Fixind Defender suggested security issues slowed down my site?

Hello,
I chose category "General Wordpress" for this issue since it is actually not defender's "fault" if this happened but I found it is generally suggested to do the security improvements that Defender suggests doing. The Defender just makes complying them much simplier.

Attached is the screenshot of all Defender recommended security improvements I made yesterday.

The side effect of it (on my guess) is though a very slow website.

Yesterday morning I tested speed of two of the test pages of my website under construction.

This page gave me 92 points on desktop speed by google site speed test which is great!

This page gave me 78 points on desktop which is also ok.

I don't remember the mobile speeds but they were moderate.

Then after that I went to improve the security of the website by correcting all the issues stated by Defender as recommended to improve.

You can see the Defender suggestions attached to this post.

I tested using the site after applying these improvements and everything seemed to work fine and I was really hapy. At first...

Until I went to run another speedest with the google site speed test

The speed is now 60 on desktop and 51 on mobile as you can see.

Even more downgrade was on the another page's score which dropped
from 92 in desktop to 55 on desktop.

This is a really devastating drop at speed!

The speed test says the issue is with slow responding server.
I did not have this problem before.

Once again I am not "blaming" Defender for this since
it is commonly suggested to do the security improvements
that Defender recommends doing.

But my questions are:
1. Is this reducing of speed caused by the security improvements I made?
(my quess is yes because I didn't do any other changes to the website yesterday)
2. If the speed reduction is due to the security improvements then what can
I do to get my website speed to where it used to be?

  • Vaughan
    • Support/SLS MockingJay

    Hi tuomo,

    Hope you're well?

    There can be some correlation between security improvements and server response times.

    But generally, Cache plugins such as Comet Cache or w3TC etc can greatly improve page loading times, Hummingbird can also help with leveraging browser cache & gzip compression, as well as with minification.

    I would recommend trying a cache plugin as well as Hummingbird, though the minification options can actually take you a long time to get the right balance for your particular site.

    I use Hummingbird & Comet cache on my site without any issues.

    https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/comet-cache/

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/wp-hummingbird/

    But I do notice, the more caching & minification I use, the lower the score for server response time will get, but the other scores will be increased. I believe these extra processes that the CPU has to do are what causes the server response time to decrease. Server-side caching such as elastic cache or varnish etc are always better options than a plugin though, but those are dependant on your webhost & if you're on shared hosting etc, you may not have that option of server-side caching.

    It's something to look at though.

    Hope this helps

  • Tuomo
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Hello,

    Before I run the security improvements I tried Using Hummingbird with WP Fastest cache.
    After that I even purchased the premium version of WP Fastest cache and now I am using it wit all caching features set on and am also using the WP Smush.

    After I finally got the site running fast then the security updates ruined all my efforts.

    How can my site get so low score as 55 while before making the security improvements the score was 92 :slight_frown:

  • Vaughan
    • Support/SLS MockingJay

    Hi Tuomo,

    Apologies for the delay, many factors can influence the score. Were you doing a bulk smush at the time for instance?

    I haven't noticed much difference in speed from simply applying Defender hardening, though. But we have made a few updates lately, are you still experiencing a low score or have you managed to adjust settings to improve it?

    Whenever you install new plugins or make changes, you should re-check the minification files again, are you using the CDN functionality in the Hummingbird Minification? This can also help improve page loading times.

    If you still experience a slow score, Could you grant support access from the dashboard plugin so we can take a closer look? See https://premium.wpmudev.org/manuals/wpmu-dev-dashboard-enabling-staff-login/

    Thanks

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