Why is My WordPress Admin So Slow? Top Reasons and Solutions to Speed Up Your Dashboard

Human beings have always had an obsession with speed. This is evident when you realize that speed has been one of the premier markers for advancement in human civilization. Generally, the faster you can go the more advanced you are.

Today, humans are used to speed. It is a normal part of our daily lives. You’d almost call it a drug when you see what the absence of speed can do to a person.

How many times have you smashed a mouse on the table when your PC is being a bit slow to react? Or perhaps curse the living daylights out of your ISP when the internet is slow?

This same principle applies when your WordPress admin is slow. It almost always results in your blood pressure spiking out of frustration. It’s not just an annoyance, it can set you back considerably in terms of productivity and output when it comes to running a website or business on WordPress.

In this article, we’ll explore extensively all the reasons why your WordPress admin panel page is slow, why your WordPress admin page is not loading and provide you with practical, step-by-step solutions to speed things up.

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    Why is my WordPress Admin So Slow? (Common Causes)

    A sluggish WordPress admin panel can significantly hinder your website management experience. Every wasted minute spent waiting for pages to load translates to decreased productivity. Here, we’ll delve into the most common culprits behind a slow WordPress admin area, categorized for easier diagnosis and troubleshooting.

    CategoryPossible Causes
    Basic FactorsOutdated WordPress Version, Outdated PHP version.
    Plugins and ThemesInefficient Plugins, Theme Bloat, Plugin and Theme Conflicts
    Resource LimitationsInsufficient Server RAM, Low PHP Memory Limit, Shared Hosting Limitations
    Database IssuesLarge or Unoptimized Database, Database Corruption
    External FactorsSlow Web Host, Large Image Uploads, Corrupted WordPress Core Files
    Other Potential CausesSecurity Measures, Brute force attacks on the WP login page

    Base Factors

    Outdated WordPress Version: Older versions of WordPress might have known performance issues or lack optimizations present in newer versions. Keeping your WordPress core, themes, and plugins updated is crucial for optimal performance and security. Regularly update WordPress to the latest stable version to benefit from performance improvements and security patches.

    Outdated WordPress Version

    Outdated PHP Version: An outdated PHP version can slow down your WordPress admin. Older versions lack performance optimizations and features present in newer ones. This inefficiency can make simple tasks feel sluggish, hindering your workflow.

    Outdated PHP Version

    Resource Constraints

    Insufficient Server RAM: WordPress, along with any installed plugins, requires adequate server memory to function smoothly. If your web hosting plan offers limited RAM, it can lead to slow loading times and sluggish performance in the admin dashboard. WP Adminify can assist you in this as it boasts an entire module dedicated to server performance monitoring. Just download the plugin, activate it then navigate to the dashboard. From there just go into Server info > Server. You’ll find an assortment of server-related data there. Check your RAM and CPU usage. Anything north of 60-70% will slow down your admin.

    Server information check using WP Adminify

    Low PHP Memory Limit: The PHP memory limit dictates how much memory a single PHP script can utilize. A value set too low can cause performance issues, especially for resource-intensive plugins or complex themes.

    Low PHP Memory Limit

    Shared Hosting Limitations: Shared hosting environments allocate resources amongst multiple users. If other websites on the shared server experience high traffic spikes, it can indirectly impact the performance of your WordPress admin area due to competition for available resources.

    Shared Hosting Limitations

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    Plugins and Themes

    Inefficient Plugins: Some plugins might be poorly coded, outdated, or simply not optimized for performance. These plugins can introduce inefficiencies that create bottlenecks, slowing down the admin dashboard.

    Theme Bloat: Complex themes with excessive code or unnecessary features can contribute to a sluggish admin experience. Features you might not even use can still add overhead and slow down the loading of the admin area.

    Plugin and Theme Conflicts: Incompatible plugins or themes can sometimes clash with each other, leading to performance issues like a slow admin dashboard. This can be caused by code conflicts or resource competition.

    Database Issues

    Large or Unoptimized Database: Over time, your WordPress database can accumulate data like post revisions, spam comments, and transients (temporary data). A large or unoptimized database can lead to slower query execution times, impacting admin performance.

    Database Corruption: Although less frequent, database corruption can cause various issues, including slow loading times in the WordPress admin area.

    External Factors

    Slow Web Host: The overall performance of your web hosting provider plays a significant role. If your web host utilizes outdated hardware or experiences overloaded servers, it can directly impact the speed of your WordPress admin area. 

