Archive for the ‘WordPress Sites’ Category

Speedy WordPress

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

I’ve been building WordPress sites for a long time – over 5 years, anyway. I’ve learned more and more about all the nifty ways to leverage what WordPress does well, and work around what it doesn’t do well. It has been a moving target… What’s recommended in 2007 is no longer true in 2011.

Also, since virtually all of my clients from back then are still clients, their sites have grown! Following my advice of posting twice per week would generate over 100 posts per year! Sites like, which started out pretty big, now have enormous databases.

Time to speed things up: WP Super Cache is a plugin that basically takes unchanged posts out of the database and puts them in cached HTML, ready to serve much more quickly… no database query means lots of saved server processes, and a snappier response.

Also, the old advice of making URLs pretty by using /%category%/%postname%/ turns out to work the database pretty hard, too. Although the cache program reduces the number of trips to the database, it still would be nice if it were quicker… and recent details from the Google guys about search performance suggest that dropping the /%category%/ part will actually improve your search results on the basis that the shortest distance between the base url (like and the keyword-laden post name (like ‘/10-reasons-to-blog’) is the best policy from Google’s point of view. Even though the category is a generally going to be a significant keyword, I guess the extra ‘/’ tells Google it’s of lesser importance than the info after the final ‘/’… i.e. the postname.

So we now are dropping the /%category%/ from new blogs. If you want to remove them from old blogs, be sure to use a tool like ‘Redirect’, or .htaccess to be sure old links still find the same posts they always did. For a big site this is a nontrivial task!

WordPress Form bugs (cforms, Contact Form 7)

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

I posted, awhile back, on the WordPress forums, that I was having some trouble with Cforms, Contact Form 7 and WordPress other forms plugins. I’ve had two people contact me asking how I resolved the problems. Here’s what I said in the most recent reply (slightly expanded):

It was quite an adventure. I abandoned plugins for awhile, creating the forms from scratch (custom WP template, with standard PHP/MySQL form processing) which was a pain, then I found this: Gravity Forms.

It cost a little money, but it’s really great, and the cost is more than made up for the time saved and the slick functionality.

I’m planning to get a developers license and use it on all my sites.

The problem turned out to be a combination of things:
a) The client chose a Windows server, which couldn’t use the PHP mail() function. This can be resolved with a plugin that does SMTP.
b) GoDaddy requires that the email account of any outgoing mail from their servers be a GoDaddy email account (hosted on their mailservers). We set up an “” address and used it as ‘from’ address.
c) There was a conflict with some jQuery that caused the little “sending” animation to hang the browser. I never sorted this one out.

Eventually I got the client to move the account (I donated my time) onto A2hosting which sped up the site quite a bit, and got me a standard CPanel hosting interface, and avoids all the mega-annoying GoDaddy advertising. Now it’s all rosy.

At this point I’ve used Gravity Forms for only one site, but I liked it a lot, and have had no problems with it. However, I used it on a Linux server on, not GoDaddy.