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I am asking since I am trying to understand if this widget is causing my server to overuse CPU or memory.

But either way - it's interesting to know.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

RSS widget uses fetch_feed() function, which is setting default cache lifetime to 43200 seconds (12 hours).

Since this value is filtered it can be overridden (as can feed cache overall). I did encounter plugin once, whose developer citing performance reasons completely disabled feed caching for all feeds.

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do you know if fetch_feed() uses transients? If so memcached might improve the feed performance. – Chris_O Sep 21 '10 at 5:47
@Chris_O yes, it does use transients. Native SimplePie cache is files-based, but WP implementation changes that to WP_Feed_Cache_Transient class. – Rarst Sep 21 '10 at 6:49

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