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I have been speed optimizing a Wordpress site to little effect. There are three files CSS-related php files from the Wordpress theme that are delaying page loads on the site. One of the three files is basically one line of custom CSS from the custom CSS feature in the theme.

The Problematic Files

(As requested) Here is more info on the three files starting with the entirety of customCss.php.

/* CUSTOM ADMIN PANEL CSS */
div#tspfp_article.layout_default div#full p
{
margin: -30px 0px !important ;
}

Meanwhile, dynamicCss.php is just CSS code for those parts of the theme formatting that can be modified by the site admin in the Admin options panel of the theme. Finally, responsiveCss.php is CSS code for the responsive version of the site. For all three of these files, I don't see any code besides identifying classes and the CSS formatting for them. They are in the CSS directory of the theme directory. I don't know enough about php to know why these files are php files rather than just CSS files.

Speed Test

You can see what I am talking about with this Pingdom speed test:

Pingdom Waterfall Results

The yellow is 'Wait'. There are no slow items in the cut-off portion of the image.

The full results are here: Pingdom Results Page

Update

The slow speed on the three files gradually returned. When I deactivate plugins the problem goes away even when I reactivate the plugins, but with the plugins reactivated the problem slowly comes back. If it was my browser, I would say it was a memory leak.

Final: In the end, we switched Wordpress themes and the speed is fine now.

Questions

1. Any thoughts on what might be causing this?

I understand that I have blocking CSS and JS files, but I don't see anything that would be causing that long of a wait. When I ran the P3 Plugin Profiler, Wordpress and all plugins appeared fine -- it is the theme that is taking all the time.

GTmetrix recommends avoiding dynamic queries. I assume all the ver=3.61 references are to the version of Wordpress (which I am using). I noticed that my Wordpress sites using other themes don't make this query (at least not over and over).

2. Is this typical coding practice?
3. How much negative impact do these query-strings have -- a little or a lot?

4. Could there be some kind of memory problem given the gradual return of the issue?

I tried searching for similar questions here, please excuse me if I missed something. Sometimes, I know just enough to be dangerous.

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The delay appears to be the time it's taking the web server to generate those files, but 7 seconds is an extremely long time for a PHP script. Can you provide any info about what it is those two scripts are doing? –  Tim Fountain Oct 24 '13 at 10:16
    
@TimFountain I added info on the 3 slow php files. thx –  William Pitcher Oct 24 '13 at 14:44

4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Below is my personal view of what I see/think and found out in 10 minits taking time and yes I am maybe totally wrong but...it could/should be much faster for a page with just 425KB.

I checked your site gtmetrix (4.87sec) which is not that bad at all imho (could be worse ugh).
I also checked your site with pingdom(3sec) and at webpagetest(6sec).
(click on the links to see the results)

You are having only 4 plugins (which is awesome lol) and the landingpage is full loaded 425KB first view and only 40KB for the next views which seems to be okay. The Dynamic page is generated in 1.426 seconds and 40 HTTP requests are not that bad neither.

You could check some by disabling one of the 2 plugins you use which could bite each other (and also a check with both disabled).
Deactivate first WP Minify and do checks, deactivate then also WP Super Cache and check. Enable then WP Minify again and do another(3rd) check. What happens? (are the results good or still lousy?)

If neither of the 3 checks makes it faster then 3 seconds and there are no other errors in your opinion, it could be some issues having with the server (shared hosting server it is), and/or it is showing the bad side of "crowded" webserver which shares with a lot of other users. Another result ugh.. you are on a server with ... 2026 domains hosted on 1 server...ouch.

I don't want to be picky but that minifying (looking at your css code) is kinda...lousy done. (assuming it is done by that plugin you use ofcourse)

But as said, I can be totally wrong.

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Thanks for the note about the 2,000 domains. We ended up switching Wordpress themes and the site loads quickly now. However, a VPS may be in our future. I would give you an upvote if I had enough reputation. –  William Pitcher Dec 19 '13 at 0:50

I HAD resolved this. I had checked individual plugins, one at a time, but it was a combination of a Facebook Album plugin and a Site Maintenance plugin. Deactivating BOTH of them fixed the issue. However, the problem is back.

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Check out the plugins.The same has happened with me and disabling some of the plugins speeded my blog with magic..Now it take max 1.2s ..you should give a serious check

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For anyone who may find this thread, as I did having the exact same issue, I realised that my problematic php files are actually theme options outputs. I have a very similar graph on pingdom as the one above. It's unclear if these php files (which for me contain custom CSS or js settings) are dynamically checked -- or even written -- every time the theme loads. Perhaps this is the reason for the delay. At any rate, I've tried many things to speed up delivery. I fail so far. An added problem in my case is that sometimes these files don't load, even though the paths are correct. They show up in red on pingdom, with 0kb delivered. You can click on them in the test output and they come up immediately, and have content. I'm out of strategies in how to deal with this. They are responsible for slowing my site down by half.

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