15 Ways To Fix A Slow WordPress Admin Panel (Dashboard)

Have a slow WordPress admin panel?

The easiest way to fix a slow WordPress dashboard is by removing high CPU plugins, disabling the Heartbeat API, cleaning your database, and identifying resource-hungry tasks using Query Monitor. Hosting, cache plugins, and CDNs are also key to speeding up your WordPress admin.

This guide should help speed up your admin panel while also improving scores in PageSpeed Insights by lightening the load on your server. And if your WordPress dashboard is still slow after this tutorial, drop me a comment with your GTmetrix report and I can have a quick look.

 

1. Find CPU issues in Query Monitor

Query Monitor is by far the best method for finding out what’s slowing down the admin. Just make sure you delete it when you’re done since the plugin itself can consume lots of resources.

Once installed, view any page on your site (this can include your admin), and you’ll see the dropdown menu at the top. Here are a few things you should check your Query Monitor tab:

  • Queries: if something generates 100+ queries, remove it or find an alternative.
  • Object cache: check the status of object cache (test your site with and without it).
  • Environment: PHP version, memory limit, stats on PHP, database, WordPress, server.
  • Errors: take note of errors you see in your Query Monitor report and diagnose the issue.
Query Monitor Dropdown
Install Query Monitor and find the settings in the dropdown
Query Monitor Slow Plugins
Use the “queries by component” tab to find slow plugins
Query Monitor - Ivica
Ivica posted some good suggestions

 

2. Remove high CPU plugins

In addition to using Query Monitor, you can use my list of 70+ slow plugins to avoid which includes lightweight alternatives. Again, thank you to Ivica for contributing to this list in the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group, but I’ve also expanded it to include a lot more plugins.

*Most slow plugins include page builders, ultimate addons, social sharing, statistic, portfolio, slider, backup, chat, calendar, contact form, related post, or those running ongoing scans + processes. WooCommerce sites can be especially resource-hungry.

  1. Anything using Google AdSense
  2. Backup Buddy
  3. Beaver Builder
  4. Broken Link Checker
  5. Contact Form 7
  6. Disqus Comment System
  7. Divi Builder
  8. Elementor
  9. Jetpack
  10. Query Monitor
  11. Ultimate Addons For Elementor + Beaver Builder
  12. WooCommerce
  13. Wordfence
  14. WPML
  15. Click link above to see the full list.

Lightweight Plugin Alternatives

  • SEO – Rank Math or SEOPress (less bloated than Yoast with more features).
  • Backups – UpdraftPlus.
  • Gallery – Gutenberg Gallery or Meow Gallery.
  • Sliders – Soliloquy or MetaSlider, but I don’t recommend sliders.
  • Redirects – use .htaccess (server-level redirects are faster than plugins).
  • Analytics – Google Analytics and Google Search Console (avoid stat plugins).
  • Social Sharing – Grow By Mediavine (fastest social sharing plugin in WP Rocket’s test).
  • Comments – native comments or wpDiscuz with optimized settings + delayed JavaScript.
  • Theme + Page Builder – Oxygen Builder, GeneratePress, Astra + Gutenberg, Genesis Framework (StudioPress themes), or Elementor Hello Theme if you insist on Elementor.
Slow WordPress Plugin Waterfall
You can also use GTmetrix Waterfall or New Relic to find slow plugins
WP Hive
WP Hive shows a plugin’s impact on memory usage + PageSpeed

 

3. Test (or disable) object cache

Object cache is supposed to speed up the admin, but sometimes it slows it down.

I recommend testing your admin speed with and without it. Object cache can be activated in most hosting accounts. I prefer Redis over memcached, but feel free to test your own results.

  • cPanel: Select PHP Version → Extensions
  • Cloudways: Servers → Manage Services → Redis
  • SiteGround: Site Tools → Speed → Caching → memcached
Activate Redis cPanel
Step 1: enable Redis or memcached in your hosting account
Redis Object Cache
Step 2: install the Redis Object Cache plugin, go to the settings, and enable Redis
LiteSpeed Cache Object Cache Memcached Redis
Step 3: in LiteSpeed Cache, just make sure the connection test passed
W3-Total-Cache-Object-Cache
Step 4: in W3 Total Cache, set method to memcached or Redis, or trying disabling it completely

 

4. Upgrade PHP version

Upgrade to PHP 7.4 in your hosting account.

