How to optimize your BuddyPress site

BuddyPress powers some of the world’s largest communities like TastyKitchen (part of BlogHer and owned by Penske Media Corporation), Independent Fashion Bloggers, and more which have thousands of monthly active members and attract millions of visitors per month. Part of it is because of the popularity of WordPress and the large user community around it.

But like any other website that serves thousands of visitors per month, BuddyPress is a bit resource-heavy too. This is because BuddyPress primarily has to deal with profiles, groups, messages, user-generated content and all the connection between them. This leads to large database size and the need for more memory and processing power.

All this is just one part of optimizing your BuddyPress site. Apart from this, you should also optimize your BuddyPress site at scale for search engines, site speed, security, and performance.

By doing so, you can provide users a good experience on your site, improve your organic traffic, keep your site running even when there’s a surge in site traffic, and more.

If you are looking for an agency partner to help you optimize your BuddyPress site, we can help you with that.

Search Engine Optimization

The first and foremost optimization you need to do is search engine optimization. It plays a major role in improving the organic traffic to your website. By allowing search engines to index user-generated content on your site, you can attract more visitors and convert them into users by making them signup to get full access to your site. That’s how most of the community-based sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn work.

Also, to prevent your site from getting penalized for thin pages, duplicate content, and spam, you can add the ‘noindex’ tag to pages/content types on your site that you don’t want to appear in search engine results. Finally, the most important step – you can manually set meta titles and descriptions focusing on your target keywords.

Suggested WordPress plugin: Yoast SEO

Database Speed

Maintaining a healthy database is important to keep your site running in top condition. Running intensive queries all the time can wear down the database’s performance and lead to slower response time or even database failure.

To keep your database running in an efficient condition, you should cache the queries. So, the next time your database is faced with the same query, it can just return the output without spending time on it again. The best way to do this would be by enabling Memcache/Memcached on your database server.

Suggested WordPress plugins: W3 Total Cache, Memcached, or any other caching plugin with support for object cache.

Caching

Page load time is an important ranking factor for search engines. But more than that, it impacts the user experience on your site. To speed things up for logged out users and bots, you can serve cached copies of your web pages. And remember to enforce proper rules for caching or you may be left with serving stale content to users.

You can also enable browser caching and Gzip/Brotli compression to further reduce the time load time. Browser caching allows web browsers to cache the static files like images, CSS, and JavaScript on your site while reducing the number of requests made to your server. Also, the pages will appear to load faster for users after the first time.

Memory Limit

WordPress is a dynamic application that runs on PHP and MySQL. It needs memory to execute requests based on the size of the site and the features that are used. If your site is memory-heavy, you can easily run out of memory. To prevent this from happening, you can increase your WordPress limit as long as it falls within the allowed PHP memory limit on your server.

SiteGround, a popular web hosting company offers a PHP memory limit of 768MB for BuddyPress hosting which is thrice the memory limit usually offered by most hosts for WordPress. Your site may need more memory than this depending on the scripts you run.

CDN

Making your site available for users across the globe and providing them with a consistent user experience no matter where they are is really important.

By using a content delivery network, you can speed up your site load time for visitors across the globe by reducing latency and serving a cached copy of your web pages from one of the many POPs (Points Of Presence) it offers. This can also greatly reduce the number of hits to your server, especially from bots and protect your website from sudden spikes in traffic.

Suggested CDN providers: Cloudflare and Amazon Cloudfront

Security

To protect your users from malicious actors and safeguard data on your site, you need to protect your BuddyPress site from unwanted access by improving your site’s security.

You can start with hardening WordPress by installing a security plugin and following good security practices. This can help keep your application secure from basic threats but not from hackers and bots which employ advanced attack vectors. To withstand these vectors, you need proper security rules in place.

Recommended security plugins: Wordfence or Sucuri Security

Code Optimization

To improve your BuddyPress site’s overall performance, you should optimize the code used on your site. To find issues with your code, site structure, and algorithms that are affecting your site’s performance and address them on time, you should perform a comprehensive site audit.

Apart from that, you can also optimize your CSS and JavaScript by aggregating and minifying it. A word of caution though – if you don’t test and implement CSS and JavaScript minification properly, it can break your site.

Suggested WordPress plugin: Autoptimize

Offloading media files

Allowing people to upload media files on your site can easily take up a huge chunk of your server’s allocated disk storage. To prevent your server from getting choked with these user-generated media files, you can offload them to Amazon S3 or any other storage service of your choice. This can further be configured to work with any CDN you might already be using for caching.

Recommended WordPress plugin: rtAmazon S3

Keep your database clean

Keeping your database clean and optimized can significantly improve its performance. To start with cleaning your database, you should be limiting the number of revisions and clear them once in a while, delete orphaned metadata and leftover tables.

Recommended WordPress plugin: WP-Optimize

Other things you can do

Apart from following the above steps to optimize your BuddyPress site, you can try cutting down on the number of plugins you use on your site by choosing a plugin like rtMedia. rtMedia allows you to install add-ons for only the features you need on your BuddyPress site thereby reducing the need for loading unused code on your site.

Also, you can enable support for native lazyloading using Google’s official plugin and host your live chat application externally using a third-party service.


Feeling overwhelmed by all this?

Send us a message and we can help you with BuddyPress optimization and more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *