I’ve always had a thing for the ops side of building apps — automating, optimizing, and building for scale (did it for iVillage and Yahoo among others). And let me tell you, a standard WordPress installation leaves plenty of optimization and scaling to think about.
It’s not that the WordPress core itself is poorly written (although I wouldn’t exactly like to put my name on it). With all the functionality WordPress offers (initializing themes, loading active plugin, providing and array of simple helper functions that actually do complex things), it’s not really surprising that a standard installation gets only 30-ish requests per second out of the box.
And when you start adding plugins, that number can easily drop to the single digits. At that point, there are probably a hundred or so MySQL queries executing every request — That’s madness, but it’s an ugly reality of modular CMSs like Drupal and WordPress. But there’s hope: With appropriate caching solutions, smart management of plugins, and server-side tuning, we can get some wind under those WordPress wings and see it fly.
I’m giving a talk at Wordcamp NYC, and the title of the session is “Making WordPress Fly: Optimizing Your Servers for Performance”. It’ll be along the same lines as my LAMP performance talk at CICON, but obviously centered around tuning specifically for WordPress.
If you’ll be there, and you’re interested in making your instance resilient in the face of traffic spikes, swing by! Also, feel free to drop me a line and ask me any performance questions ahead of time so I can work some answers in ahead of time.