While PHP 8.0 may be available, many themes/plugins still aren’t compatible, so 7.4 is safer. Most WordPress users run outdated PHP versions which affect the frontend + admin speed.

Cloudways Settings Packages
Keep your PHP, MySQL, WordPress, plugins, and other technology updated

 

5. Increase memory limit

WooCommerce sites, Elementor, WPML, and other systems require a 256MB memory limit, but you should really increase this either way since many hosts will set the default to 128MB.

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');
Memory-Limit
Many hosts also let you increase memory limit in their dashboard

 

6. Remove database junk

WP-Optimize cleans your database better than most cache plugins.

WP Rocket, LiteSpeed Cache, and most cache plugins let you delete transients, optimize database tables, etc. I usually recommend deleting everything except for post revisions, autosaves, and pending comments. However, they often don’t let you delete tables left behind by old plugins, data collected by plugin modules, and other things left behind in your database.

With that being said, install WP-Optimize and look for tables still in your database, but the plugin is not installed. If you deleted a plugin and don’t plan on using it again, delete the table.

WP-Optimize-Tables
Delete “not installed” tables left behind by old plugins
Rank Math Database Bloat
Consider disabling plugin features that cause database bloat*
Clear-WooCommerce-Junk
Clean WooCommerce junk under WooCommerce Status Settings → Tools

 

7. Ditch shared hosting

Shared hosting is the #1 culprit of slow admins.

Slow admin influenced by server

Most hosting recommendations are garbage and I suggest joining the WordPress Hosting and WP Speed Matters group to get unbiased feedback because let’s be honest, we’re all affiliates.

  • I don’t recommend SiteGround because they have a slow TTFB and their StartUp + GrowBig plan is shared hosting. I wouldn’t upgrade since they’ve gone downhill since 2019, performance isn’t as good, and they have become unethical in numerous ways.
  • Hostinger writes fake reviews, votes for themselves in polls, also unethical.
  • GoDaddy is like my ex-girlfriend: lots of promises, but absolutely no delivery.
  • WP Engine used to be good, but most people left them and speed/support are awful.
  • EIG brands (Bluehost + HostGator) cram too many websites on slow, shared servers.

Regardless if you use my aff links, please don’t support unethical companies.

I use Cloudways (Vultr HF) who has always given me a fast TTFB and great GTmetrix results even on huge posts. You can click through my posts (most of them are very long) and they will load instantly. LiteSpeed is also popular which you can get through NameHero or A2 Hosting. I like NameHero’s Turbo Cloud plan which includes more RAM, NVME storage, and is still cheap.

Both are completely different setups. On Cloudways, I use WP Rocket with BunnyCDN. On a LiteSpeed hosting plan, you would be using the LiteSpeed Cache plugin with QUIC.cloud CDN. They’re both great setups and should give you a fast TTFB / server response time in GTmetrix, especially if you use my WP Rocket or LiteSpeed Cache tutorial to configure the ideal settings.

You can read my Cloudways review or NameHero review. NameHero is easier (cPanel, A+ support, email hosting) while Cloudways is a little “techier” but gives you better control of your server and has way more data centers in the US, India, UK, etc. Cloudways is monthly pricing with a free migration while NameHero has a 30-day refund policy and also has a free migration.

WordPress admin speed on Cloudways
Definitely exaggerated, but you get the point
Hosting and admin
DigitalOcean and Vultr HF are both good options

I switched from SiteGround to Cloudways in 2019. My response times were 2x faster, I was paying 1/2 the price of what I was on SiteGround, and had no CPU issues or high renewal prices.

Cloudways Shoutout

When in doubt, check Facebook polls:

Moving from SiteGround
eCommerce Hosting Poll

People who moved to Cloudways and posted results:

Cloudways Numbers
Cloudways-BuddyBoss

Hosting recommendations - Facebook thread

Cloudways Coupon Code
OMM25 gives 25% off your first 2 months at Cloudways

 

8. Disable cache inside the admin

You generally don’t want cache inside the admin.

