Tips to Optimize WordPress on Azure

Few months ago, I moved my blog to WordPress on Azure. I am not a WordPress expert, not even near to it but as hosting is charged or free for limited configuration, it is better to optimize and leverage the current resources first before scaling out on cloud.

So I would like to share few tips based on my experience. Just a bit background, I mostly blog for technical stuff so I used a lot of images and code snippets to transfer my message.

1. Utilize free online storage for Images

Content like images can take relatively large percentage of your space and bandwidth. Instead of adding media to WordPress, try utilizing online service like Flickr, DropBox, SkyDrive etc. They provide sufficient free storage to start with and reduce your site storage space and bandwidth as well. Simply add images by linking URL in your blog posts. The only issue is that it might be a bit tedious to upload elsewhere and then embedding the URL but I believe you can come up with smart way to do this like using a client application to upload content online.

2. ClearDB database size near quota limit

So when you host WordPress on Azure, the MySql database is hosted to a Azure partner i.e. ClearDB. It’s a bit weird and I was surprised to see a sudden email from ClearDB that my database size is near quota limit. First of all I never knew that my blog database was hosted their and then I didn’t know about the limit earlier and ClearDB apparently offer 9.99/month for just 1 GB and 49.99/month for just 5 GB. Makes me thing are we living in 2013 or 2003, well I don’t blame them but giants like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, DropBox has raised the bar high for me in terms of storage.

Anyways, my 2 cents here are that before upgrading to any paid package, try installing WordPress Database optimization plugins. I tried a plugin ‘Optimize Database‘. It basically remove revisions, spams etc. Worked really well, saved more than 50% storage for my poor 20 MB free database storage.

3. Use GitHub Gist to share code

Code snippets for any programming language requires a little more attention then just text. You may have to format it well like code are formatted in development environments and you may need to update it over time. I have started using Github Gist.

Gist is a simple way to share snippets and pastes with others. All gists are Git repositories, so they are automatically versioned, forkable and usable from Git.

4. Leverage Caching

Caching can prove to be really handy for performance and saving bandwidth, provided it is properly configured. On WordPress, I have installed a plugin “W3 Total Cache“, have started using it yet I am still exploring its configuration. It looks promising though. Comes with features like page caching, HTML/JS/CSS minify, database caching, browser caching etc. Highly recommended.

Well those were some tips from my end for optimize hosting, what are yours?