Make WordPress Faster: Use XCache or eAccelerator to Store Variables

Most WordPress bloggers will agree that it becomes excruciatingly slow at times. This is primarily because WordPress uses PHP scripts and dynamically generates every web page that has to be served to visitors. The entire process requires the Apache web server to first access, read, interpret and compile the PHP codes; then recover the data necessary to build the page from the MySQL server; and finally send the HTTP response in HTML. Several workarounds to this situation are in circulation – falling in either the ‘cache’ or the ‘accelerator’ categories.

A popular plugin in the cache category is WP-Cache 2 – a page caching system that caches WordPress pages in a static file to serve future requests directly from the cached file. This means that all the dynamic contents of WordPress become static. WP-Cache triggers just once on page creation – after that everything is managed from the cache. However, this approach has problems such as hosting limitations that make it less successful.

Hence, many WordPress users turn to PHP accelerators such as eAccelerator, APC, XCache, Turck MMcache, Memcached, Zend Optimizer, Zend Platform and ionCube PHPA. These programs cache the compiled byte-code form of PHP scripts in the memory to avoid parsing and compiling of the source code at each page request. It boosts up the overall performance of your website, while not affecting the dynamic content such as statistics tracker, site counters, etc.

Recently, programmers from NeoSmart have developed and released plug-ins for WordPress that integrate the actual server code with the op-code caching engine of XCache or eAccelerator. Thus, in addition to caching the PHP scripts in memory, the WordPress objects and variables are also stored in an ultra-fast memory.

Currently, only XCache (download from here) and eAccelerator (download from here) are available.

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