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I have installed WordPress on my local developer's machine. This developer's machine is pretty respectable by today's standards (double digits of RAM in GB, and a great processor), and I don't experience performance when doing web development in other languages. But on a fresh WordPress install, I feel surprised by how slow it is.

If I navigate to the "Hello World!" post that is created by default, on a fresh install, it takes a couple of seconds. Specifically, the browser waits 1.68 seconds until receiving the first byte. This seems to me to very slow for a local installation. Refreshing the page always gives between 1.5s and 2.0s, just for the request to the page, so not including resources like CSS files and Javascript files.

So my question is: how fast would you expect WordPress to be on a fresh installation on your local developer's machine? Do you agree with my intuition that 2 seconds on a fresh install for just the HTML page is too slow?

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  • Install Query Monitor and you'll know exactly how long everything takes and why it takes a long time to generate your page.
    – Joel M
    Oct 3 '19 at 0:17
  • @JoelM Thanks. I can find out how long everything takes, and still not know whether 2000ms (just the HTML) is normal for a fresh WordPress installation on a local machine. I'm guessing you think that is not normal, since you call it a "long time". That's all I'm asking.
    – Flimm
    Oct 3 '19 at 8:16
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    I picked a random site with that plugin installed. It loaded the homepage in 0.86 seconds with less than 0.1 seconds database query time on 46 queries. This is a very general reference point and these numbers can vary a lot. Some sites might do 200 queries which is a lot, but doesn't necessarily indicate an error. If you check environment tab on the plugin you can find PHP version. Anything under version 7 is known to be quite slow.
    – Joel M
    Oct 3 '19 at 20:20
  • @JoelM Thank you for providing some rough numbers, that's really helpful. I conclude that a fesh WordPress install on a local machine should be even faster than 0.86 seconds to load the HTML.
    – Flimm
    Oct 3 '19 at 21:07
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You can expect a fresh install of WordPress on your local machine to be fast!

The HTML of a page should get downloaded within 0.1s (on a local machine)!

It turns out that I had an issue with the way my server and its configuration was set up, and the issue was not with WordPress at all. I'm posting the answer that I wish I had, because in my experience, a lot of WordPress sites are slow, and because of that, (and out of laziness TBH), I made the mistaken assumption that I just had to put up with a slow fresh install of WordPress on my local machine.

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You shouldn't use a local host setup to test the speed of your site. Beyond the obvious hardware of your machine there is a ton of other stuff that could effect speed. Not to mention all the settings and configs for your local server it's self. Hosting companies have experts that setup and optimize their servers, some even optimize specifically for WordPress.

Its fair better and much more accurate to test the actual speed of your site remotely, on the server where it's going to live.

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  • Completely agreed. However, would you say that 2000ms just to load the HTML of a page on a local machine is definitely slow? When I first saw this, my intuition told me that something is wrong, however, other WordPress developers told me to expect that WordPress is slow. Is WordPress really that slow?
    – Flimm
    Oct 3 '19 at 8:15
  • WordPress isn't slow. But its super easy for just about anyone to pickup and use, download a bunch of plugins or develop their own poor plugins and make it slow. Oct 3 '19 at 18:45

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