Support » Themes and Templates » Can too many themes hurt performance?

  • I built my blog and could not decide on which theme to use, so I went overboard. I downloaded just about every theme I could find and started to pick one. So, in my wp-content/themes directory, I have 1265 themes.

    The performance of my site ( is pretty bad and a friend of mine tried to duplicate my experience with his server. From my LAN, it can take up to 10 seconds to load my site, while it takes less than 3 seconds to load his site — and his site is in Dallas TX., while my site is in San Jose, CA.

    After looking at Apache, PHP, MySQL, I decided to create a new test site. It has all the themes and plugins, but none of the plugins are activated. The performance problem persisted. Running out of ideas, I removed all of the themes except the one I want to use which is Mandigo 1.36.2.

    What a difference. My site is loading very quickly now.

    My questions are…
    1. Can too many themes impact performance of WordPress 2.6?
    2. Is these some piece of code running through that directory for some reason?
    3. Is this a coincidence or can some verify these findings on a separate site?
    4. Is there something that can be done to allow lots of themes to be loaded without impacting site responsiveness?

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • @mercime


    Volunteer Moderator

    Just a comment: I don’t quite get why you want so many themes on a single WP install, but that’s your thing. The most I uploaded was 100 and that was on a WPMU install for 43 blogs. And performance is good because we use cache plugin.

    Mercime — you raise a good question. I don’t need that many themes and I plan on reducing the count for my site, but I wanted to use this as a model for supporintg additional sites for more users and give them a robust starting point. I did not think all these themes would impact performance — just take up disk space.

    BTW: I started with WPMU to host the sites. However, I decided to go back to standard WordPress for now and duplicate the sites. I suppose at some point, I might want to go back to WPMU.

    I also use WP-SUPER-CACHE, but that did not help all that much, relatively speaking. I optimized MySQL with query caching as well.



    Volunteer Moderator

    OK, i get it. You’re a scientist testing many theories 🙂 Good luck!

    I think I know what is going on inside WordPress that causes the performance hit with too many themes.

    It seems that for each page, the site will use:

    There is a call to get_theme($theme) which will call get_themes().

    Turns out that get_themes() has a global called $wp_themes that I assume the author thought would stick around after the first time through. It doesn’t.

    This code does some serious file searching for styles.css and other things to validate the theme and handle duplicates. This is way too much work going on during execution of the blog.

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
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