LiteSpeed Cache has a setting to cache the wp-admin as well as cache logged-in users, both of which should be turned off. And if you’re using Cloudflare, you can add a page rule to bypass cache inside the admin, disable apps + performance features, and set the security level to high.

WordPress-Admin-Page-Rule

 

9. Disable WordPress Heartbeat

The WordPress Heartbeat API can slow down your WordPress dashboard since it consumes resources by notifying you when other users are editing a post, real-time plugin notifications, etc. WP Rocket, LiteSpeed Cache, Perfmatters, and other cache plugins let you disable or limit it. You can also use the Heartbeat Control plugin or paste this code into your functions.php file.

add_action( 'init', 'stop_heartbeat', 1 );
function stop_heartbeat() {
wp_deregister_script('heartbeat');
}

If your cache plugin (i.e. LiteSpeed) has a setting to control the frontend, backend, and editor heartbeat, I recommend setting them to 120 seconds, 0 (disable), and 60 seconds respectively.

LiteSpeed Cache Heartbeat Settings

 

10. Remove admin bloat

Removing unnecessary bloat can also speed up your WordPress admin. Most admin bloat can be disabled using the Perfmatters, Widget Disable, and Disable WooCommerce Bloat plugin.

Perfmatters – removes bloat and unloads unused CSS/JS using the script manager. For bloat removal, it disables pingbacks/trackbacks, heartbeat, XML-RPC, jQuery migrate, limits post revisions, autosave control, and other settings. It can help optimize WooCommerce sites, host Google Analytics locally, prefetch/preconnect external scripts, and basically takes care of speed optimizations most cache plugins don’t. It was developed by Kinsta and I use it on my own site.

perfmatters-features

Widget Disable – disable unused widgets in your dashboard with a simple interface.

Widget Disable

Disable WooCommerce Bloat – removes WooCommerce admin junk including widgets, marketplace suggestions, the analytics tab notification bar, Jetpack promotions, and more. It also lets you disable WooCommerce scripts/styles on non-eCommerce pages + cart fragments.

Disable WooCommerce Bloat

Delete Unused Plugins + Themes – unused plugins and themes should also be deleted.

Delete-Unused-WordPress-Themes

Hide SEO Bloat – if you’re using Yoast, this plugin removes all Yoast’s advertisements.

 

11. Protect the wp-login page

The wp-admin and wp-login pages are one of the most common targets for bots. By moving (and protecting) these pages, you will not only improve security but you’ll also stop spammy bots from consuming server resources when they attempt to login to your site which can lower CPU.

How To Protect The Admin

  • Use Wordfence to view bots hitting your login page
  • Move your WordPress login page to block spam bots
  • Enable bot protection using Cloudflare (or Cloudways)
  • Use a Cloudflare page rule to protect the wp-admin area

Step 1: Install Wordfence.

Step 2: View your live traffic report (in Wordfence > Tools) and you might see a lot of bots hitting your wp-login page. You may also see other spam bots like compute.amazonaws.com. Googlebot is obviously OK, but view your report for a minute or two and see if sketchy bots are constantly hitting your site. You can Google their hostnames and see if others report it as spam.

WordPress login bot spam

Step 3: Move your wp-admin and wp-login page using Perfmatters or WPS Hide Login. I moved mine to onlinemediamasters.com/omm (bots aren’t usually smart enough to see you moved it).

Move WordPress login URL

Step 4: Enable bot protection (can be done in Cloudflare or some hosts like Cloudways).

Cloudflare Bot Fight Mode

There are also plugins like Blackhole For Bad Bots that can help you block them as well.

 

12. Limit post revisions and autosaves

Limiting post revisions (automatic post backups taken when you hit the publish button) and increasing the autosave interval can lower CPU and speed up the admin. Open your wp-config.php file and add the code below. There are also plugins that do this such as Perfmatters.

define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5);
define('AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL', 300); // seconds

 

13. Offload resources to a CDN

CDNs speed up the admin by offloading resources which lightens the load on your server.

