How to Fix a Slow Loading WordPress Dashboard (Step by Step)

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Is your WordPress dashboard loading too slow?

Having a slow loading WordPress dashboard is annoying, and it hurts overall productivity when it comes to creating content and managing your website. Also the underlying cause of a slow WordPress dashboard can also impact your website conversions.

In this article, we’ll show you how to easily fix a slow loading WordPress dashboard, step by step.

A slow loading WordPress dashboard can be caused by a number of reasons, but the most common one is limited server resources.

However, as your WordPress website grows, you may notice slight performance degradation or slower loading across the board. That’s because more people are now accessing your website and consuming server resources.

However, the WordPress admin area is uncached, so it requires more resources to run at the optimal level.

If your WordPress dashboard has become annoyingly slow, then this means a WordPress plugin, a default setting, or something else on the site is consuming too many resources.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to troubleshoot and fix the slow loading WordPress admin dashboard.

Here is an overview of the steps we’ll cover in this article.

Before making any changes, it’s important to measure the speed of your WordPress admin area, so you can get an objective measurement of any improvement.

However, the WordPress admin area is behind a login screen, so you cannot use the same tools to test it.

Luckily, many modern desktop browsers come with built-in tools to test the performance of any web page you want.

For example, if you’re using Google Chrome, then you can simply go to the WordPress dashboard and open the Inspect tool by right-clicking anywhere on the page.

This will split your browser screen and you will see the Inspect area in the other window either at the bottom or side of your browser window.

Inside the Inspect tool, switch to the Lighthouse tab and click on the Generate Report button.

This will generate a report similar to the Web Vitals report generated by Page Speed Insights.

From here, you can see what’s slowing down your WordPress admin area. For instance, you can see which JavaScript files are taking up more resources and affecting your server’s initial response time.

The core WordPress team works hard on improving performance with each WordPress release.

If you are not installing WordPress updates, then you are missing out on these performance improvements.

To install updates, simply go to Dashboard » Updates page to install any available updates.

Now, just like WordPress, PHP also releases new versions with significant performance improvements. By using an older version, you are missing that performance boost.

You can view which PHP version is used by your hosting provider by visiting the Tools » Site Health page from your WordPress dashboard and switching to the ‘Info’ tab.

Luckily, all reliable WordPress hosting providers offer an easy way for customers to upgrade their PHP version.

From here, you need to click on the MultiPHP Manager icon under the Software section.

Your web hosting server is like any other computer. It needs memory to efficiently run multiple applications at the same time.

If there is not enough memory available for PHP on your server, then it would slow down your website and may even cause it to crash.

You can check the PHP memory limit by visiting Tools » Site Health page and switching to the Info tab.

You’ll find PHP memory limit under the Server section. If it is less than 500M, then you need to increase it.

Upon activation, the plugin will add a new menu item to your WordPress toolbar.

Clicking on it will show performance results for the page you are currently viewing on your website.

This will bring up the Query Monitor console.

Here you need to switch to ‘Queries by Component’ tab on the left side. From here, you can see the performance impact of plugins and find out which one is taking up too many resources.

You can now temporarily disable the slow plugins and see if that improves performance.

WordPress caching plugins not only improve your website speed, but they can also help you fix a slow loading admin dashboard.

A good WordPress caching plugin helps you optimize page load speed, CSS and JavaScript delivery, your WordPress database, and more.

This frees up resources on your WordPress hosting server that your WordPress admin area can utilize for improved performance.

Some WordPress plugins add their own widgets to the dashboard screen as well. If you have a lot of these widgets loading on your dashboard, it could slow things down.

You can turn off these widgets by simply clicking on the Screen Options button and unchecking the box next to the widgets.

Similarly, you can use the Screen Options menu to show and hide sections on different admin screens.

For instance, you can choose the columns you want to see on the posts screen.

For instance, you can turn off the WooCommerce dashboard widget by clicking on the Screen Options menu.

Similarly, you can change the information displayed on the Products page.

These automated scripts access WordPress login pages and attempt to login hundreds of times in a short amount of time.

They may not be able to gain access to your WordPress website, but they would still be able to slow it down.

Next, you need to locate wp-admin directory (usually found inside public_html folder).

Then simply click on the Edit button next to it.

Next, you will be asked to provide a name for your protected directory.

Click on the Save button to continue. The control panel will save your options and you’ll need to click on the Go Back button to continue.

After that, you will need to create username and password for the protected folder.

Now, when you visit your WordPress admin area, you will be prompted to enter username and password.

Password Protect WordPress Login Page

Next, you would want to block access to WordPress login page. For this, you’ll need to manually edit .htaccess file on your website and generate a password file.

First, connect to your WordPress website using an FTP client or the File Manager app inside your hosting control panel.

After that, go to the root folder of your website (the root folder is where you can see the wp-admin, wp-includes, and wp-content folders).

Here you need to create a new file and name it .htpasswd.

You need to use the same username and password that you used for the WordPress admin directory.

Then click on the Generate button.

The tool will generate a username and password string under the output box.

You need to copy and paste this string inside the .htpasswd file you created earlier.

Don’t forget to replace jsmith with your own username and change AuthUserFile value with the path to your .htpasswd file. You can find it inside the File Manager app.

The WordPress block editor comes with built-in autosave feature. It allows you to easily restore your content in case you close the editor without saving your changes.

However, if multiple users are working on your website during peak traffic, then all those autosave requests will slow down WordPress admin area.

Now autosave is a crucial feature and we don’t recommend turning it off. However, you can slow it down to reduce the performance impact.

Simply add the following line to your wp-config.php file.

This line simply tells WordPress to run autosave once every 2 minutes (120 seconds) instead of 1.

Reduce Heartbeat API Calls

By default, the API pings back every 60 seconds. If multiple authors are working on your website at the same time, then these server calls can become resource-intensive.

If you are already using WP Rocket, then it will automatically reduce heartbeat API activity to pingback every 120 seconds.

We recommend reducing them to at least 120 seconds or more.

All WordPress performance issues depend on the infrastructure provided by your WordPress hosting providers.

This limits your ability to improve performance to the resources offered by your hosting provider.

The above tips will certainly help you reduce load on your WordPress server, but it may not be enough for your hosting environment.

However, as your website grows you may need to upgrade your hosting plan.

At WPBeginner, we use SiteGround to host our website.

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