I’ve looked at other posts about this kind of problem but they seem to address much more complex questions. I have a very simple Wordpress site hosted on webhostinghub (the cheaper side of inmotionhosting). It once worked fine, but now takes up to 20+ seconds to load the first page. Lots of discussion with their support (excellent) says this is a server resource problem, but one person suggested trying Cloudflare. CF is current enabled (and I added a “cache everything” rule) but there’s no improvement.
Running some tests with webpagetest.com is very interesting and I have attached a screenshot of the waterfall graph. It’s easy to see the problem but I don’t know how to interpret it. The whole delay is during the early html portion. So is this a part of the loading process that CF cannot cache?
well Cloudflare is a reverse proxy CDN (Pull CDN) which does not cache the initial request by default, thats why it will just boot up your static assets, not the first request. There is a product at Cloudflare called APO, which is a Wordpress exclusive product that can speed up a lot of things, as long as you use Wordpress.
Mostly true, but they very sure just want to make you buy more hardware/ressource from them, while you could simply implement a good caching plugin and cache a site statically. That would very sure have the biggest impact on performance and make your site response as fast as your TTFB of any other static ressource (about 120ms AFAIK).
So here my advice:
- try APO ($5 per month)
- implement caching plugin that caches statically.
- Use proper hosting if you can afford it.
Thank you, Martin, for the suggestions. I will say that Inmotion/webhostinghub support has been fantastic over the years, and never tried up “upsell” me on hosting. They spent hours helping me troubleshoot. Unfortunately they did not fully follow through on my request to move sites to a different server, which is annoying.
Strangely, no sooner did I post this message than the website has suddenly started loading really fast. I don’t know if this is because it took several days for the DNS to fully propagate so that every instance is served through Cloudflare, or if it’s because WHH fixed whatever was going on with their servers. The waterfall of new tests still shows the longest delay at the initial HTML segment but now it’s really short instead of 10 or 15 seconds. I’m going to do some more experiments just to see what I can learn.
Update on 4/9: Site loading is still good. I put CF into development mode as a test and things really slowed down again, so I have to think that it just took several days for DNS to fully update in the nooks and crannies around the internet. CF seems to be doing the job!
The same thing happened when I moved a different website to a new hosting company; it took several days for all email to get to the right place even though the website itself was good very quickly.
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