As I’ve been using this blog more recently, the page speed has been becoming much more frustrating. So today, I’ve done some stuff to improve it and it’s now twice as fast as it used to be. Please let me know what you think of the new style!

Azure

I run all my stuff on Azure these days – it’s a UI I can cope with, in that it hides the complexities that Amazon used to foist on to me. Plus – MSDN credits!

Site sizing

I had the site on the Shared mode. I’ve now changed this to Standard (S1) and configured it to auto-scale up to two instances if it’s experiencing sustained high CPU utilisation.

I also took the time to do site backups via the automated facility. I was also hoping to add New Relic monitoring to the site, but alas there is only a .Net agent site extension available on the Azure marketplace.

Database

I’ve tried in the past running MSSQL compatible versions of WordPress but unfortunately many WordPress plugin writers do not write ANSI compliant code so you end up with a generally frustrating experience when you try to customise your site. Consequently, I’m stuck with the ClearDB MySQL databases that you get via Azure which generally seem slow and will encounter network latency for being out of the Azure networks. I will however comment that the ClearDB customer services is generally fantastic.

Up til today, I was using the default MySQL instance which only allowed 4 simultaneous connections. I’ve upgraded this to their next level, which’ll cost £5 a month but will allow 10 simultaneous connections.

It is a real shame that there is no MySQL provision on Azure – maintaining my own VM would be a pain I really don’t want to have, and the inability to use my MSDN credits with their partner is a drain on my cash. It may become more financially sensible to use a standard hosting provider in the long run.

WordPress

Caching

For the past few weeks I’d been trying the W3 Total Cache, which made no appreciable difference to site performance. I’ve now deactivated this and activated the file caching from WordFence, one of my security providers.

Theme

One thing that I was concerned about was my theme – not all developers are made equal and as a result my theme might not be particularly well optimised. I’ve moved to the new WordPress 2015 theme that they’ve provided as it gives a similar look and feel but will have many more man-hours of optimisation behind it.

 

Updated site
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What do you think?