Really slow response with Upfront activated


Upfront is really slow. Just visiting the site with Upfront active gives load times of 10-20 seconds (sometimes 30 seconds!). The Editor is equally bad but I can partially appreciate why but I think it should be faster.

I do have MarketPress installed so some delay is to be expected there but none so bad as when Upfront is active on its own or with MarktPress.

Have used and tested other Builder themes on variations of this site but they all work much faster as do the default 2014-2016 themes.

Have tried disabling all plugins and it's definitely Upfront with Luke&Sara theme, see results of running P3 Plugin Profiler (plugin) or

I realise I could use caching, minify, etc. to help but that is not the main problem. Something is causing massive delays of Upfront in use (logged in or not) and that needs curing.

All caching and speed optimisations are off while I develop the site.

Single site, not MU, site access granted, you can try anything on this site, I have a full backup.

Someone's help would very much be appreciated.

  • Kasia Swiderska

    Hello MrArtist,

    Upfront is really slow. Just visiting the site with Upfront active gives load times of 10-20 seconds (sometimes 30 seconds!).

    I tested your site and it loads on my side 3-4 seconds, but not more.

    Could you tell me what hosting are you using? Looking at pingdom tools and google insights there is issue with server response time - I've tested my site with Luke & Sarah that is twice big as yours and in pingdom I got similar results as you but my server response time is almost half shorter of yours (and I don't use any image optimization and there are many big images on my site).

    You could try adding this line:

    define('UPFRONT_COMPRESS_RESPONSE', true, true);

    to the wp-config.php file.

    Can you try disabling all the plugins and then check speed (MarketPress and iThemes security) - in some cases P3 profiler shows strange results when there are some plugins enabled with Upfront themes.

    kind regards,

  • MrArtist

    Hi Kasia
    Thanks for taking a look and I'm very surprised at your quicker timings. I'm in the UK and my UK-based server is shared but supposedly is quite good on resources but there is a definite initial response lag that I have seen at times even without anything complex going on. Hopefully a hard/software upgrade my host is doing soon will improve that side of things.

    I did try with all plugins disabled and it made no particular difference to Upfront. MarketPress off does save a bit but nothing in comparison to using 2014 Theme in place of Upfront. The weird results that some report with P3 profiler seem to be for php7, I'm on php5.6 and my results seem to tally with pingdom.

    Would you mind doing some repeated timings tests for that site's homepage. I have now tested on my Win7 and iMac (in Chrome & FFox). Using incognito/private browsing with cache off I get slow times as mentioned (10 seconds or more) - my internet/ISP connection is 80Mb/s down so that's not any issue.

    With pingdom, I can see where the time is going. There seems to be something my server doesn't like about Upfront and its calls which seem to take forever to complete from the server. That doesn't fully explain your 3 second timings so I will also test on another local IP/computer soon but if you have any other ideas or could repeat that timing test I'd be grateful.

    I'll try the wp-config addition later.

    Many thanks

  • Rupok

    Hi MrArtist

    Hope you had a wonderful day.

    With pingdom, I can see where the time is going

    I've tested your site on Pingdom couple of times and all the times, it was less than 9 seconds. But I could see those 2 files too who are eating most of the times. But most importantly, sometimes, your server takes around 5-6 seconds to respond, the first response from your server. So it's taking majority of the timing.

    I'm not getting anything like this on my test server. So is it possible for you to clone your site in another server and test again? I'm looking forward to hear from you and resolve this issue as soon as possible.

    Have a nice day. Cheers!

  • MrArtist

    Hi Rupok

    Thank you for your thoughts on this.

    Certainly there is a response issue with my live server which I know can normally be a bit sluggish on initial response but with other themes and sites this is normally only 1-3 seconds. With Upfront active it becomes 6-10 seconds and then the page starts to load.

    The problem is that this site also suffers the same lag on my local DesktopServer environment. I just did another test on my local copy of the site and it too took 10 seconds to fully display the home page.

