Just a quick post about a discovery I just made. When using the Load Time Profiler plugin to measure load time, it’s possible to compare two hosting environments by looking at the first part of the load process, before any plugins or theme files are loaded. The last point such point measured by the plugin is post_exec_register_theme_directory that is added to the profiling data just before plugins are about to get loaded.
On a really fast host running Apache2 without any PHP enhancements but with plenty of RAM and fast SSD disks, this event is done 18.4 ms into the process. This host happens to be my laptop. But please do note, the load time is measured entirely on the server side, so there’s no advantage of being on the same physical computer.
On a really (really) slow host, a business account on Swedish hosting company Binero, the same exact point is reached after 220 ms(!). I’ve reported this to their support, but they seem to think that it’s completely in order so it’s not a matter of a single misconfigured server. They really are that slow. As a reference, a similar hosting provider, Loopia, is about 25% quicker at 165 ms.
220 versus 18.4, that’s more than a ten times the load time. Actually, when looking at the total load time, including plugins and the theme, the Binero hosted account will sometimes consume more than 10 seconds before the page is sent back to the browser. Yes, we’re looking at moving that site to another home in the near future and being able to profile the load time behaviour was exactly the kind of data point needed to make that decision. With that kind of performance, there’s simply no other quick fix available.
Now, go test your hosting provider and please let me know what you find in the comments below. Download the plugin here.