  • Cloudflare – fine for smaller sites but can actually increase TTFB as reported in Facebook Groups. If you’re already using it, I suggest using their APO, add a cache everything page rule (or use WP Cloudflare Super Page Cache), and be very careful if using Rocket Loader.
  • BunnyCDN – consistently performant CDN highly recommended in Facebook threads (including this one). If you’re not getting great results with Cloudflare or RocketCDN, I suggest BunnyCDN. Instructions are easy: sign up, select your CDN areas, create a pull zone, and copy/paste your CDN URL into WP Rocket or just use the BunnyCDN plugin.
  • RocketCDN – uses StackPath’s data centers but if you’re going to pay for a CDN, use Bunny. Like Cloudflare, StackPath can actually increase TTFB depending on the website.

Once set up, check your analytics in your CDN’s dashboard and make sure it’s working. Offloading 58GB of bandwidth last month? Yeah, that will definitely improve your server.

Cloudflare-Bandwidth-Savings

 

14. Disable plugin data sharing

If a plugin even asks you to share data to help improve their plugin, I personally don’t. Sorry plugin developers, but this consumes (a very, very small amount) of resources to send the data.

Disable plugin data sharing

 

If you have high quality images on your site (i.e photography), people might try to copy/paste images from your website to theirs. This can slow down your WordPress admin because it consumes bandwidth. You can prevent people from doing this by enabling hotlink protection in Cloudflare’s Scrape Shield settings or Disable WordPress Embeds in WP Rocket Media settings.

Cloudflare Hotlink Protection

 

16. Monitor CPU usage and TTFB

Slow admins are often caused by high CPU usage or slow TTFBs.

Login to your hosting account to check CPU usage. As I’ve mentioned throughout in this guide, high CPU usage can cause a slow admin. Shared hosting and SiteGround have strict CPU limits.

CPU Usage

Google recommends your TTFB is under 600ms or it will be flagged.

Reduce Server Response Time

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common remedies for a slow WordPress admin?

The most common remedies for a slow WordPress admin are to remove high CPU plugins, use a better cache plugin, configure it with optimal settings, and upgrade to cloud hosting. If using W3 Total Cache, try disabling object cache.

Will changing hosts fix a slow admin?

High server response times can definitely slow down the admin panel. Changing hosts can speed it up especially if you switch from shared hosting to cloud.

Will a CDN speed up the admin panel?

CDNs offloads resources which lighten the load on your origin server, therefore speeding up both your website and admin panel. Cloudflare and BunnyCDN are both good choices.

Do spammy bots slow down the admin?

Yes, spammy bots that constantly hit your site are a waste of server resources. You can use Wordfence to find all bots hitting your site in real-time, then use Wordfence, Blackhole for Bad Bots, or Cloudflare firewall rules to block spam bots.

Which plugins slow down the admin panel?

Most slow WordPress plugins include social sharing, statistic (analytics), sliders, portfolios, page builders, calendars, chat, contact forms, related post, sitemap, Wordfence, WPML, WooCommerce, and any plugin that runs ongoing scans or processes. Use lightweight plugins that are maintained and coded well.

Do cache plugins affect the speed of the admin panel?

Yes. Which cache plugin you're using and whether it's configured optimally has a large impact. Make sure you use a top-rated cache plugin and take advantage of the features.

How do I fix a slow WooCommerce admin?

Use the Disable WooCommerce Bloat plugin to disable WooCommerce notices, meta box, marketplace suggestions, and other bloat WooCommerce adds to your dashboard.

How do I fix a slow admin when using Cloudflare?

Try creating a page rule to bypass cache inside the admin, set the Cloudflare security level to high, and disable apps and performance features inside your WordPress dashboard.

Why is the WordPress admin slow on GoDaddy?

GoDaddy overcrowds their servers and has CPU limits. The lack of server resources may result in a slower admin and website.

How do I reduce admin-ajax.php server load?

Disable WordPress Heartbeat, block spam bots from hitting your server, and protect your admin area.

See Also: My Ultimate WordPress Speed Guide

Did it work? Let me know in the comments :)

Still have a slow admin? Send me your setup (and GTmetrix report URL) and I’ll share my advice.

Cheers,
Tom

About Tom Dupuis

Tom Dupuis 2017Tom Dupuis writes WordPress speed and SEO tutorials out of his apartment in Denver, Colorado. In his spare time, he plays Rocket League and watches murder documentaries. Read his bio to learn 50 random and disturbing things about him.

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