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I've got a shared hosting account, unlimited sites, unlimited GB, unlimited bandwidth etc etc.

Of course because it's shared and a cheap one at that - there's too many sites on each server and it all runs slow due to lack of RAM.

What I've found is that my plain HTML/CSS/JS sites run an awful lot faster than my WordPress sites on this hosting and I was trying to work out why.

I'm not exactly sure how a browser sends a request for a page and the full process of request and delivery, but are my HTML sites running faster as they are just serving code to the browser, whereas the WordPress sites are having to make calculations from the database to build each page before it is delivered ... is that correct, or am I completely off course ?

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You're correct that WordPress has to render the page before it sends it. Another thing you can see, is if there's a large amount of external JavaScript being called by WP over the other pages, which increases load time. Furthermore, try tools.pingdom.com (page load test) to troubleshoot your issues directly. –  ionFish Jun 28 '12 at 21:17

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It is probably because your Wordpress uses PHP(PHP:HyperText Pre Processor), server side programming language, so if someone requests a webpage from your website, data is processed on the server and then html and css is thrown on a web browser, these websites are called dynamic websites, and the one which you are saying, HTML/CSS websites are static websites, here, server actually throws the content directly without processing because there's just markup in the web page, moreover, if you include scripts of Google Analytics or advertising scripts it also affects your page loading time, bloated server side coding, use of high resolution images, etc can also cause increase time for loading a page. Hope this helps you.

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PHP/MYSQL sites can be slower also because the MySQL server, sometimes an independent machine, is overloaded. You can try a cache plugin, like WP Super Cache to speed it a little.

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If WP Super Cache is configured correctly, it will effectively be serving static pages most of the time, thus speeding it up greatly. –  Cameron Martin Jun 28 '12 at 22:17

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