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How to Improve the Speed of WordPress Instance wp-config?

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How to Improve the Speed of WordPress wp-config?

How to Improve the Speed of WordPress Instance wp-config?

July 4, 2024

By, Editorial Team


Does your WordPress website seem sluggish lately? Struggling with long loading times can frustrate both you and your visitors.  While there are many factors that can contribute to slow website performance, WordPress experts often recommend taking a closer look at the wp-config.php file. 

This critical file holds the configuration settings for your entire WordPress installation, and understanding how it works can unlock hidden performance optimization options. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the WordPress wp-config.php. We’ll explore its role in WordPress, how it affects website speed, and most importantly, how you can improve it to create a faster and more efficient user experience.

What is wp-config in WordPress?

The wp-config.php file is an important component behind the scenes of any WordPress website. It resides in the root directory of your WordPress installation and acts as the central configuration hub. This file holds the keys to how your WordPress site operates.

What Information Does wp-config File Includes?

  • Database Connection Details: wp-config.php stores the essential information WordPress needs to connect to your website’s database. This includes the database name, username, password, and host.
  • Security Keys: This file safeguards your site by storing unique authentication keys and salts. These complex strings help encrypt login credentials and make your website more resistant to brute-force attacks.
  • Core Feature Settings: wp-config.php allows you to control various WordPress core functionalities. You can enable debugging mode for troubleshooting, configure caching for improved performance, and adjust other settings to fine-tune your website’s behavior.
  • Plugin Configurations: Some plugins might require adding specific lines to wp-config.php for proper integration with your WordPress site.

Thus, the wp-config.php serves as the command center for your WordPress installation, dictating how it interacts with the database, handles security, and operates based on your preferences.

How Does WordPress Handle Requests for wp-config.php?

WordPress prioritizes the security of your sensitive information stored in wp-config.php. Here’s how it handles requests for this critical file:

  • Direct Access Blocked: WordPress is programmed to prevent direct access to wp-config.php through your web browser. If you try to access it by typing the URL in the address bar, you’ll encounter an error message or see nothing at all.
  • Core Files Take Precedence: When a request reaches your WordPress site, the core files, including index.php, are checked first. These files handle routing and displaying content based on the requested URL. Since wp-config.php isn’t part of the public-facing functionality, it’s not included in this process.
  • Security Through Obscurity: By design, WordPress doesn’t reveal the existence of wp-config.php. This adds an extra layer of protection, making it harder for attackers to even know where to target their attempts.

In short, WordPress safeguards your wp-config.php by preventing direct access and prioritizing core files that handle public-facing functionality. This approach keeps your sensitive configuration details hidden from prying eyes.

Where is wp-config.php file in WordPress?

The wp-config.php file resides in the root directory of your WordPress installation. This root directory is often referred to as public_html in shared web hosting environments. It’s the same folder that contains essential WordPress directories like wp-admin, wp-content, and wp-includes.

Accessing wp-config.php usually requires methods that don’t involve your web browser. Here’s a general approach using an FTP client or your web hosting control panel’s file manager:

  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP): Most web hosting providers offer FTP access. You can use an FTP client like FileZilla to connect to your server and navigate to the root directory. There you’ll find wp-config.php among other files.
  • File Manager: Since directly accessing it through your web browser is blocked, you’ll need to use a file manager tool. Most web hosting providers offer a file manager within their control panel (cPanel). This tool allows you to navigate directories and view/edit files on your server.

Here’s a general guideline for accessing wp-config.php using your web hosting’s file manager (steps might vary slightly depending on your provider):

  1. Login to your web hosting control panel.
  2. Locate the File Manager or File Management section.
  3. Navigate to the root directory of your WordPress installation.
  4. You should see wp-config.php listed among other files.

Caution! Editing wp-config.php requires caution. Incorrect modifications can lead to website malfunctions. It’s recommended to back up your wp-config.php file before making any changes. If you’re unsure about editing this file yourself, consider consulting a WordPress developer to ensure proper configuration.

How to Improve the Speed of WordPress Instance wp-config?