    Large Image Uploads: Uploading very large images to your WordPress media library can significantly slow down the admin area, especially when browsing or editing content. 

    Corrupted WordPress Core Files: In rare cases, corrupted WordPress core files can lead to various issues, including performance problems in the admin dashboard. 

    Other Potential Causes

    Security Measures: While essential for website security, some security plugins can add a slight overhead to your website’s performance, potentially impacting the admin area’s loading speed. Consider finding a balance between security and speed. 

    No Caching Plugin in Place: Caching plugins act like memory banks for your website, storing frequently accessed data. Without one in your WordPress admin, the system has to constantly re-fetch information for each action. This repetitive process can lead to a sluggish admin experience, especially when navigating menus or editing content.

    Install a Caching plugin in your Dashboard

    Brute force attacks on WP login page: A sustained bot attack on your WordPress login page can indirectly slow down the admin area. The numerous login attempts overload the server with processing tasks, depleting resources, and potentially causing bottlenecks that impact overall performance, including the admin dashboard.

    Now that we have a rough idea of the common causes of a slow WordPress admin, lets look at ways on how to speed up the WordPress admin.

    How to Speed Up Your WordPress Admin Panel

    There are many different kind of diagnoses when it comes to fixing a slow WordPress dashboard. Let’s look at the different lines of troubleshooting that can resolve this nagging issue.

    First things first, we have to check if we have all our bases covered which means checking if everything is running on its latest version.

    WordPress Core Updates

    WordPress regularly releases updates that address security vulnerabilities, improve performance, and introduce new features.

    WordPress 6.5 saw 110+ performance updates that brought about a 25% increase in loading speeds across WordPress. This was massive!

    What this means is that keeping the core WordPress installation up-to-date is crucial for maintaining a safe and healthy website. Here’s a quick guide on how to update WordPress:

    The Easy Way: One-Click Update

    Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and navigate to Dashboard > Updates. If an update is available, you’ll see a notification with a button to “Update Now“. Click on it and WordPress will take care of the rest.

    WordPress Core Updates in one click

    After the core update, WordPress might prompt you for a database upgrade (usually indicated by a link). Follow the on-screen instructions to complete this step.

    Once the update is complete, you might need to reactivate any plugins that were deactivated during the process.

    For Advanced Users: Manual Update

    If the one-click update fails, you can update WordPress manually using FTP (File Transfer Protocol). This method requires some technical knowledge:

    • Visit the WordPress.org website and download the latest version of the core software. 
    • Extract the downloaded zip file. You’ll find a folder named “WordPress” containing the core files.
    • Connect to your website using an FTP client and upload all the extracted files (except the “readme.html” and “wp-content” folders) to your root directory, overwriting existing files. (Make sure to backup the wp-config.php file before hand)

    Similar to the one-click update, you might need to perform a manual database upgrade by accessing a specific URL provided on-screen.

    Updating your WordPress core files will also fix any corrupted files that are slowing down the admin. So don’t underestimate the power of keeping your software up to date. Most of the problems you face, including a slow admin is already being solved most of the times by capable developers. Updating simply means now you have access to any and all the fixes.

    Remember: It’s always recommended to back up your website before any updates, just in case.

    By following these simple steps, you can ensure your WordPress core is up-to-date and your website remains secure and functioning optimally.

    Plugin and Theme Performance

    Next up, we have to ensure that the plugins and themes being used on our WordPress site are working in harmony.

    In general, plugins and themes are a double-edged sword for WordPress. They offer incredible functionality and customization, but can also be the culprit behind a sluggish admin dashboard.

    Let’s check out how to identify and address performance issues caused by plugins and themes:

    Inefficient Plugins

    Not all plugins are created equal. Some might be poorly coded, outdated, or simply not optimized for performance. These plugins can silently drag down your admin area’s speed.

    Here’s how to find them:

    • Use a Performance Plugin: Consider installing a plugin like Query Monitor or P3 Plugin Performance Profiler. These tools can pinpoint plugins causing database queries or slowdowns.
    • Deactivate Suspects: If you suspect a plugin, temporarily deactivate it and see if the admin dashboard feels faster. If it does, consider replacing the plugin with a better-optimized alternative.
    • Keep Plugins Updated: Outdated plugins can introduce compatibility issues and performance problems. Regularly update all your plugins to their latest versions.

    Theme and admin Bloat

    While feature-rich themes offer a lot of customization options, they can come at a cost. Complex themes with excessive code or unnecessary features can significantly slow down your admin experience. This is a pretty straightforward fix.

