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How to scale a WordPress website

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WordPress, a content management system that needs no introduction. On the internet, WordPress powers millions of websites or blogs. In the top 1 million, over 240k websites rely on WordPress as the content management system. If your website is in the top 1 million, you have to ensure that your WordPress based blog/website scales up smoothly. In this guide, we will discuss how to effortlessly and effectively increase the size of a WordPress site.

Before we begin learning how to increase the size of a WordPress website, we have to understand the types of expansion and how a WordPress website works. We need to understand both of these because scaling is something that every company/person handles differently. Some companies prefer expanding initially, and some companies prefer to expand horizontally. If you do not understand the meaning of Expansion and Horizontal Expansion, do not skip the expansion section of this guide.

Once we learn how to expand any web application on the internet, we will see how exactly WordPress works beneath the hood. And we will learn how to increase the size of our WordPress website step-by-step.

So, Let’s begin with the types of expansion.

Ways to increase the size of a Web Application

There are two primary ways you can increase the size of your web application to handle more data and traffic. The first one is called Expansion Up, also known as vertical expansion. And the other one is called horizontal expansion, also known as scaling out.

Let’s discuss both types in detail. We’ll consider expansion up first because it’s the initial choice of most people as it’s easy.

Expansion Up or Vertical Expansion

Expansion Up or Vertical Expansion is a method in which you host your web application on a single server and increase the resources on your server to handle the traffic and data. It’s the easiest one as increasing and decreasing resources on the server are very simple nowadays. You just have to click to increase the resources on your server and click again to shrink.

For example, Let’s say we have a server with 4GB RAM and two core processors on the server. And the traffic on our website is increasing day by day. The resources we have on the server cannot handle the traffic and data processing. So, We’ll simply increase the resources from 4GB RAM and two core processors to 8GB RAM and four-core processors.

It will do the trick as now our application has twice the resources to handle the load. However, there’s a limit! A single server can only have a limited amount of resources. But this expansion process is helpful if you do not have a complex website that requires constant monitoring and data processing.

In the case of WebHostingPeople, you can have 32GB RAM and 16 core processors on your WebHostingPeople VPS. It means that if your application is optimized correctly, you can handle millions of visitors a month! It means that if you have a typical WordPress website that isn’t too complicated, you can handle millions of visitors a month on that server!

The main advantages you get with this type of expansion are that it’s fast and easy. The main drawback you get with this type of expansion is that eventually you have to scale out, and that’s what we’re going to discuss next!

Scaling Out or Horizontal Expansion

Scaling out is a method in which you distribute the traffic and data processing load on multiple servers. And you can scale up and down individual servers depending on the resources that specific server requires!

Let’s say we have a web application that’s built on PHP programming language and uses the MySQL database management system to manage data. And our web application is growing fast! To distribute the load, we would host the MySQL database on a different server and our application code on another server.

It means that we now have to manage two servers. One server will handle all the web requests and the code, and another one will handle Database queries only. It means that we have now distributed the load on two different servers, and we can now monitor them separately.

This method is not easy to adopt. Because you have to migrate your database or application code or any other part of your application to a completely different machine and make servers work in harmony, it’s not easy. But once implemented, you’ll have a clear idea of how you’ll further scale your application on the cloud.

We recommend you to use this method if you’re running a SaaS business or any other business on the internet. Because it’s stable and you can monitor each part of your application individually.

How to increase the size of a WordPress website

Increasing the size of a WordPress website is similar to expanding any other web application. All web applications need a programming language to process the data, a web server to handle requests, a database to store and manage application data. Here’s what WordPress needs.

  1. A web server – It can work on almost all web servers.
  2. A programming language – PHP
  3. A Database Management System – MySQL

As you can see, just like any other web application, WordPress relies on a web server, a programming language, and a database management system. It means that we can distribute our code and database on different servers to distribute the load too!

You can follow our tutorial on setting up WordPress with an external database. In that tutorial, you’ll learn how easy it is to set up a WordPress website with a database hosted on a completely different server.

Once you have the database and application code on different servers, you can set up multiple servers to handle and divide the web requests to different servers that have your WordPress files.

WordPress is very easy to scale. You can even create master-slave MySQL replication and utilize the power of replication on your WordPress website using HyperDB drop-in plugin.

Because the WordPress ecosystem is so open to innovation, Now you can also offload your WordPress media on cloud and get it whenever you want with CDN! It means that you can have multiple servers that can handle your WordPress files without worrying about losing some media files.


Conclusion: Increasing a web application can be a headache if you do not know the right direction. Initially, you’ll choose the Expansion Up method, which is very common. But if your goals are too high for your web application, you’ll eventually scale-out. Increasing a WordPress website is not so difficult too! You can follow the tutorials we have mentioned above to perform a specific task on your WordPress website to scale it to the next level.

However, there are many methods to increase the size of a WordPress website. You can follow the one that you see fit! Let us know the method you follow to increase the size of your web application in the comment section below. For further assistance, you can comment down your query or reach WebHostingPeople support!

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