Day Four: Post revisions, pingbacks and trackbacks – how they affect our website speed and do we really need them

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Do you know what are WordPress post revisions, pingbacks and trackbacks and most important, how they affect our website speed? No? Just keep reading, keep reading.

There is a WordPress revision system which allows you to return to old versions of articles, view them and even restore them. In addition to the autosave of the posts and pages, revisions are generated each time you save your articles. For example, this means that an article with ten revisions will take up ten times as much room on your database than the actual article that was published. As you can understand, this will also increase the size of your database considerably.

It is known that the stored revision entries in the database could affect queries spawned by some plugins. Luckily WPCacheOn is not from these plugins as our plugin do not interact with the database at all. However when seek website speed we should not skip the post revisions.

By default, WordPress will save an unlimited number of revisions, however this is generally not needed. The better option is to reduce this limit to more practical value such as two or three.

Of course WordPress is built smart and it is easy to limit the number of revisions that WordPress keeps for each article. All you need to perform is adding one line of code in your website wp-config.php file. The line of code in question is:

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 3 );

IMPORTANT: Make sure that this line is added anywhere after the <?php line of code.

The above code will set a limit for your WordPress to save only the last three revisions of each post and page. The older revisions will be automatically discarded. If your hosting provider uses cPanel you can perform such changes very easy through the File Manager. The other easy option to perform such minor edit is via the FTP service. The last but not least option is to contact your hosting provider and ask their team to perform this change for you.

Pingbacks and trackbacks are two of the core WordPress components. You can read about them on the official pages, but basically, this is the WordPress’ way of communicating with other WordPress websites. They are used to alert you if your blog or page receives a link. These features might sound useful, but you also have free tools such as Google Webmaster which can check the links of your website without causing any speed issues.

Keeping WordPress pingbacks and trackbacks enabled can also cause higher allocation of your server resources. This is happening because when someone tries to link up to your site, it will generate requests from WordPress back and forth. The downside though is that this functionality is also widely abused when targeting a website with DDoS attacks or spam exploits.

These WordPress options can be deactivated from the admin dashboard > Settings > Discussion. Once you are on this page simply deselect “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles” and “Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article” checkboxes. Do not forget to press the “Save Changes” button on the bottom of the page to preserve these changes. Disabling them all together is a quick fix that can speed up your site, as the WordPress software will not have to deal with them any longer.

And this is how in our fourth day of WordPress Week of Speed at WPCacheOn we have optimized the performance of our website easily with only a few clicks. Have you heard about WordPress revisions, pingbacks and trackbacks before? Do you use them or have any experience with pingbacks and trackbacks? We would love to hear this in the comment section.

Tomorrow in the fifth day of the WordPress Week of Speed at WPCacheOn we will review the “Content Delivery Network or CDN. Is it only for enterprise websites or anyone can use it too? What is the CDN service and how to configure it for my WordPress website” and we will show you how to change the configuration for up to 50% faster loading website and better user experience. If you have missed any of the previous optimization articles, about choosing a good hosting service for your website, optimizing WordPress database and using WPCacheOn to optimize your website, ensure to check them so you can have faster website with better user experience.