Troubleshooting A Slow-Loading WordPress Admin Panel

Recently, we had the great pleasure of diagnosing some mysterious issues which cropped up in a WordPress website that we had developed. While the frontend of the website was fine, the admin area had suddenly decided to slow down. In fact, the admin panel was so slow that pages would often take minutes to load! What was the error?

Well, we will tell you at the end of the article, but first, here are some ways to troubleshoot your slow-loading WP admin panel.

1. Disable Plugins

Sometimes plugins are the root of the problem, especially if they are incomplete, incompatible with your version, or rely on external data. In the latter case, they may cause sluggish behavior if the external data source becomes inaccessible.

To fix this, disable all plugins and see if your website speeds up. But sometimes, the admin panel is running TOO slow to allow access. In this case, you can disable your plugins by accessing your plugins folder located at /wp-content/plugins and renaming it.

Finally, if your website returns to normal during this process, go back and activate the plugins one-by-one to figure out which one was causing you problems.

2. Check With The Host

If the problem truly seemed to come out of nowhere, it could be your web host. Sometimes hosts are performing some maintenance, or may even change some configuration settings on your server. Or in some cases, if you are on a shared server, you might be being affected by other customers who are exceeding their resource limits.

In most cases like this, just waiting a while can solve the problem. However, if the server configuration was updated, you might need to seek out and chat with the support provided by your webhost.

3. Upgrade to the Latest Version

One other potential cause for a slow-loading website is if some necessary files have been corrupted or deleted. Or even worse, your WordPress installation might have been compromised by enterprising hackers. To fix this problem, simply upgrade.

Before upgrading, be sure to backup all files and verify that your current theme and plugins are compatible.

4. Optimize the Database

Perhaps your database is causing the problem. To fix this issue, you can use a handy plugin WP-DBManager to help fix any database errors and optimize it for best performance.

5. Verify That it Isn’t A Connectivity Issue

In some odd cases, a slow admin panel might be related to an internet-connectivity issue. To test for this, you can do one of the following things:

  1. If using a router, try connecting to the internet directly.
  2. Access your admin panel using an anonymous browser to see if you are having ISP-related issues.
  3. Contact your ISP directly.

6. Go Turbo

Depending on which version of WordPress you use, you might have the option to go Turbo. (You should see a link on the upper right hand panel in your admin area.)

Turbo takes advantage of Google Gears, which adds special features to your browser. Once you install and enable Gears, your WordPress admin panel will be faster because all of the the bulky scripts, images, and CSS files will be stored locally on your computer.

 

Now back to our issue, what was the problem with the website that we were troubleshooting? Plugins.

When we navigated to the plugin page, we noticed that additional plugins had been installed. The problem was that these plugins were incompatible with the version of WordPress that the site was using. And in one case, not all plugin files were present. But upon upgrade of all plugins, the admin panel speed was restored.

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26 Responses to “Troubleshooting A Slow-Loading WordPress Admin Panel”

  • stratosg January 8, 2009 at 8:10 am

    i love troubleshooting… you never know what you will come up with :D

    • Velvet Blues January 8, 2009 at 8:17 am

      I don’t know if I’d say that I love troubleshooting. But it is satisfying when you’ve isolated the problem.

  • Yan@Review January 8, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I’ve been wanting to push that “TURBO” button but I wasn’t too sure what it was. OK, I’m off to do it now. Thanks for the reminder, Shirley.

    Yan

    • Velvet Blues January 8, 2009 at 10:11 pm

      Yeh I find that very few people use the ‘Turbo’ option. But it is useful, especially if you are on a slower internet connection.

      Btw, it appears that you’ve been all over the blogosphere lately. Busy busy busy. :-) I just checked out the SponsorReview.com site.

  • Kurt Avish January 8, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Even I was hesitating a bit about that Turbo stuff. Gonna activate it today then. :-) Btw Troubleshooting is fun only when you find a solution…but at time we can go crazy trying to find a solution that is not coming by :-)

    • Velvet Blues January 9, 2009 at 1:32 am

      Yes, I was initially hesitant to ‘mess’ with Turbo too. But when I upgraded to 2.7, I decided to also take advantage of all of WP’s features. :-)

      And yes, troubleshooting can be exasperating. I’m the kind of person that will think about a problem non-stop until it has been resolved, even while I am doing other things.

      • Kurt Avish January 11, 2009 at 7:52 am

        Lol. I think we share the same addiction then. The disease to find a solution.

        I have the tendency to do like this for everything. Normally when I start working on something, I got to finish it as soon as I can and with perfection else I cant sleep. And if I do sleep then…its nightmare about it lol.

        Another big problem is that I get ideas too often to do new things. Gonna look for a cure to stop the ideas overflow lol. For example you just said above about a website or blog page which keeps a running list of plugins which slow down the admin area. :p

        No no. I’ll keep that aside this time. I still have to complete my university final year project on AI chatterbot. :-)

        • Velvet Blues January 11, 2009 at 8:21 am

          Yes, I have that problem too. Unfortunately, there’s never enough time to make every idea happen. So I have a running list over here that gets longer by the day, and it has very few items completed. :-)

  • Nihar January 9, 2009 at 6:03 am

    Nice post. I think it would help for those who are looking for troubleshooting the slow loading of wordpress admin panel.

    I would like to add my experience. I had this problem before and i followed the same process and found out that Bad Bahaviour plugin was the culprit and i disabled that plugin and got my admin panel to work properly as before.

    • Velvet Blues January 9, 2009 at 8:31 am

      Great tip. You know, there should be a website or blog page which keeps a running list of plugins which slow down the admin area.

  • Kim Woodbridge January 12, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    So, do you think turbo is worth it? I haven’t tried it because I rarely have connection problems and I don’t travel but I am curious about it.

    I frequently recommend that users disable plugins when they are having this type of issue and they are so hesitant to do so – do you run into this?

    • Velvet Blues January 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm

      Turbo is typically only worth it on slow connections. For example, it’d make a huge difference on dialup and wireless, as well as some cable or dsl connections.

      And yes, in most cases slowness is due to plugins. So I’d always start with that. In this case, for example, my client had installed additional plugins on their own which were incompatible. So, it causes some problems. (I foolishly assumed that they hadn’t done anything, so I went through an entire checklist of possible causes before I checked out the plugins. lol.)

  • Ben Pei January 18, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Thats cool.. I didn’t know there was a turbo function. Something new I learnt today haha..

    • Velvet Blues January 19, 2009 at 7:53 am

      Yes, its sort of hidden in the upper right of your dashboard. And most people don’t use it, so it is rarely talked about.

  • Ajay Kumar Singh January 20, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing info.
    For me it was Turbo which worked for the admin.
    however the website still loads too slow and I can’t figure out what is wrong with it.

    Any tips on front slow loading issues?

    • Velvet Blues January 20, 2009 at 7:48 pm

      Thanks for visiting. We have an article about troubleshooting a slow WordPress website. You can check it out here: http://www.velvetblues.com/web-development-blog/how-to-make-your-wordpress-website-load-faster/

  • James Itokazu February 2, 2009 at 1:38 am

    I had an issue recently. I did remove my plugins folder temporarily and the issue went away, but I wanted to see what the real issue was. In my case, I found that some code in the site and plugins were trying to resolve the site by dns and then trying to access the site. It was basically trying to access itself by its external ip address and timing out. The server is on a private IP range and is Natted to the internet. The location’s router did not allow this communication to occur. After adding the web sites domain names to the servers host file, the site became very fast once again, since the private IP was being used instead.

  • mahen February 25, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    The plugins show that it is not tested for this version of wordpress, can it be a possible reason of slow admin pages???

  • This Eclectic Life April 22, 2009 at 8:19 am

    You saved me! I couldn’t figure out why my blog seemed so slow (when the same theme on my test site loaded like lightning). Last night, I turned off every plug in and turned them back on (one at a time). Yes, there it was. My comment form was the culprit. It wasn’t configured correctly, and I don’t know how to repair it so it “went away.”

    Thank you for this info. It was very useful, and I don’t know what I would have done without you.

  • Jason June 14, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Ok, well. I am writing this comment as I’m waiting for my wordpress admin screen to load.

    I disabled plugin’ and everything but it is still not going any faster. I want to blame GoDaddy but I bet that will be difficult to do.

    Thanks for the ideas. I am testing the Database manager plugin now.

  • John Adams July 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    No, you don’t add turbo by adding Google Gears because you can’t demand this of your visitors, and you need to be using the browser that the least well-equipped of your visitors will be using. Very poor advice.
    .
    If your WordPress website is running slowly, get the Firebug add-on for Firefox and troubleshoot it. My friend did this and discovered that the “Automatic Upgrade” plugin was adding 18 seconds the execution time of most functions such as logging-in./

  • Melissa C. August 16, 2010 at 4:16 am

    Hello,

    Thanks so much for this post…very informative. I’ve done a tracert to my website and noticed that I timed out at the #2, #4 and #5 spots. I was noticing that my blog took forever to load, especially at night. Well, that’s not really true. I would just get the loading… and waiting to connect… messages that would take forever. Then, once everything connected, my blog loaded fast. Do you know what I can do to correct this problem? It affects my load time in both my site and WordPress dashboard.

  • Joshua April 5, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I found that old entries in our /etc/hosts file redirected traffic back out to our external IP address. By removing them it fixed the slow wp-admin.

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