    First, you need to take a critical look at all the features your theme offers. Are you really using everything? Are you really using the quick draft widget to breathe life into your “spontaneous content ideas”?

    The answer will usually be no. If it is a no, consider deactivating unused widgets from the screen options at the top of the dashboard. This will remove the widget for your specific account.

    But what if you want to remove the widget or better yet stop it loading entirely for all the users across your website?

    WP Adminify has you covered. Download and activate the plugin and navigate to Widget settings ==> Dashboard Widgets. Here you can:

    hide unwanted WordPress Dashboard widget
    • Disable Widgets: Pick which widget you want to fully disable.
    • Set Visibility: Selectively apply these changes for all or specific users.

    It’s a similar approach for themes as well. Switch to a more lightweight theme that serves your needs without increasing CPU usage.

    Do keep in to test the change on a test site rather than your live site. Sudden theme changes on your live site can cause issues for your customers.

    Now, if you’re attached to your theme’s look and feel, explore creating a child theme. This allows you to make customizations without modifying the core theme files, keeping it clean and efficient.

    Plugin and Theme Conflicts

    Sometimes, incompatible plugins or themes can clash with each other, leading to performance issues like a slow admin dashboard. This can be caused by code conflicts or resource competition. Here’s how to address conflicts:

    • Deactivate and Reactivate: If you suspect a conflict, try deactivating all your plugins and then reactivating them one by one. This can help identify the problematic plugin.
    • Check Plugin Compatibility: Before installing a new plugin, research its compatibility with your current theme and other plugins.
    • Update for Harmony: Regularly update both plugins and themes. Updates often address compatibility issues and improve overall performance.

    Even though we’ve already mentioned this once. Do keep in mind to experiment with these changes on a test site as opposed to your live site.

    Checking and Updating Your Current PHP Version

    PHP is the programming language that powers WordPress. So consequentially, it is the 2nd most important base that needs covering.
    Just like WordPress itself, PHP releases regular updates that improve performance, address security vulnerabilities, and introduce new features. keeping your PHP version up to date usually ensures a smooth dashboard experience.

    To check the PHP version history, just go to the WordPress dashboard and navigate to Tools > Site Health. Under the Info tab, look for the PHP Version entry.

    Now lets look at how to update PHP. The process for updating PHP depends on your hosting provider. Here’s a general guideline:

    • Check Compatibility: Before updating, use a plugin like PHP Compatibility Checker to identify potential issues with your themes and plugins. Address any compatibility concerns before updating.
    • Backup Your Site: This isn’t the first time we’re saying this and it won’t be the last! Create a full website backup before updating anything.
    • Update from Cpanel: Most hosting providers offer a way to update your PHP version through their cPanel. Login to your hosting provider’s dashboard > Select the site you want to update > Get to the cPanel > Scroll down to the software section > Click on the “MultiPHP Manager“. Once there just select the version you want to use.
    MultiPHP INI Manager Editor

    Low PHP memory limit

    Before addressing the PHP memory limit it’s important that you know where to find it.

    To locate the PHP memory limit for your website just go to your WordPress dashboard, go to Tools ===> Site health.

    Check PHP memory limit from tools option

    Then navigate to ===> Info tab. Here you’ll find the PHP memory limit if you scroll down a little a click on Server.

    Check PHP memory limit from server info in site health

    This limitation is often configurable through your web hosting provider’s control panel. Increase the limit to a recommended value (256MB), but be cautious not to set it too high, which could introduce security risks. Consult your web hosting provider for guidance on appropriate values.

    However if you want to adjust the value yourself just navigate to your hosting account dashboard for example cPanel and locate the MultiPHP INI Editor under “Software”.

    increase PHP memory limit from multiphp ini editor

    Once there, choose your website from the top menu and then set the PHP memory limit to whatever you want.

    Insufficient Server Ram & Shared Hosting

    There are two pretty straightforward solutions to fixing an insufficient server RAM issue. Either you reduce your CPU usage or upgrade your hosting to a plan with greater server resources. Try to host your website with the best provider like Hostinger.

    Insufficient Server RAM

    Shared hosting plans are often the go-to choice for smaller businesses or ones that are just starting to keep their overheads low but sadly, running out of server resources is quite common for those using shared hosting plans; upgrading is usually the only way to solve this.

