Be Careful When Choosing A New Theme

This week has been hectic, to say the least. We rolled out a new layout on 32 of our blogs, and it introduced a WORLD of problems. I’ve posted in the past about how you should reduce the number of PHP calls in your template files in order to reduce the load on your server, and speed up the delivery of your pages to the end user. In the interest of time, I decided to forgoe my own advice – And it made a real mess!

The new theme we’re using has a LOT of customizable features, all accessible from a seperate page in the WP Dashboard. It’s great for the beginner blogger, but it’s not needed if you know your way around themes. Because of this, there are a TON of PHP calls to check on what parameters have been set, and that really puts a strain on the server. Now multiply that by 32, and you’re totally screwed!

So I had to go through the theme files and remove the unnecessary PHP calls. As I worked, I saw the load averages dropping, so I knew I was on the right path. But now these changes had to be made 31 more times. Talk about tedious..

So learn from me – Do things right the first time, and you’ll end up saving time in the long run!

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2 Responses to “Be Careful When Choosing A New Theme”

  1. Andrew says:

    Why not just edit the theme on one site, export it via whatever FTP tool you use, and then import it onto all your other sites? That’d keep the changes, while saving the hassle of doing it separately another 31 times.

    I know you are probably over the problem now, but it’s an obvious solution that’d save time if you have the problem next time.

    That’s unless you wanted different things to be done to each blog?

    • Zander says:

      You’re absolutely right – Had I planned this a little better, I could have saved a lot of time by editing the theme completely on the first site, and then exporting those changes for the rest of the sites.

      Unfortunately, I never expected the theme to put this kind of load on our server. Only when I dove into the code did I see the incredible number of redundant calls to the Database that could be eliminated by hard-coding some values into the theme.

      Furthermore, each of my blogs have slight variations (colors, logos, sidebar content, etc), so each theme does need to be edited once it’s uploaded. It’s proved to be a REALLY time consuming project.

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