The wp-config.php file itself doesn’t directly impact your WordPress website’s speed. It primarily deals with configuration and security. However, there is one indirect way wp-config.php can be involved in performance optimization:

1. Increase Memory

While wp-config.php doesn’t directly control speed, it can help if your website struggles due to a low memory limit. Here’s how to increase it, but proceed with caution:

  1. Access wp-config.php: Use your web hosting control panel’s file manager to locate and edit wp-config.php (refer to previous instructions for access).
  2. Find the Edit Point: Look for the line that reads /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */.
  3. Add the Memory Limit Code: Just above this line, paste the following code, replacing 256M with your desired memory limit (e.g., 128M, 512M).

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’);

  1. Save Changes: Save the wp-config.php file.

Important Considerations:

  • Check Hosting Limits: Consult your web hosting provider to confirm the maximum memory limit allowed on your plan. Exceeding this limit can lead to server instability.
  • Start Conservatively: Begin with a moderate increase (e.g., 128MB) and test your website thoroughly. Gradually raise the limit if needed.
  • Monitor Performance: After making changes, monitor your website’s performance to ensure the new memory limit resolves the issue without introducing other problems.

Increasing the memory limit is a potential solution, but it’s often better to address the root cause of high memory usage. Consider optimizing plugins, themes, or database queries to improve overall website efficiency.

2. Limit Post Revisions

By default, WordPress stores every edit you make to a post or page as a revision. While this can be helpful for recovering accidental edits, it can also bloat your database and slow down your website. Here’s how to limit post revisions in WordPress:

Two Methods: You can limit revisions using either a plugin or by editing the wp-config.php file.

Method 1: Using a Plugin (Recommended for Most Users)

This is the simpler and safer approach for most users. Here’s what to do:

  1. Install and Activate a Revision Control Plugin: Popular options include WP Revisions Control or HappyWP Revisions. Search for these plugins in your WordPress dashboard’s plugin section.
  2. Set the Revision Limit: Once activated, navigate to the plugin’s settings page and define the desired number of revisions you want to keep for each post type (pages, posts, etc.).
  3. Save Changes: Click the “Save Changes” button to apply the limit.

Method 2: Editing wp-config.php (For Advanced Users)

This method requires more technical expertise and carries a higher risk of errors. Make sure to back up your wp-config.php file before proceeding.

1. Access wp-config.php: Follow the steps mentioned earlier in the “Where is wp-config.php file in WordPress?” section to access and edit wp-config.php.

2. Add the Code: Locate the line /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */

3. Insert the Limit: Right above this line, add the following code, replacing 3 with your desired number of revisions to keep:

define(‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 3);

4. Save Changes: Save the wp-config.php file.

Consider These Points:

  • Choose Your Limit Wisely: A balance is key. Having no revisions can be risky, but too many can strain your database.
  • Weigh the Benefits: While limiting revisions improves performance, consider if the occasional need for an older revision outweighs the speed benefits.
  • Alternative: Clean Up Existing Revisions: If you don’t want to limit future revisions, plugins like WP-Optimize can help delete existing ones.

By implementing these methods, you can take control of post revisions and keep your WordPress website running smoothly.

3. Server-Side Optimization

This focuses on optimizing your server environment for faster performance. It involves tweaks that happen “behind the scenes” and directly affect how your website interacts with the server. Here are some key areas for server-side optimization:

  • Caching: Using caching mechanisms to store frequently accessed data and reduce the load on your database. Popular options include caching plugins like WP Super Cache or server-side caching offered by your hosting provider.
  • Database Optimization: Regularly optimize your WordPress database by cleaning up unnecessary data and optimizing queries. Plugins like WP-Optimize can help automate this process.
  • PHP Version: Ensure you’re using the latest compatible version of PHP on your server. Newer versions often offer performance improvements.
  • Image Optimization: While technically a front-end concern, image optimization can also be addressed server-side. Plugins like EWWW Image Optimizer can automatically compress images during upload.
  • GZip Compression: Enable GZip compression on your server to reduce the size of files sent to visitors, leading to faster loading times.

Optimizing your WordPress website for speed requires a comprehensive approach. While wp-config.php itself doesn’t directly impact speed, it can play a role in managing memory allocation, a crucial factor for smooth website operation.

