SiteGround Optimizer 5.6 - Heartbeat control, Automatic Database Optimization and More for Even Faster Websites!
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We have just launched the latest major update of the SiteGround Optimizer plugin. The new version greatly enhances what’s already the best performance solution for your website if you are hosted with SiteGround! If you follow the plugin’s changelog you will notice that for the last few years we’ve constantly improved and added more and more functionalities turning the plugin from a simple connector to our server caching systems to an overall performance solution for your WordPress site. Now I am excited to guide you through the most recent features that will help you make your site run even faster:
WordPress Heartbeat Control
The Heartbeat API allows your browser to communicate with the WordPress application when you’re logged into your admin panel. This functionality makes it possible to handle things like scheduled tasks, post and page revisions, locking of a post when someone else is editing it, and more.
Although it’s a great piece of functionality it may cause excessive CPU usage when left unsupervised. For example, if you just leave a couple of tabs open in your browser on the post edit page, that will execute a script saving your content as a draft for each tab every 15 seconds. That alone results in 480 executions per hour and 11520 per day.
Most people don’t need to save that often. For example, if you’re writing a blog post, having a save every 3 minutes is perfectly fine. With the new settings in the SiteGround Optimizer, you can either completely disable the Heartbeat API if you don’t have any functionality requiring it, or you can set it to work at far bigger intervals. By default, we disable it on your admin and frontend pages and leave it only on post edit to run every 180 seconds.
Automatic Database Maintenance
This optimization is really important for WordPress websites but often neglected by webmasters. That’s why we’ve added it to the plugin and set it to run every week. Having that feature enabled will automatically clean your spam comments and trashed posts and pages, and will perform a table optimization and clear all the expired transients from your database. Basically, you will be sure that your database is in a top condition without having to perform the same tasks manually on a regular basis.
With this option, you can easily add all external domains that your site uses to serve external resources so your site can tell browsers to pre-fetch them and save time from resolving these domains each time they are used by a resource.
By default, browsers are pretty smart when it comes to domain resolution and pre-fetching all commonly used external domains. They manage to avoid resolving the same domain multiple times. But, their automatic pre-fetch doesn’t work at all times. For example, if you have external resources in your CSS and JS they won’t be automatically pre-fetched by the browser. That is why we added an option in the SiteGround Optimizer where you can list all external domains and thus make sure that the browsers will have those domains’ IP addresses ready for use. That feature helps reduce page loading times.
Improved Memcached Integration
Memcached is a great optimization feature, but due to compulsory Memcached limits it works only for objects smaller than 1MB. That’s more than enough in 99% of the cases, but as more and more plugins and themes are dropping huge chunks of data into the options table, we have started to notice more attempts for using Memcached for bigger objects. That is why we have come up with a smart way to use Memcached in such cases too. We have added a self-learning mechanism that excludes the options with the biggest values from the object that needs to be cached, so it stays under 1MB. This way we manage to provide Memcached at least for a part of the initial big object.
Deprecation of the PHP Switcher
In this version, we’ve decided to completely remove the functionality to switch the PHP version of a website. We took that decision for two main reasons – we wanted to avoid duplication of the functionality as that version control already exists in cPanel and Site Tools, where it logically belongs; and to alleviate the plugin so it takes less disk space and inodes.