19 Ways To Fix A Slow WooCommerce Admin Panel (Dashboard): A Complete Guide To Making Your WooCommerce Backend Load Fast

Is your WooCommerce admin panel slow?

A slow WooCommerce dashboard can usually be fixed by cleaning your database with WP-Optimize, disabling WordPress heartbeat inside the admin, and eliminating high CPU plugins. It could also be because you have “object cache” enabled in W3 Total Cache, or that your cache plugin isn’t configured optimally.

Is my website WooCommerce? No, but my developer and I have optimized multiple WooCommerce sites to load 3x faster. I listed the most common solutions for fixing a slow WooCommerce dashboard, as well as solutions from WordPress-related Facebook Groups.

Slow-WooCommerce-Admin-Panel

 

1. Clean Your Database With WP-Optimize

Nothing slows down your admin panel like a bloated database. Use WP-Optimize or WP Rocket to schedule a database cleanup every 1-2 weeks. This will optimize database tables and delete transients, post revisions, autosaves, pingbacks, trackbacks, and other things that cause bloat in your database. Of course, you should always take a backup before doing this.

WP-Optimize plugin

WP-Optimize Clean Database

 

2. Clear Customer Sessions

As explained in this article, the wp-options table can grow too fast due to ineffective cron jobs, or bots crawling your site and creating sessions on the fly. The first step is the clear customer sessions in your Status settings. The next step (see the next section) is to disable wp-cron jobs.

Clear Customer Sessions

 

3. Disable WP-Cron

The wp-cron is loaded on every page load and schedules automated tasks like publishing scheduled posts, checking for theme and plugin updates, and sending email notifications. Instead of running it on every page load, you can schedule it to run every 90 minutes or so.

Step 1: Disable WP Cron Jobs

Add the code to wp-config.php, before where it says “That’s all, step editing! Happy blogging.”

define('DISABLE_WP_CRON', true);

Step 2: Replace With A Real Cron Job
You still need wp-cron (eg. checking for theme/plugin updates), just not on every page load. Each host has their own instructions for this, here is SiteGround’s tutorial. You can set the cron job to run every 90 minutes, or increase it even more if you don’t have lots of scheduled tasks.

 

4. Disable The WordPress Heartbeat API

The WordPress heartbeat API shows real-time plugin notifications, and when other users are editing a post. 99% of websites don’t need this and it generates a request every 15-60 seconds while your admin panel is open. It’s best to disable the heartbeat API using the Heartbeat Control plugin, or at least limit it to 60 seconds. Doing this will also save on server resources.

Heartbeat-Control-Plugin

 

5. Disable “Object Cache” In W3 Total Cache

If you recently configured W3 Total Cache, disable “object cache” in the General settings. This often makes your WordPress admin panel slow and can be an easy fix. Though I recommend a better cache plugin like WP Rocket, you can read my W3 Total Cache configuration guide (with Cloudflare + CDNs) since the wrong settings can slow down your WordPress dashboard.

W3 Total Cache Object Cache

 

6. Enable Redis Object Cache

Object cache is specifically good for increasing the performance of your database, which is where Redis comes into play. However, only some hosts support it (a2 Hosting, Kinsta, Cloudways, Pantheon). Before using the Redis Object Cache plugin, you need to check whether your host supports it. Often, it is only available on managed hosting plans, not shared.

Redis Object Cache Plugin

If your host supports it, install the plugin, go to the settings, and click “Enable Object Cache.” Still, get in touch with your host, as they may have a different way of enabling object cache.

 

7. Use A Better Cache Plugin

These all have a huge impact on the speed of your WooCommerce admin panel and load times:

  • If you’re using a cache plugin
  • Which cache plugin you’re using
  • Whether the settings are configured optimally

WP Rocket was rated the #1 cache plugin in multiple Facebook polls and comes with many features most cache plugins don’t. This means would need to install about 6 extra plugins to use these features, when WP Rocket has them built-in. This not only gives you better results in GTmetrix/Pingdom, but it also reduces the amount of plugins needed on your site. If you have $49, go with WP Rocket, otherwise I recommend Swift Performance or WP Fastest Cache.

