Why My WordPress Admin Dashboard is Too Slow?

Running a WordPress site is not an easy task. One of the pain problems with WordPress is working with the slow admin dashboard. This will affect your productivity as you need to regularly work on the admin panel for publishing content. If you are struggling with slow admin dashboard, here are few reasons and tips to speed up.

Related: Beginners guide to WordPress admin panel.

WordPress Backend and Frontend

Remember, we talk about optimizing the admin panel which is the backend of your site. If you are looking for optimizing page load time, checkout our article on things that could kill the speed of your frontend. WordPress backend uses the styles and scripts from wp-admin folder to load admin functions. You can check the wp-admin folder content by downloading the WordPress package from the official site or by logging into your server using FTP.

Besides the core components, the admin page loading time also depends on specific theme and plugins installed on your site.

Fix Slow WordPress Admin Dashboard and Post Editor

  1. Check internet connection
  2. Poor hosting
  3. Disable dashboard widgets
  4. Disable options with Screen Options
  5. Avoid using heavy theme and plugins
  6. Cleanup database
  7. Disable heartbeat API
  8. Upgrade PHP and WordPress
  9. Check caching setting
  10. Reinstall WordPress admin

1. Blocked or Slow Connection

The first thing you need to check when noticing slow WordPress admin panel is to check your internet connection. Slow internet connection will affect the loading of admin scripts and take long time to load them. Make sure, you are using strong Wi-Fi network or using cable to connect your computer to internet.

2. Poor Hosting

Many of us think hosting, plugins and themes will affect the frontend loading time of WordPress site. However, the truth is factors like poor hosting will affect the backend heavily compared to frontend.

Unlike frontend pages, the WordPress backend is not cached. This means, every page is loaded by fetching the data from database. Therefore, the backend speed highly depends on the hosting power that allows you to fetch and load the data fast. Using poor hosting will impact the speed, which is especially true for larger websites using shared hosting.

If you get good traffic, consider moving to cloud or dedicated server. This will help users to load frontend pages faster and you can also use the admin dashboard without issues.

3. Disable Dashboard Widget

By default, you will see the dashboard section when logging into WordPress admin panel. Many plugins and commercial themes will add widgets to the dashboard. This will drastically pull the speed down during startup. For example, the popular WooCommerce plugin will add tracking widget in dashboard. Similarly, Yoast SEO plugin will add quick status widget. These widgets will dynamically get the data when logging in and slow down the admin panel.

  • Click on the “Screen Options” button showing on top of the right corner.
  • Unselect the unnecessary options to remove those widgets from loading at startup.
Disable Widgets in Dashboard
Disable Widgets in Dashboard

Now, you will feel the login is faster without those unnecessary widgets on the dashboard.

4. Disable Unnecessary Screen Options

Similar to dashboard section, each screen has lot of options in WordPress admin panel. For example, “All Posts” section will show the list of posts with multiple columns like featured image, categories, tags, published date, etc. You can use the screen options to disable unnecessary options to load the page faster.

Screen Options in All Posts Page
Screen Options in All Posts Page

You can also disable the quick access menus added by plugins and themes on the top bar.

5. Heavy Themes and Plugins

Commercial themes offer a custom panel for customizing your site. The first requirement for using such a custom panel is to increase PHP execution and memory limit on your server. Without explaining, you can understand these themes load heavy scripts on the admin panel. We strongly recommend to use the default WordPress customizer, instead of using themes that offer additional custom panels.

As already mentioned, all popular plugins will load scripts on the admin pages. You can view the source code of your admin page by right clicking and selecting “Inspect” or “Inspect Element” option. You will be surprised to see all plugins from wp-content folder will load some sort of CSS/scripts on your admin pages.

View Source in Admin Page
View Source in Admin Page

Therefore, use simple plugins and theme especially if you are using shared hosting server

6. Disable Heartbeat API

Plugins use heartbeat API in WordPress to get real-time updates to the dashboard widgets. Good example is a WooCommerce plugin that will show the live sales numbers in the dashboard widget. Check whether you need to have live data, otherwise disable heartbeat API to reduce load on your server. This will also help to improve the page loading time of your admin pages.

7. Cleanup Database

As mentioned before, admin pages will load dynamically by querying the database. Large database with unnecessary entries will increase the query execution time and hence delay the loading of admin pages. Yoast, WooCommerce and many other plugins will add database tables and entries in wp_options table to load the resources on all pages. This is annoying as you don’t need to have these plugins on many of the admin pages.

The best solution is to clean up the database regularly to delete expired entries like transients. Also, deleing the plugins will not remove the database table and entries. Therefore, check whether any unused content is still hanging on your database and delete them to improve the performance.  

8. That PHP Stuffs

WordPress is nothing but PHP scripts that helps to assemble content from the backend database. PHP as a scripting language has a life cycle and upgraded continuously. Hence, check your WordPress and PHP versions are up to date to avoid slow admin pages. Remember, PHP 7 is multi-fold faster than PHP 5.6 in terms of database query execution time. Thus, using the old PHP versions could be the potential reason for slowing down your dashboard.

Note: You have to update WordPress core, PHP version on your server, theme and plugins used on your site. You can use the “Site Health” feature to check whether any incompatibilities issues hindering your site. Consult with you host, if you need to change the PHP parameters like MAX_INPUT_VARS, memory limit or any other value in php.ini file.  

9. Check Caching Setting

Admin pages are not cached by default. However, plugins like W3TC allows you to setup object and DB caching that will cache all individual objects. This is meant for reducing query execution time, however put load on your server. In most shared hosting scenarios, this will potentially slow down the site as well as admin panel. Disable these options and check whether it helps to load the admin pages faster.

In addition, if you use caching plugin, we recommend to disable caching of pages for admin user to avoid problems when editing and viewing the modified content.

10. Reinstall WordPress admin

As mentioned, WordPress uses the content from wp-admin folder to assemble admin pages. Therefore, simply overwriting wp-admin folder may help to overcome corrupted files and load the pages quickly.

  • You can download the WordPress package from official site and extract the wp-admin folder.
  • Login to your server using FTP and rename the wp-admin folder to something like old-wp-admin.
  • Now upload the wp-admin folder from the package to your server.
  • Login back to your dashboard and check whether the pages are loading faster.
  • If something is not working, rename wp-admin folder to new-wp-admin and change the old-wp-admin folder to wp-admin.

We don’t recommend this as the root cause of the slowdown in most cases is PHP, database, hosting, plugins and themes.

Editorial Staff at WebNots are team members who love to build websites and share the learning with webmasters community. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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