I realize it’s not that original, but I have been a big proponent of self hosting on Virtual Private Servers for a while now. I had been using Media Temple for practically forever, enjoying their cheap boxes, and more recently have been banging on the really cheap boxes over at Digital Ocean.
It does, however, come with a set of challenges. Among them, performance monitoring. One of the aims of the side project I’ve been working on is to offload as much of the load as possible to outside services, in an attempt to take advantage of on-demand pricing. So we’ve been doing some work to see how things perform on low end boxes.
This testing has coincided with Google telling me that my load times have been suffering lately for my own website. So I’ve begun to do some digging into how to get my WordPress site better performing, as a way of also coming up with some ways to improve our eventual deployment. So this is more of a preview of posts to come, but here are some quick links on what I’ve been using to improve my page load times.
LAMP apps can sometimes take a bigger chunk of your memory and processor than you’d like. So it’s important to find ways to make it run smaller.
- Better WordPress Minify – Stupid easy to setup, but lots of granular controls
- Falcon – For caching improvements
- CloudFlare – For delivery improvements
Once you think you’ve got things running better, you need to start getting serious about keeping it that way. And find more areas of improvement.
- YSlow – For quick stuff
- Google Webmasters – Will give you alerts Google things is important, like load time issues and malware
- New Relic Browser and Server – Easy to install monitoring tools that are almost a delight to use. Also with alerts.
SEO and Site Visibility
Last, but not least, it’s vital to take concrete steps towards keeping your site visible. Search engines say performance matters, but content is king and knowing how it’s analyzed by your search engines is important.
- Google Webmaster Tools – There is a treasure trove of tools and data to be found to improve your search performance.
- Google Analytics – Increasingly less useful, but the center of Google’s world. And it still has plenty of data about your visitors.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast – Because it will also teach you a lot about SEO best practices
A quick overview, I know, but a good starter list of tools. I’ve got all of these tools in place to various degrees and will be tracking performance and changes over the next few weeks, and will report back accordingly on each category.