  • Database cleanup (built-in to WP Rocket, or use WP-Optimize)
  • Heartbeat control (built-in to WP Rocket, or use Heartbeat Control)
  • Lazy load images/videos (built-in to WP Rocket, or use WP YouTube Lyte)
  • Host Google Analytics locally (built-in to WP Rocket, or use CAOS For Analytics)
  • Optimize Google Fonts (built-in to WP Rocket, or use CAOS For Fonts, or SHGF)
  • Integration with Cloudflare + other CDNs (built-in to WP Rocket, or use CDN Enabler)

2016 best cache plugin poll

2019 cache plugin poll

Swift vs WP Rocket

2016 cache plugin poll

Best cache plugins 2018 poll

wp rocket vs w3 totla cache

WP-Rocket-Features

 

8. Disable CDNs Within The WP Admin

If you’re using Cloudflare’s CDN, and you should be, make sure you’re not caching the WordPress admin area. To do this, go to your page rules settings and create the following rule:

  • examplewebsite.com/wp-admin*
  • cache level: bypass
  • disable performance
  • disable railgun
  • security level: high
  • browser integrity check: on

WP-Admin-Page-Rule

Cloudflare says:

“To increase the security of the admin section, I’ve set the Security Level to High. This controls how high a client Threat Score must be for a client will encounter a challenge page. Threat Scores are derived from our IP Reputation database and assigned to clients that attempt to connect to a resource on your domain.

To ensure smooth operations within my admin pages, I’ve set the Cache Level to Bypass so Cloudflare will not cache any of the content within this section. I’ve also disabled any Apps and Performance settings that may conflict with some of the unique functionality of my admin pages.”

 

9. Avoid EIG Hosting

It is well-known in Facebook Groups that EIG brands are bad. The same company owns Bluehost, HostGator, Site5, iPage, HostMonster, A Small Orange, and over 60 different hosting companies. You should avoid these at all costs – they are infamous for having shareholders to please, and cut costs by packing too many people on the same server (increasing your load times), running outdated PHP versions, using poor speed technology, and terrible support.

List-Of-EIG-Brands

Like I said, this is well-known in Facebook Groups:

Bluehost-EIG-Feedback

Cloudways and Kinsta are usually the top 4 rated in Facebook polls.

 

10. Avoid High CPU Plugins

All 3 things can affect the speed of your WooCommerce admin panel:

  • How many plugins you’re running
  • Whether you have deactivate plugins
  • Whether those plugins are coded well (only use lightweight plugins!)

High CPU plugins usually include social share, statistic, calendar, page builders, chat, and plugins that run ongoing scans/processes or appear multiple times in GTmetrix.

  1. AddThis
  2. AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
  3. All-In-One Event Calendar
  4. Backup Buddy
  5. Beaver Builder
  6. Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
  7. Broken Link Checker
  8. Constant Contact for WordPress
  9. Contact Form 7
  10. Contextual Related Posts
  11. Digi Auto Links
  12. Disqus Comment System
  13. Divi Builder
  14. Elementor
  15. View Full List Of 65 Slow Plugins

You can also find slow loading plugins in your GTmetrix Waterfall chart. If they appear multiple times, take a long time to load, or generate multiples requests, look for an alternative plugin.

Slow WordPress Plugin

Or use Query Monitor (check the “queries by components” tab):

Query Monitor Slow Plugins

Do you really need all those plugins?

Too many WooCommerce plugins

 

11. Upgrade To PHP 7.4

Higher PHP versions can easily make your site 2-3x faster. Hosting companies won’t upgrade you to the latest version as you may be running incompatible plugins that are not maintained.

Step 1: See which PHP version you’re currently on in the WooCommerce server environment:

WooCommerce PHP Version

Step 2: Upgrade to PHP 7+ (I use PHP 7.4) in your hosting account.

PHP-7.4

Step 3: Test your website for errors. If you see any, revert to an earlier PHP version, or check which plugins aren’t compatible and try to find alternative plugins that are maintained better.

 

12. Remove Bloat With Clearfy

By “bloat” I’m referring to things you can do with the Clearfy plugin, like remove the RSD link, wlwmainfest link, shortlinks, dashicons, limit post revisions, the heartbeat API, and disable autosaves. The Clearfy plugin has other features, but removing bloat is it’s primary purpose.

Clearfy Performance Settings

Hide SEO Bloast: if you’re using Yoast, install the Hide SEO Bloat plugin which removes ads, notifications from Yoast, and all the bloat that most people don’t want to see in Yoast’s plugin.

Hide SEO Bloat Plugin

Disable Unused Widgets – use the Widget Disable plugin to delete all unused widgets.

 

 

13. Delete Unused Themes + Plugins

Unused themes leave things in your database which will make your admin panel slow.

Unused plugins do the same thing, and remember to delete all plugins you really don’t need.

Delete-Unused-WordPress-Themes

 

14. Increase Memory Limit When Using WPML

If you’re running WPML, they require you to increase your memory limit of at least 128MB while 256MB is recommended, otherwise you might see a fatal error that your memory is low. WooCommerce alone may also cause memory limit issues, and they too recommend 256MB.

Step 1: Edit your wp-config.php file.

Step 2: Add the code before the line that says, “Happy Blogging”.

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M');

 

15. Consider The Perfmatters Plugin By Kinsta

Kinsta’s perfmatters plugin lets you disable WooCommerce scripts, styles, cart fragments, and unused widgets in the admin panel. It also lets you disable scripts (plugins) from loading on specific pages. For example, I don’t need my rich snippets or Thirsty Affiliates plugin loading on my homepage, so I can disable them there. The plugin is $25/year but has a ton of features that can make your website and dashboard faster: it’s basically like the Clearfy plugin on steroids.

perfmatters woocommerce optimization

perfmatters script manager

Alternative Ways To Disable Scripts, Styles, And Cart Fragments:

 

16. Avoid External Resources

I’m talking about:

  • Gravatars
  • Google Fonts
  • Google Maps
  • Google AdSense
  • Many social sharing plugins
  • Plugins that connect to Facebook/Twitter
  • Plugins that connect to other external resources

External resources generate extra requests and can be found in your Pingdom report, or GTmetirx Waterfall tab. Most times, these are generated by plugins. If you absolutely have to use a plugin that generates external resources, you should at least prefetch the domains of those external resources (which you can do in WP Rocket, perfmatters, or through code).

Cache-Gravatar-Images

 

17. Check Your Server Response Times

You can find your server response time in Bitcatcha:

Bitcatcha Server Speed Report

Or Google PageSpeed Insights:

Reduce Server Response Time

Hosting is the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide and greatly affects the speed of your WooCommerce admin panel. If your server response time is low, and you’re using a cheap host like GoDaddy or EIG, reconsider your hosting since WooCommerce sites often require more plugins/resources (the main ones are SiteGround, Cloudways, Kinsta, and WP Engine).

 

18. Identify The Problem With Query Monitor

It requires a bit of technical knowledge, but Query Monitor is great for finding which elements take longest to load: plugins, scripts,

Step 1: Install Query Monitor.

Query Monitor Plugin

Step 2: Go to any page on your website and located the Query Monitor dropdown.

Query Monitor Dropdown

Step 3: Go to “Queries By Component” to see your slowest loading plugins:

Queries-By-Component

Step 4: See your slowest loading scripts:

WooCommerce Scripts

To disable WooCommerce scripts, add this to functions.php, or here are other other solutions.

You may also see cart fragments take a long time to load:

WooCommerce Cart Fragments

To disable cart fragments, add this to funtions.php:

Step 5: See your slowest loading styles:

WooCommerce styles in query monitor

Disable all WooCommerce stylesheets:

Disable specific stylesheets:

If you disabled specific stylesheets, you will need to add your own:

Another alternative is to only load the CSS styles and Javascripts on WooCommerce product and shop pages, by dequeuing them on all of your other pages. Here is the code from Github:

Query Monitor can help you find other issues too. If you’re not comfortable using it, it’s worth hiring a developer who has the technical background to identify potential issues, and make optimizations. I’ve been working with Pronaya (bdkamol) since 2011 and he has a perfect 5 star review on his Freelancer profile (see portfolio). He can usually make sites load 3x faster.

Pronaya-Kumar-S-Reviews

 

19. Switch To Faster Hosting That Can Support WooCommerce

Hosting recommendations are usually garbage.

Join the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group to get unbiased feedback. Most members (myself too) swear by Cloudways WordPress Hosting. Specifically DigitalOcean / Vultr High Frequency.

Yes, it’s a little more expensive at $10-$13/month, but we’re talking about speed here – not being cheap. With Cloudways, you have a choice of using DigitalOcean, Vultr High Frequency, Google Cloud, AWS, or Linode. These are worlds faster than shared hosting and can handle resource-intensive tasks much better (Elementor, Beaver, Divi, WooCommerce, AdSense, etc).

Cloudways makes it easy to test them out and see the difference in your load times: they do free migrations, monthly pricing, a Migrator plugin, and a promo code to save money: OMM25

Here’s what happened when I moved:

SiteGround vs Cloudways

GTmetrix tests are always different, but even posts with a huge page 2.70MB page size and 96 requests can often load in under 2s. I’ll also take a 148ms time to first byte any day of the week. That post has 70+ images, 480 comments (showing Gravatars), Font Awesome, and Elementor.

