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How to Identify Overload Causes on WordPress Websites
How to Identify Overload Causes on WordPress Websites

Identifying the cause of website overload on WordPress websites

Updated over a week ago

If you notice your WordPress-based website loading time increasing, it may be an indication that the website is overloaded. Finding the causes of the overload can help you better apply actions toward optimization. You can easily have this information at hand using Query Monitor. Just follow these steps:

Step 1 - Install the Query Monitor Plugin

Go to the Plugins → Add New section on your WordPress admin panel and search for Query Monitor. Click on Install Now to install it:

The Query Monitor plugin on WordPress admin page showing how to install it

Once installation is complete, click on Activate to enable it.

Step 2 - Set Authentication Cookie

To get information on how your website performs for visitors, you will need to set an authentication cookie. Go to Plugins → Installed Plugins, scroll down to Query Monitor, and click on Settings to open the plugin's settings:

The WordPress administration panel showing how to reach the Query Monitor plugin settings

Next, click the Set authentication cookie button:

The Authentication section of Query Monitor settings showing where to set authentication cookie

Step 3 - Check the Query List

Once the authentication cookie is active, you'll see performance details in the WordPress admin bar as follows:

The Wordpress administaration panel top bar showing the Query Monitor stats

Indicating the following from left to right:

  • The page loading time in seconds

  • The peak memory usage in MB

  • The time taken by database queries in seconds

  • The database query count

  • Additional information may appear regarding

Click on the Query Monitor information for more details on the website performance:

The Query Monitor details on website performance can be reached by clicking on the stats in the top bar

Select the Database Queries menu option to display any causes of overload on your website. Adjust the size of the Query Monitor window to show more information if needed.

You can identify which queries take a longer time by checking the Time column on the right side, sorting by longest - just click on the arrow next to Time:

The Database queries showing how to sort by time

Pay attention to the longest caller, as it will be the most likely cause of website overload.

You can find out more about the different information that Query Monitor provides, as well as how to use it for debugging, on the Query Monitor Official Documentation page.


  • To prevent unnecessary resource usage, it is recommended to deactivate Query Monitor if you no longer need it

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