4. Front-End Optimization

This deals with optimizing the user experience by focusing on how your website renders and displays content in visitors’ browsers. Here are some key areas for front-end optimization:

  • Image Optimization: Optimize image sizes and formats before uploading them to your website. Tools like TinyPNG or online compression services can help.
  • Minification: Minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files to remove unnecessary characters and whitespace, resulting in smaller file sizes and faster loading. Plugins like WP Rocket can automate this process.
  • Browser Caching: Leverage browser caching to store frequently accessed files locally on visitors’ devices, reducing the need to download them again on subsequent visits.
  • Code Optimization: Clean up your website code by removing unnecessary elements, optimizing CSS selectors, and following best practices for efficient development.
  • CDN (Content Delivery Network): Consider using a CDN to store static content (images, CSS, JavaScript) on servers around the world. This reduces load times for visitors in different geographical locations.

By addressing both server-side and front-end optimization areas, you can create a well-rounded strategy for a fast and efficient WordPress website that delivers a great user experience.

5. Theme and Plugin Optimization

A well-optimized WordPress website goes beyond server-side tweaks and front-end code. The themes and plugins you choose, and how you use them, can significantly impact performance. Here’s how to optimize your theme and plugins for a speedy website:

  • Choose Lightweight Themes: Select a theme that is lightweight and coded efficiently. Avoid themes with excessive features or animations that can bog down your website. Popular options like Astra or GeneratePress are known for their speed and flexibility.
  • Keep Themes Updated: Ensure your theme is updated to the latest version. Developers often address performance issues and security vulnerabilities in updates.
  • Theme Customization: If you heavily customize your theme’s code, make sure the changes are done efficiently. Consider using child themes to avoid modifying the core theme files, which can lead to update conflicts.
  • Plugin Management: Only use plugins that are essential for your website’s functionality. Deactivate and delete any plugins you’re not actively using.
  • Plugin Updates: Keep all your plugins updated to their latest versions to benefit from performance improvements and security patches.
  • Plugin Compatibility: Check for compatibility between plugins to avoid conflicts that can slow down your website. Test thoroughly after installing or updating plugins.

By following these tips, you can ensure your theme and plugins work together seamlessly and contribute to a fast and efficient WordPress website. Remember, a clean and optimized website is not just about speed; it also enhances user experience and reflects well on your brand.

FAQs About Improving Speed of WordPress Instance wp-config

While wp-config.php can be used to modify some settings, increasing the upload file size is generally not recommended through this method. It's because:

  • Server Limitations: The maximum upload size is often limited by your web hosting provider's server configuration. Changing wp-config.php might not override this limit.
  • Security Concerns: Uploading very large files can pose security risks and consume excessive server resources.

Better Options for Increasing Upload Size:

  • Contact Your Hosting Provider: This is the most reliable way to increase the upload limit. They can adjust the server settings if your plan allows it.
  • Use a Plugin: Several plugins like "Max Upload Size" allow you to manage upload limits within your WordPress dashboard.

WordPress employs several techniques to prevent direct access to wp-config.php:

  • Core File Precedence: When a request reaches your website, WordPress prioritizes core files like index.php. These files handle routing and displaying content, and wp-config.php isn't part of that process.
  • Blocked Access: WordPress is programmed to prevent direct access to wp-config.php through a web browser. If you try to access it by typing the URL, you'll encounter an error message or see nothing at all.
  • Security Through Obscurity: By design, WordPress doesn't reveal the existence of wp-config.php. This makes it harder for attackers to even know where to target their attempts.

No, wp-config.php is not overwritten during WordPress updates. It's a separate file that stores your specific configuration settings. WordPress updates typically focus on core files like plugins and themes.


However, it's important to back up your wp-config.php file before making any changes or updates. This ensures you can revert to a working version if something goes wrong.


Optimizing your WordPress website for speed is an ongoing process. As your website grows and evolves, so too should your optimization efforts. By employing the strategies outlined here and staying informed about new techniques, you can ensure a fast and efficient website that delivers a seamless user experience.

Remember, a website’s speed is just one aspect of a successful online presence. But a speedy website creates a positive first impression, keeps visitors engaged, and can even improve your search engine ranking.

Need help with fine-tuning your WordPress website? Don’t let website optimization become a daunting task. Our team of WordPress experts is here to help you achieve exceptional performance. Let us handle the technical intricacies while you focus on creating compelling content and growing your online presence. Contact us today for a free consultation!



Boost Your WordPress Speed: Optimization Made Easy


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