OMM-TTFB

The evidence is there:

Cloudways Response TimesCloudways-Migration-Result
Cloudways Google PageSpeed
WP Engine To Cloudways
DigitalOcean Pingdom Report
Hosting-Recommendation
Moving-From-WPX
SiteGround-Alternatives
Preferred-Web-Hosting
UntitledWPEngine-To-Cloudways
Godaddy DigitalOcean Migration
Cloudways Pingdom Load Times
Cloudways Pingdom Report
Elementor-Hosting
Web-Hosting-France
SiteGround-Alternative
VPS-Cloud-Hosting

 
This was a simple Pingdom test to measure load times of 16 WordPress hosts. I signed up for popular hosting companies then installed the same Astra Starter Site on each of them while measuring load times in Pingdom for 1 week at 30 minute check intervals. Some domains are still live (cwdoserver.com is hosted on a $10/month Cloudways DO plan and stgrndserver.com is hosted on SiteGround GrowBig). I cancelled most of them because it was getting expensive. Even when browsing through their pages or running your own tests, you can see the difference.

WordPress-Hosting-2020-Pingdom-Test

Hosting Companies You Should Avoid

  • SiteGround – they have gone completely downhill in recent years.
  • Bluehost – slow servers, owned by EIG, bad support, rated poorly in FB Groups.
  • HostGator – also owned by EIG with slow servers, bad support, CPU limit issues.
  • GoDaddy – top malware hosting network worldwide, rated poorly in FB groups.
  • Hostinger – they write fake reviews and vote for themselves in Facebook polls.
  • WP Engine – also not what it used to be, expensive and not even fast anymore.
  • *A2 Hosting – if you can’t afford Cloudways, A2 is still fast and uses LiteSpeed.

I use Cloudways because:

  • Even posts with a 2.70MB page size can load in under 2s
  • DigitalOcean and Vultr HF are miles faster than shared hosting.
  • It’s $10-$13/month (no yearly contracts or high renewal prices).
  • Varnish, Redis, and memcached are all built-in for higher performance.
  • You get to pick from DigitalOcean, Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud.
  • 4.8/5 star TrustPilot rating and highly recommended in Facebook Groups.
  • They have 25+ data centers between all their cloud hosting providers.
  • No CPU issues like on SiteGround, Bluehost, and other shared hosting.
  • SSL, staging, and backups are all very easy in the Cloudways dashboard.
  • Support used to be average, but is now really good as reflected on TrustPilot.
  • They offer a free migration but their Migrator plugin will also do the trick.
  • Adding a server, migrating your site, and the dashboard is actually very easy.
  • Mustasaam (their community manager) gave me peace of mind when moving.
  • Only complaint is they need to add LiteSpeed servers to their list of providers.

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link, I would seriously appreciate it. I don’t recommend bad hosting like many other affiliates. I also donate quite a bit to charity ($6,000 to GoFundMe so far) and your support would really help. I try to base my reviews not only from my experience, but real evidence from the overwhelming feedback in numerous Facebook Groups. It would mean a lot.

Just do your research and look at this Facebook thread.

 

23. Frequently Asked Questions

🚀 Why is the WooCommerce dashboard slow?

You may need to clear customer sessions, clean your database, disable WordPress heartbeat, and disable CDN features in the admin area (eg. using Cloudflare page rules). Normal speed optimizations like upgrading to PHP 7.4 and avoiding my list of 65 slow WordPress plugins will also help.

🚀 Do cache plugins slow down the admin?

No, cache plugins should help speed it up (I have configuration tutorials for nearly every cache plugin). If you're using W3 Total Cache, trying disabling the Object Cache setting which is a common culrpit.

🚀 What about the admin-ajax.php?

If this is loading slow, it's also usually due to a slow plugin. You can also try disabling heartbeat and installing a plugin like Perfmatters to cut down on CPU used by WordPress (eg. disabling autosaves and limiting post revisions).

🚀 How do I bypass the CDN from working in the admin?

In Cloudflare, create a page rule for your WordPress admin URL with an asterisk, then set Cloudflare's performance features as Off.

🚀 How do I find which plugins are slowing down the admin?

First, avoid my list of 65 high CPU plugins and find alternatives if you're using one of these. Next, check your GTmetrix Waterfall tab to see which plugins take longest to load, then replace those. You can also try selectively disabling plugins using Asset CleanUp or Perfmatters, and deactivating all plugins 1 by 1 to find the culprit.

🚀 Will faster hosting affect the admin speed?

Yes, it should especially if you're nearing CPU limits which slows down both the front and backend of the site. WooCommerce sites should generally avoid shared hosting because they require more plugins and CPU. They are better of on semi-dedicated or cloud hosting.

I hope this helped! Comment if you have questions.

Cheers,
Tom

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