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I am new to learning out about autoload in wp_options and performance issues. So exploring one of my sites I find a plugin has added a bunch of data in a wp_options field which appears to be blog posts from the plugin author's own website (see screenshot). 135KB in total.

Have I misunderstood something? This is pretty bad right? This is being processed on every page load of my site?

enter image description here

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    Looks like they might be doing this for a dashboard or settings page widget? I'd raise a support issue asking to turn autoload off
    – Tom J Nowell
    Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 14:40
  • Thank you, you're right I hadn't noticed the dashboard widget the plugin loads to advertise their blog. I'm sympathetic with an attempt to advertise since its a free plugin but you think it is not necessary to autoload the content for this purpose? Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 14:50
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    I don't think it's needed to autoload it, it's very likely a common mistake, I wouldn't think of it as suspicious. This usually isn't a problem until a site gets bigger or a serve is under load. Object caching can get tripped up by this too. Let the author know and change the autoload value on your site
    – Tom J Nowell
    Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 14:58

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135kb isn’t the end of the world. I would assume this is cached data for displaying news updates on a dashboard widget. Ideally they wouldn’t auto load this on the front end, but I doubt the impact on performance is significant. If you see a noticeable performance improvement from removing it then you might want to raise it with the author.

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  • Thanks yes, I hadn't noticed the dashboard widget but you are right (although they only actually display a fraction of the content saved - just teasers). Is this common/best practice? Various articles I have read (kinsta.com/knowledgebase/wp-options-autoloaded-data) suggest keeping wp_options autoload data under 1MB if possible. 135KB used to advertise at me seems a sizeable chunk of that 1MB. Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 14:42
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    Like I mentioned, it’s not ideal, but a single poorly optimised script or image on your site is going to have a bigger performance impact. Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 17:23

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