    Could there be some issue with Upfront looking for something that it can't find? Maybe something got corrupted in my local install? I'm not an expert of analysing all the data that services like pingdom return but I'm wondering if someone can spot a clue there?

    I will have to do a test with a fresh WP & Upfront install to see what that's like. Also my hosting company say they are implementing some upgrades later this week that should help with the response times. But overall, I still think there is some other issue I have with Upfront as well that doesn't happen when I try other themes and builder frameworks. (Have tried 18tags & Thrive Themes and they are much faster).

    If there is some corruption of the site that causes this slowness, I am loathed to rebuild the site again but if my test with a fresh install works faster I guess I might have to, but a fix of the problem would be better if we can find what it is.

  • Rupok

    Hi MrArtist

    Hope you had a wonderful day.

    Could there be some issue with Upfront looking for something that it can't find?

    I don't think so. Because if it could not find any specific resource, it would have returned a message. But I'm really curious why those two specific files are making the delay.

    Did you try using a CDN? Usually popular CDNs have very powerful caching and they make sites really faster. If you haven't tried yet, can you try one and compare the results? From Upfront end, I really don't see any major issue we should be concerned about. Please let us know if you have any feedback on this. We will be glad to analyze.

    Have a nice day. Cheers!

  • MrArtist

    Listed below are the problematic files/calls on the server that cause the most delay (as revealed in things like pingdom tools). I appreciate that it's the server that's sluggish at responding, but what I don't understand is why these sorts of delays don't seem to happen to other complicated theme builder frameworks.

    The first two entries are calls for admin-ajax.php (trying to load Upfront grid and styles it seems).

    The second two are upfront-dependencies, looking for something to do with styles I think?

    By comparison, the fifth entry is a similar sized script call (32.8K) but takes a lot less time to retrieve than anything Upfront asks for.

    Size: 15.6K - response time: 3.24s

    Size: 38.4K - response time: 5.93s

    Size: 16K - response time: 4.75s

    Size: 48.39K - response time: 2.71s

    A more typical file call timing:
    Size: 32.8K - response time: 1.65s

    I looked up admin-ajax.php on Google and it seems there are many others with similar delay issues whenever admin-ajax.php is called in relation to anything WordPress. A lot of people wonder why it's being called from front-end non-logged in actions (e.g. Upfront home page) when apparently it's an Admin thing (e.g. admin-ajax)? I have tried pingdom and GTmetrix tests without me logged in at all to my WP site and I find that the server delay results for the Upfront calls are the same and do not either disappear or get quicker.

    Some say admin-ajax.php delays may have something to do with WP's Heartbeat which can cause too many admin-ajax.php calls, but I have tried turning Heartbeat off and it made no difference.

    Turn off Plugins per page?
    Some say that certain plugins should be turned off (with Plugin Organiser, ) according to the page/post content being displayed (to avoid unnecessary calls to the server and the plugins that aren't needed), but that's not always easy to know what is or isn't to do with a page being called by a browser especially with things like Upfront, and in any case the Luke+Sara Home page seems to be a hardcoded page in the (functions.php?) theme rather than an actual post/page.

    Cache and tweaks
    I tried the wp-config mentioned above:
    define('UPFRONT_COMPRESS_RESPONSE', true, true);
    It maybe helped a bit but not much - what's it supposed to do (any documentation)? I tried some caching with WP Super Cache but whatever I tried so far crashed/corrupted when I tried the Minify feature and even Page Cache seemed to stop images.

    I have no idea about using CDNs. I know what they do and how good they are for big sites with lots of traffic, it's just the thought of paying that sort of money for my few small sites has kept me away from them (unless someone knows a good one I can try and isn't a cost per domain or is at least a cheap cost for basic (hardly used ) sites.

    Server upgrade
    I guess I'll just have to wait and see if the hardware changes my host is planing soon will help on response times. Previously (before using Upfront) I could live with the single initial slow server response time for any given page, but now that I have four more files that cause a secondary response delay (due to whatever Upfront now wants) means that I and users cannot wait the 10 seconds or more to see a page and the site becomes unusable.