    Optimizing Your WordPress Database

    A big, messy database can slow down your WordPress admin. Here’s how you can clean it up:

    Use a Database Optimization Plugin: Install a plugin like WP-Optimize or Advanced Database Cleaner. These tools can help you:

    • Remove old post revisions
    • Delete spam and trashed comments
    • Clear out expired transients (temporary data)
    • Remove unused tags and categories

    Limit Post Revisions: WordPress saves multiple versions of your posts. This is helpful, but it can clutter your database. Add this line to your wp-config.php file to limit revisions:

    define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5);

    This keeps only the last 5 revisions of each post.

    Schedule Regular Cleanups: Set up your optimization plugin to run automatic cleanups weekly or monthly. This keeps your database tidy without you having to remember.

    Optimize Database Tables: Use your plugin or phpMyAdmin (if your hosting provides it) to optimize database tables. This process reorganizes the data storage, making it more efficient.

    Remove Unused Themes and Plugins: Delete any themes or plugins you’re not using. They often leave data in your database even when inactive.

    Clear Out Old Media: If you have old images or files you no longer use, delete them. This cleans up your media library and the related database entries.

    After cleaning up, you should notice your WordPress admin running faster. Remember to back up your database before making any big changes. This way, you can always restore if something goes wrong.

    Keeping your database clean is an ongoing task. Set a reminder to check and optimize it every few months to keep your WordPress admin speedy.

    Dealing with Database Corruption

    Sometimes, a slow WordPress admin can be caused by something more serious: database corruption. While this isn’t as common as other issues, it can really impact your site’s performance. Let’s look at how to spot and fix this problem.

    Signs of Database Corruption: You might have a corrupted database if you notice:

    • Error messages when trying to access certain pages
    • Missing content or scrambled text on your site
    • Inability to log in to your admin area
    • Extremely slow loading times across your site

    How to Fix It?

    Back Up Your Site: First things first. back up your entire site. This is crucial in case anything goes wrong during the repair process.

    Use WordPress’s Built-in Repair Tool:  WordPress has a handy repair tool hidden away. To use it:

    • Open your wp-config.php file
    • Add this line: define(‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true);
    • Save the file and upload it back to your server
    • Visit yourdomain.com/wp-admin/maint/repair.php
    • Choose “Repair Database” or “Repair and Optimize Database
    WordPress built in database repair tool

    Check If It Worked: After running the repair, see if your admin area is faster. If not, don’t worry – we have more options.

    WordPress Database Repair tool result

    Try a Database Plugin: Plugins like WP-DBManager can help repair and optimize your database. They’re user-friendly and can often fix issues the built-in tool misses.

    Restore from a Backup: If nothing else works, you might need to restore your site from a backup. This is why regular backups are so important!

    Get Professional Help: If you’re still stuck, it might be time to call in the experts. Your hosting provider or a WordPress professional can help diagnose and fix tricky database issues.

    Preventing Future Corruption

    To keep your database healthy:

    • Use a reliable hosting service
    • Keep WordPress, themes, and plugins up to date
    • Be careful when editing database files
    • Use a security plugin to protect against malware

    Remember, a healthy database means a faster WordPress admin. Regular maintenance can prevent most corruption issues before they start. If you do run into problems, don’t panic – follow these steps, and you’ll likely get your site back in shape in no time.

    Hide Your Login Page or Redirect the URL

    WordPress being a premier CMS faces up to 90,000 attacks per day.

    Brute force attacks on your website login page can severely paralyze your server resources. Every login attempt ties up a little bit of the CPU.

    Now imagine hundreds of login attempts coming into your server every second concurrently. It WILL take up all your server resources. The solution is a two pronged approach:

    • Hiding the Login URL: This can be achieved by editing core files (which can be risky if not done correctly) or using a security plugin.
    • Redirecting Login Attempts: Even if someone stumbles upon a hidden URL, redirecting them to a different page throws them off track.

    This is where a plugin like WP Adminify comes in handy again. As it handles both.

    WP Adminify's Redirect URLs Module

    WP Adminify's Redirect URLs Module

    The plugin’s Redirect URLs module allows you to easily set up a custom login URL and redirection. You can choose to redirect login attempts to a specific page (like a 404 page) or a custom-designed message, further deterring unauthorized access. This functionality, along with core optimizations, can create a more secure and streamlined admin experience.

    Utilize Caching Plugins

    Caching plugins store frequently accessed data, reducing the strain on your server. This translates to quicker page loads, and that benefit extends to the admin area as well.

