[theme-reviewers] Proposal for a new guideline and plugin function

Otto otto at ottodestruct.com
Tue Apr 24 15:35:09 UTC 2012

On Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 9:28 AM, Robb Shecter <robb at weblaws.org> wrote:
> Yes, I guess so ... but now talking about a CDN means we're talking about
> well funded, pro users, and that's not really my concern here. I'm thinking
> about both novice as well as technically savvy users who are simply starting
> a new blog as I was. I just wanted a reliable WP install, and I thought I
> was being conservative: installing only WP, a featured theme from the Admin
> panel, and a single plugin, Akismet.
> It turns out that this setup is *not* reliable; in fact, it could lock you
> out of your server.


While I agree that a theme serving 36 static images on a
single-page-load is stupid, this is not the primary problem here.

Server configuration is a highly complex topic. Yes, a default Apache
install using mod_php or even FastCGI would choke and die under such a
load, and that's what you get for getting cheap shared hosting. No
amount of theme optimization is going to save you there though, and
even though your case had a problem with serving static files, other
cases won't. *This is a problem with your setup, not with the theme*.
You have to have your setup capable of handling the expected load. A
well-setup server using nginx and perhaps proxy caching, along with an
object caching plugin (like W3 Total Cache, which I use), could handle
that sort of load just fine, even with a good redditing (hyeh hyeh

Bottom line: If you care about your website working at all, then it's
worth more than $20 a month. "Well-funded"? For under $30 a month you
can get a hosting account that will handle very large loads of 300k+
visitors, easily. If you're wedded to your $5 plan, then yeah, you're
going to fail under large traffic. No amount of optimization of your
PHP code will fix that. What you've fixed by switching themes is
temporary, at best. You got the site working again, but you didn't
really fix the underlying problem.

> I guess that for me, I'd sum it up like this: Wordpress is making a promise
> to users. That, out of the box, it'll work well. Not well enough to handle
> true slashdotting or front page of cnn.com, but well enough for small
> traffic and the occasional link from Hacker News.

No, WordPress is not making that promise, because that promise is
completely unrealistic. On most shared hosting I've seen, even 100%
static sites will fail under a moderate load. Shared hosting is
oversold to hell, slow, and frequently buggy. If you expect to get any
real traffic, then you need to switch to a higher tier. Maybe a VPS.


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