days notice, we can manually upgrade tariffs to 24 cores and 64GB RAM for 24 hours. This is especially popular with many startups that have competed on the The Lion's Den want to play it safe.
For the big WooCommerce shop there is then our biggest High-Performance plan "Business XXL" with 12 vCores and 32GB RAM. Here can be up to 600,000 cached visitors per minute or up to 600 visitors per second in the shopping cart.
Load balancing as the next step
If more than 600 visitors per second need to be processed, load balancing is the next step. A load balancer is connected in front of the dedicated servers, which distributes the visitor requests to the dedicated servers.
In this way, hardware resources can be scaled not only on the same server, but also across server boundaries. This is a procedure that has been established for decades and is very well suited for directing high traffic into sensible paths without downtime.
Conclusion: WordPress & High-Performance go together very well already for a long time
Anyone who still classifies WordPress as a CMS for small sites should urgently rethink this. WordPress has long since established itself as a CMS for high-performancesites and is used here in a variety of ways. Caching in particular helps WordPress to reach true heights here.
Even large online shops with a constantly high flow of visitors can be handled reliably with the appropriate hosting. In countries such as the USA this has long since ceased to be a secret. I hope that I could show you in this article that we can also trust our favorite CMS more in Europe.
How have you seen WordPress so far? Have you built any high traffic sites ? I'm looking forward to your comments!