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Can WordPress Handle Heavy Traffic? Make Sure Your Website is Ready for Volume

Can WordPress Handle Heavy Traffic

The post-COVID world has seen a major boom in internet traffic. To cope with day-to-day necessities, people around the world hopped onto the internet. Everything was internet-bound, from education to daily office tasks.

Websites went from having little more than 100 daily users to having thousands of concurrent hourly visitors. Most websites were severely impacted by this uproar in volume. They were simply not ready to take on this much traffic and faced quite a lot of issues. 

Especially small blogs and businesses. This was an awakening moment for all. After this post-COVID boom, many websites and services are questioning their web infrastructure!

What should we look out for when creating WordPress websites that can handle heavy traffic? Can WordPress handle heavy traffic? What are the types of limitations you might encounter?

These are some of the main concerns that come to mind while talking about heavy website traffic. In this article, we’ll be discussing some common causes and solutions to this issue.

So, stick around for the read. 

WordPress server

Can WordPress Handle Heavy Traffic?

Okay, first things first, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” WordPress can definitely handle heavy traffic volumes. But there is a lot to talk about here, and consider that a website can only handle so much on its own. It needs to be developed and configured in such a way that it can sustain concurrent volumes of visitors. 

A WordPress website, like any other, can support heavy traffic provided that it has been optimized for speed, configured with optimal scalable hardware, has a stable network infrastructure, and is operated from a dedicated server that can handle heavy traffic volumes. 

It is possible to improve the performance of a WordPress website by taking certain steps, which we’ll be discussing further along. 

Let’s Talk About Limitations and Issues

WordPress can handle high traffic volumes on its own. Every website platform, however, has its own limitations. It is a must to ensure that your website and hosting platform are capable of handling such volumes regularly. 

For this, keep a keen eye out for the following things. 

Hardware Limitations

Like every other application and web platform, your WordPress website should perform as well as your hardware allows. Using optimal hardware for your dedicated hosting server can help your website stay up and running under intense loads and data transmissions. 

While individuals and businesses can easily tap into their existing consumer-grade hardware and get a website up and running in no time. 

But using consumer-grade hardware is not recommended by industry experts for multiple reasons, such as hardware processing limitations, scalability, hardware failure rate, power loss, data transmission loss, etc. Which are very common among consumer-grade hardware.

Dedicated workloads like website hosting require specialized enterprise-grade hardware solutions. These enterprise/server-grade hardware pieces are purpose-built to sustain continuous loads, read and write speeds, redundant data transmission, and power supply units. 

These are great for maintaining servers that can handle heavy traffic. 

Database optimization for MySQL / MariaDB

WordPress relies on MySQL or MariaDB for storing data so it can produce output, as do many blogging and web applications. Whenever WordPress writes or reads to MySQL/MariaDB, it results in a load on the server.

WordPress optimizes its database queries continuously to minimize the number of database requests required for normal operation. However, development practices in plugins and themes can cause a site’s database usage to increase. 

When the server is overwhelmed with simultaneous database connections, high traffic can result in excessive strain. These strains may cause errors like the “Connection timed out” message to popup on the visitor’s browser.

MySQL/MariaDB connection and data transmission rates can be improved by adjusting MySQL/MariaDB configuration settings or by providing more memory and processing power to the servers. Proper use of caching and indexing can also help to improve MySQL/MariaDB server performance. 

Other errors to be aware of include WordPress’ scheduled maintenance error, which while not strictly related to database performance, can be brought on by identifying problematic entries which are causing complications.

Slow Downs and Crashing

In the event of a sudden surge in website traffic, your WordPress website can suffer performance issues or even crash the server. Visitors both old and new will surely leave your website and services for good if this happens.

Here, the hardware limitations come into play again, and we are still left with the same solutions discussed earlier.

Using optimal enterprise-grade and futureproof hardware can go a long way toward keeping your website and data safe with redundancies while improving your WordPress website’s overall performance. 

Shared Hosting Servers 

The low-cost hosting model usually involves shared hosting, which means that your website is hosted on several different servers hosting several similar sites, all of which share the server’s bandwidth and storage.

Generally, if your site is not that large or receives less traffic, this won’t be an issue. If one of the sites on the server experiences a drastic increase in traffic, the neighboring sites will slow down as well, which could cause them to crash.

If your WordPress site is hosted on a shared server and becomes very popular, you might want to switch to a dedicated server that can handle more traffic. This is a clever way to sustain costs by using shared server platforms, but a dedicated hosting server and storage space is a must for both performance and security reasons. Another (arguably even better) option is to use cloud or VPS servers. They can be configured to provide the best possible WordPress hosting environment, and unlike dedicated machines, their hardware configurations can easily be scaled up to accommodate the additional traffic.

On-Site Optimization

On-Site Optimization can factor in quite a few different things, but only a few impact your WordPress website the most.

Optimized Theme: As WordPress grew in popularity, so did the newfound need for new themes. There are currently more than 11,000 WordPress themes available on just the ThemeForest marketplace alone. 

Each theme offers different functionalities and is designed to cater to different genres of websites, individuals, and businesses. But not all WordPress themes are suitable for sustaining heavy website traffic. Some are not even well optimized for fast performance due to their heavy designs. 

For these reasons, choosing a well-optimized, lightweight theme is a must while creating a new website. 

Optimizing Images: Image templates with large files take longer to load, which limits visuals and graphics on your site. Optimizing all of your images ensures your site runs smoothly even during traffic spikes. 

When possible, a good practice is to use the same pictures already uploaded to the WordPress library rather than uploading a new one. This can drastically save you on storage space if your WordPress website is a content-heavy one.

Necessary Plugins Only: Similarly to themes and images, removing unnecessary/unused plugins from your WordPress will drastically improve your website’s speed and weight. 

Caching Plugin: By creating HTML versions of your website pages and posts, a caching plugin can reduce the number of times PHP is used by WordPress when dealing with heavy traffic, allowing your site to load faster.


Although there is a great chance, 80% of all websites currently active won’t get any major uplift in traffic or concurrent heavy traffic. So, it is safe to say most websites are free of this concern of heavy traffic sustainment.

But for the other 20%, it can be a key deciding factor in their long-term success and visitor retention. So, for those businesses and individuals, a full-proof plan is a must for their WordPress website to handle heavy loads. 

In the end, if the question comes up again, can WordPress handle heavy traffic?

The answer is a confident “Yes” from us. 

You can’t rely on WordPress to handle your website’s traffic on its own. The above things we mentioned should be taken into consideration if you want to sustain your website and visitors during heavy traffic. 

If you found this content helpful, please consider sharing it with someone who might be worried about – can WordPress handle heavy traffic. And if you think we’ve missed any key points regarding this subject, please let us know in the comment section down below.