My Wordpress site jumped from 3,000 visits to over 20,000 via organic traffic. How can I optimize it to handle the current load?
I know their are some brilliant minds on here. Any illumination in this regard will be appreciated.
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First, you'll have to figure out exactly where your site is slow: is it in database processing? Is it in the front-end servers? Is it in the wordpress processes? Bandwidth? Maybe your host can help you figure out where your bottleneck is. (They probably want to sell exactly the right amount of CPU/Memory/Database/Bandwidth, to give you the most bang for your buck and bring in the most bucks. :)
Make static what you can.
Use a CDN for your most-popular images. (Akamai, etc.) Use CSS image sprites to collapse multiple images into a single image, to reduce the number of connection requests necessary to render a page.
Implement some mechanism to cache rendered HTML pages, one for unauthenticated viewing, then per-person caches if individual viewers make multiple hits for the same content that must be re-generated. Implement some 'fragment caching' mechanism to cache smaller pieces, too, so that generating entire new pages to retire or populate the cache can go a little faster.
There are an awful lot of possible optimizations, but installing WP Super Cache will almost certainly solve your immediate problem.
I host my blog on a 1gb Linode and have handled tens of thousands of requests some hours, without the VPS even breaking 10% CPU usage. That's possible solely due to the static caching that WP Super Cache provides.