    Upfront's Requirements?
    Maybe I'm expecting too much from Upfront minimum system requirements and I shouldn't really be using it on shared hosting (even on good shared hosting)? Would it be fair to say that Upfront should only really be used on a VPS upwards due to its more sophisticated and professional needs/requirements?

  • Rupok

    Hi MrArtist

    Well, I'm now more sure this is your site specific issue. Because I tried to access the following URL for my test site and it was generated and loaded within 700ms:
    Please check the attached screenshot for reference. So it's not Upfront specific, rather it's taking time on your server because there might be something which is causing this.

    Load time: ~900ms

    Load time: ~300ms

    Load time: ~600ms

    Now look at the last link, it's the default included jquery file. This is not really big and it should not take this much time on your server as it doesn't do any dynamic query, doesn't process anything, just get loaded so other jquery codes can work. It's taking 1.65s on your site which is absolutely not normal. Using CDN will reduce load time for these type of static files and will definitely speed up your site.

    To troubleshoot the process, can you first make a clone of your site to another server to confirm if this is your site specific issue or server specific issue? If you find this is not server specific, can you please make a plugin conflict test just to make sure this is not being caused because of any plugin taking resources or something?

    I'm really curious to solve this issue as soon as possible. I'm waiting for your response and I'll jump in as soon as you confirm your results.

    Have a nice day. Cheers!

  • MrArtist

    Hi Rupok

    Thanks for your continued interest in my Upfront problem - I only just discovered your reply from the 10th, (the email about it was filtered by SpamAssassin on default levels), so I've missed the links you mentioned. They are now 404s so I can't compare my results.

    Since my last message I've been waiting on some long-promised upgrades and improvements to my (shared) hosting. It didn't really happen so I had a moan at them the other day and they've now upgraded my reseller service to a Cloud/VPS version.

    It only happened a few hours ago so I'm waiting for the revised DNS details to fully propagate before I'm able to fully confirm any improvements. The first few tests of page views do seem to indicate some faster responses (sometimes) but I think I need to wait a few more hours before I get a true picture.

    I did do the Upfront 1.2 updates the other day to see if that helped, but sadly no. I do agree, it's some problem with my hosting co. I should perhaps also try and arrange a test hosting account at yet another company.

    I'll report back here soon once I know more.


  • MrArtist

    Hi again
    (NB my ID has slightly changed, but I started the initial question)

    Firstly, I misread Rupok's links last week and now realise he was just specify sample links.

    So, it's been a long few weeks of trouble (not just with Upfront, but also other plugins, deployment and backups, etc), but after many comparison tests on a new server (trial account) this week and viewing results from a trial of Pingdom and its graphs, I finally gave up on my old hosting company as of last night. Even their Cloud server was poor compared to the new hosting company I've just moved everything to.

    Moving to the new new server is like a breath of fresh air, even after just 24 hours I can see it performing much better. The Pingdom graphs virtually flat-lining in comparison to the massive large and variable spikes at the now old hosting company.

    Overall, in my various tests in recent weeks, from the three various builder WYSIWYG frameworks I've now tried, I can say that Upfront at the moment (in its evolution) does seem to take a little longer than the others, but I'm seeing better responses now on the new server.

    No doubt when I try some caching, CDN and some of the newly available Upfront tweaks I'll get things to be much faster yet.

    I'm still on a shared server, but there's seems to be a lot less contention on the service, so things are given freer reign on resources which overall are restrained by disc allowance (to prevent over-stuffing of sites) rather than pull back or limit other resources and time-outs. I intend to move up to their Cloud/VPS for more intensive sites soon.

    The main lesson I've learned, by all I've read, found, tested and experimented with is "Have a good server" - simple as that. A good one may be more expensive than I desired, but then how much time have I wasted learning that lesson on inferior services. - A good Cloud/VPS service for more serious work is almost a must.

    Thanks for everyone's help.

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