    These plugins can minimize database queries and page refreshes by caching frequently used elements within the dashboard (without compromising security). The result? A some what smoother and more responsive admin experience.

    Having said all that, using a caching plugin to speed up the admin is a bit like dumping a bucket of water in the ocean and expecting a rise in sea level. The amount of resources saved through a caching plugin is pretty much negligible.

    So if you’ve exhausted all the other fixes in this guide then just knock yourself out with this one.

    Disable or Customize The WordPress Admin Bar

    The WordPress admin bar, also known as the Toolbar, offers a convenient way to access essential features and navigate your website from the front end. However, for some users, it can become cluttered or overwhelming, potentially slowing down the admin experience.

    Disabling vs Customization

    Disabling the Admin Bar is a pretty straightforward process. Just navigate the Users > Select “Edit” for the user you want to disable the admin bar for > Uncheck the “Show Toolbar when viewing site” option > Update profile settings.

    While completely disabling the Admin Bar might seem like a quick solution, it can remove functionalities some users rely on.

    Additionally, a completely blank admin bar might not be visually appealing. This is where the concept of customization comes in.

    Admin bar Editor plugin overview

    Introducing the Admin Bar Editor Plugin

    Instead of a complete shutdown, the Admin Bar Editor plugin empowers you to selectively customize the admin bar for a more streamlined and personalized experience. Here’s how it helps:

    • Fine-tune Functionality: Hide specific options or menus that you (or your team members) don’t use regularly. This declutters the interface and reduces distractions, potentially improving perceived performance.
    • User Role Management: Tailor the Admin Bar’s appearance for different user roles. New editors might benefit from seeing all options, while experienced administrators might prefer a more concise view.
    • Prioritize Your Workflow: Rearrange the Admin Bar elements with a drag-and-drop interface. Put the most-used features at your fingertips for a smoother workflow.
    • Embrace Personalization: Change the default logo or rename menu titles to better reflect your brand or personal preferences. These small touches can enhance your admin experience.

    You can even completely disable the admin bar on the front end using Admin Bar Editor. While disabling the admin bar might seem like the answer to a slow dashboard, the Admin Bar Editor plugin offers a more nuanced approach.

    By allowing you to customize the admin bar to your specific needs, it can help you strike a balance between convenience and performance.

    Tweak WordPress Heartbeat API Call Settings

    The WordPress admin dashboard thrives on constant communication. This back-and-forth exchange of data is powered by the Heartbeat API, which keeps features like auto-saving and post previews running smoothly. However, this constant communication can result in slowing down your admin.

    While the Heartbeat API offers valuable functionality, it’s important to find a balance between convenience and performance. Here’s how to optimize Heartbeat for a smoother admin experience:

    Reduce Heartbeat Frequency

    Several plugins allow you to adjust the frequency of Heartbeat API calls. This reduces the number of requests sent to your server, potentially improving performance. Popular options include:

    WP Rocket: Offers a Heartbeat Control feature within its settings.

    WP Rocket WordPress Heartbeat Frequency control

    Heartbeat Control: A dedicated plugin specifically designed to manage Heartbeat frequency.

    Disable Heartbeat for Specific Areas

    Some areas of the admin dashboard might not require constant Heartbeat communication. Plugins like those mentioned above often let you disable Heartbeat for specific sections like the post list or comments, further optimizing performance.

    Consider Alternatives

    For specific functionalities like auto-saving, explore alternative plugins that might offer a lighter-weight approach compared to relying solely on the Heartbeat API.

    Remember: Finding the optimal Heartbeat configuration depends on your specific website and needs. Start with small adjustments, monitor performance, and fine-tune accordingly. By optimizing Heartbeat, you can free up server resources and experience a more responsive WordPress admin dashboard.

    Final Thoughts

    A slow WordPress admin is nothing to despair about! If your admin performance is weighing down on your productivity then this guide can be the ultimate remedy for you. This guide arms you with knowledge about the common culprits behind a slow admin area and equips you with actionable solutions.

    From routine maintenance to advanced optimization techniques, this roadmap empowers you to reclaim control and experience a streamlined WordPress admin. So, take charge, optimize your admin panel, and get back to managing your website with ease!

    Avatar of Roy Jemee

    Roy Jemee

    Jemee is a dedicated content creator, video producer, and Support specialist for WP Adminify plugin users. With a passion for keeping the community informed, Jemee shares valuable insights through blog posts and engaging videos. Need assistance? Jemee is here to help you solve any WordPress-related challenges!

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