Generate static WordPress sites faster with these tips on Shifter

Delivering a completely static version of your WordPress site with free and automated HTTPS is easy. Just generate your static site with Shifter and deploy. While this process is simple to do it can take a bit of time depending on your site and its settings.

Here are a few tips on how to manage that time and deploy faster with Shifter.

Tip 1: Check your Shifter Site Settings

Included on every WordPress site running on Shifter is a mu-plugin for controlling the content you want to be included in the static version of your site. Here’s a bit of background on why we build this.

By default, WordPress creates a lot more content than you may not be familiar with. This includes pages and archives for Authors, posts sorted by Day, Month, Year, pages for each item in the media library and more. The list goes on. For every post you create or image you upload, this can add up to 10 or more pages to your site.

During the generating process, each one of these pages will get indexed and Shifter will create a static version. If for example, you have 1000 media uploads, you’ll also have 1,000 additional pages to index and create.

This is neither good or bad, it’s just how WordPress works. If you do for some reason need those pages they will be there ready and waiting. If you had no idea those pages existed and would rather not, disable them with the Shifter Site Settings plugin could save you a lot of build time.

Recently we’ve helped our first featured site, The Burning Monk, by tuning the Shifter Site Settings and saved more than 50% on build time.

To give it a try go to the Site Settings tab from the WordPress admin Dashboard and check which ones you don’t need.

Shifter Site Settings Screenshot - Static Site Generator WordPress Serverless

Tip 2: Disable WordPress Plugins that are not compatible (or unnecessary) while using Shifter

There are a number of WordPress Plugins that Shifter does not support and ones you may not need. For the full list check out our docs on the topic.

For example, if it’s a security plugin like WordFence or iThemes we have you covered. The typical vulnerabilities or exploits that happen in WordPress don’t affect static WordPress sites created with Shifter.

Since your WordPress is only visible to you and it’s only running when you need it, there’s nothing to hack. Also, those plugins might include services for DDoS protection or WAF and we’ve got you covered there too! It’s all included at no additional cost.

Other Plugins you may want to replace or disable are ones that rely on dynamic PHP functions to run. Those include calendar plugins like Events Calendar Pro, WooCommerce, and member plugins.

During the build process Shifter will deactivate plugins that are known to not be supported or cause issues. By removing those plugins entirely before generating your site, you can save the time it takes for Shifter to check and disable them.

It’s important to note that while there is a list of incompatible plugins, we hope that list gets shorter with time. Most recently we announced support for Contact Form 7 through the use of the WP Serverless Forms WordPress Plugin. Detailed in our release, this plugin adds a layer of functionality alongside CF7 bring back the PHP sending functions it loses once it’s static.

Send us your feedback!

Is there something that you found helpful not mentioned here? Send it our way. These tips are the result of direct feedback from customers and it really does help us improve Shifter.

Whether it’s tweaking our generating or creating entirely new plugins to extend the functionality of other plugins, we are all in.