I'm currently arguing with Bluehost over slow server times and they pointed to a report at gtmetrix.com in which I found inefficient CSS selectors.

There were 55 very inefficient CSS selectors from the login page alone. Some including:

#adminmenu li.menu-top:hover .wp-menu-image img Tag key with 3 descendant selectors and Class overly qualified with tag

There are many others but the CSS file is pointing to


So this is WordPress' CSS files. Is this normal? Or this referring to other CSS stylesheets that reference the same selector?


I'm running W3TC and I get an error:

It appears Page Cache URL rewriting is not working. If using apache, verify that the server configuration allows .htaccess or if using nginx verify all configuration files are included in the configuration.

I'm not sure why since when I open up .htaccess, W3TC has written all the browser cache and page cache settings.

  • Hi ... Have you run your website against Pingdom Tools? It's good for detail on the front-end performance. You should first look at the front end for speeding up WordPress and leave things like Login and Wp-Admin for later. Are you running WP SuperCache or W3TC? or anything else? – Damien Aug 16 '12 at 12:09
  • @Damien I'm using W3TC. I get 'F's in 'Remove Unused CSS' and 'Use efficient CSS selectors' but they are 'Low' priority. I also get 'F's in 'Optimize images' (something I don't think is covered by W3TC) and 'Enable gzip compression' which I'm probably doing wrong in .htaccess. Another 'High' priority item is 'Remove query strings from static resources' which list URLs with a '?' in them since they are not caches (also backend stuff. – AlxVallejo Aug 16 '12 at 13:38
  • Also, I'm wondering if Buddypress is slowing the site down. I'm basically relying on Buddypress solely for registration purposes atm so I wonder if it's worth looking into removing to speed up performance. Other than that, all I can say is that I would not recommend BH to a friend. – AlxVallejo Aug 16 '12 at 13:39
  • I tried pingdom tools as well and it takes 12 seconds to load 300 kb. The base URL redirects to the login page and rewrites the URL to ?redirect=/ so that after logging in they will go back to the homepage. The majority of the report shows a 'Wait' period for the redirect. Is this because the server is having trouble resolving the redirect? – AlxVallejo Aug 16 '12 at 14:00
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    Bluehost is horrible, bad CSS selectors is not the problem , it's downright silly. – Wyck Aug 16 '12 at 23:26

Interesting ... Performance Improvement is a difficult area ... but here are some tips.

Performance Tips
1. Turn off all plugins including W3TC and run tests again on gtmetrix.com and pingdom tools
2. Keep this as your 'baseline' performance.
3. Turn on all your usual plugins and run the tests again and note the results
4. Unless you are expecting 10000 visitors today or tomorrow leave the caching plugin off and re-run the tests tomorrow.
5. Focus on the results of the Pingdom / GtMetrix to find areas you can improve
6. Enable W3TC but disable all the caching options
7. Run your tests again.
8. do a search on W3TC and Bluehost ... and I found this about problems with minify causing spikes
9. Enable Page Cache (Disk enhanced) in W3TC ...
10. Flush the Cache 11. Run your tests again after about 10 - 30 mins.
12. Enable Browser Cache
13. wait and test again :)

Performance Improvement should focus on the majority of your visitors
This is usually Not Logged In / Anonymous Visitors don't worry about the wp-admin css for now.

php.ini and PHP Memory (out of memory errors Check with BlueHost what you can do with PHP.ini or .htaccess to increase the memory for your WordPress.

Browser Compression
Just now I tested my site damien.co with gtmetrix and got 99% but the results were garbarge as gtmetrix didn't handle the browser gzip compression.

It's worth checking that you haven't enabled browser compression in your .htaccess or in the settings of W3TC. Then ask Bluehost if they support browser compression.

enter image description here

Pingdom Tools
One of the reason i like Pingdom is the Performance Grade tab which gives a sliding scale of how good your site performs ... Note you can click the ^ on the right to reveal more information.

enter image description here

  • I had to disable Page Cache Disk Enhanced and switch to Disk Basic in order to rid of the Page URL rewrite errors. Interesting that you get 100 on gtmetrix and a 63 on pingdom. – AlxVallejo Aug 16 '12 at 20:17
  • @AlxVallejo take the time and follow the steps. Start by turning off all your caching and plugins. Basically you'll need to figure out what is the best settings for you for W3TC. The fault is not in the plugin, it's all about optimising for your webserver. I suggest if it helps compare my site report on gtmetrix or pingdom against yoursite. – Damien Aug 16 '12 at 20:25
  • Tricky thing is is that I need to keep the site 'locked' from non-logged viewers. That's why I redirect if the user isn't logged in. Testing against these sites will always redirect and only the redirect will be tested. – AlxVallejo Aug 16 '12 at 20:32
  • @AlxVallejo so you only have to change your .htaccess or maintenance mode for 1 - 2 mins to run the tests. With Blazemeter (load testing) you can even find out their IP address range to allow access via .htaccess control. I think youll find it 'trial n error' ... turn off all W3TC options. Then turn on just browser cache, then turn on page cache and see if it breaks. I suspect from previous experience with page cache on and browser cache off things will be ok. ARe you using and CDN? – Damien Aug 16 '12 at 20:49
  • I just signed up for Cloudflare on Bluehost, haven't noticed any difference from my neck of the woods. Thanks for the tips though I will run through them and let you know how it goes. – AlxVallejo Aug 17 '12 at 13:32

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