In order to optimize the performance of your SMF forum there are some useful hints which you might want to implement.
- Change the avatars' upload folder.
- Search method.
- Disable the recent posts functionality on the forum index.
- Disable the SMF calendar.
- Enable SMF caching.
The reason for this solution to decrease the overall server load generated by your forum is that SMF considers the avatars uploaded in the default folder as attachments and every loading of an avatar image invokes the index.php file. Moving them in a separate folder allows SMF to handle them as regular images. To complete the specific optimization open the SMF admin area->Attachments and Avatars->Avatar Settings->Uploadable avatars. Pick the Specific directory... option from the Upload avatars to... drop-down menu. Specify the Upload directory. For example you can put /home/user/public_html/forum/avt. You should create the new folder under your account. If you are using web hosting services from SiteGround you can create a new folder through cPanel->File Manager. The Upload URL: value will be http://yourdomain.com/forum/avt/ The existing avatars can be moved using an FTP client. Also, you should execute the following MySQL query in the database:
UPDATE `smf_attachments` SET `attachment_type` = '1' WHERE `smf_attachments`.`ID_MEMBER` != 0
The query can be executed through cPanel->PhpMyAdmin.
If you have enabled the Search option for your forum and it has grown quite big it is recommended to set a search index. Such a solution will increase the disk space used by your forum, but it will significantly improve the speed of the search queries. For large forums use the Custom index. It can be set from the SMF admin area->Forum->Search->Search method.
This feature can be disabled by entering 0 in the SMF admin area->Configuration->Current Theme->Themes and Settings->Number of recent posts to display on board index field. This will improve the server performance since the compilation of the list can be a quite resource consuming process if there are many groups with posts.
If you do not need this feature on the forum, it is recommended to disable it. The reason is that the calendar functionality looks for an event on every thread load. The option can be disabled from the SMF admin area->Configuration->Core Features.
This solution is suitable for large forums that usually run on a dedicated hosting solution. It requires the presence of one of the following accelerators: eAccelerator, Memcache, APC and more. It can be enabled from the SMF admin area->Configuration->Server Settings->Caching.