I changed themes mid December, and according to googlebot’s stats, pages have been taking twice as long to load since then. This got me thinking. What was it I added that caused this? Surely I didn’t make the pages twice as heavy?
- The new theme was coded from scratch, but the average page isn’t much heavier.
- I haven’t moved to a new host or server.
- I’m still using WP-Super-cache, no change there either.
- The “get recent comments” plugin adds a few database queries, but I didn’t add that until a few days after the jump in the graph above.
- Although one of my reasons for the redesign was to be able to fit more widgets, I’m currently still using the same ones.
The only other major addition is that this blog now supports gravatars. That means a whole lot of extra images to load, but does Googlebot even load images? For anything but the image search, it wouldn’t have to, right? Another clue is that WP-Super-cache reports page generation times of around half a second. Pretty speedy, and that’s only if the page needs to be generated at all. Most of the time it won’t need to.
For now I’m going to blame it on the gravatars. Load times of around 1000ms aren’t bad, so I’m not considering any changes to the theme, but I guess I need to watch this to see if things get worse.
UPDATE2: As it turns out, it was hosting related. Apparently the server where this blog is located became slow on the very same day I made my changes. See the very last bit of the graph? It was already starting to return to normal when I took that screenshot.