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Announcing the Cloudways Cron Optimizer for WordPress

Updated on October 2, 2023

5 Min Read
Cloudways Cron Optimizer

If you’ve worked with Cron Jobs before, you’re probably aware of the challenges they can pose. Some of you might have switched to Server-side Cron Jobs for better reliability, but that has its own issues. Setting them up and scheduling them can be a hassle, and if not optimized correctly, they can burden your server.

That’s why we’re excited to introduce the Cloudways Cron Optimizer for WordPress. It’s a unique feature that not only seamlessly switches you over to server-side Crons but also intelligently staggers their execution to reduce server load.

Curious to learn more? Keep reading to discover the ins and outs of Cron Jobs, their potential problems, and how our Cron Optimizer simplifies website management.

What Are Cron Jobs?

In the early days of the internet, repetitive tasks like daily maintenance, backups, and generating reports had to be done manually by system administrators, consuming a significant amount of their time. As websites became more complex, the need for automating these tasks became evident.

This led to the creation of Cron Jobs. Cron Jobs are scheduled tasks that the system executes at specified times. These tasks are managed by Cron daemon, a background service that runs on Unix-like operating systems and automates the execution of scripts and commands at set intervals. Essentially, Cron Jobs make system maintenance easier by running specific tasks at designated times.

What Can Cron Jobs Do?

Cron Jobs can automate various repetitive tasks like:

  1. Backups: Regularly backing up system and application files & databases.
  2. Maintenance: Performing system updates and maintenance tasks.
  3. Emails: Automatically sending emails and newsletters, among other essential yet repetitive tasks.

Types of Cron Jobs

Depending on their purpose, Cron Jobs can be categorized into 2 types:

1) Server-Level Cron Jobs: These Cron Jobs are configured at the server level and set to trigger at regular intervals. For instance, a server-level Cron Job can trigger every 5 minutes or every 6 hours.

System Cron Jobs focus on regular system maintenance, while User Cron Jobs handles other periodic tasks as needed.

2) Application-Level Cron Jobs: These Cron Jobs are specific to applications and operate within the application’s environment and permissions.

An example is WordPress Cron Jobs (WP-Cron), typically used to schedule posts & check for WordPress plugin & theme updates. These can be configured within WordPress settings and are triggered based on site traffic.

The Problem

Many users rely on WordPress Cron Jobs to schedule tasks like website article updates. But, this can cause multiple problems such as:

  • WordPress Cron Jobs are unpredictable since they rely on site traffic to trigger.
  • High site traffic can lead to multiple triggers running simultaneously, potentially overloading the server.

Some users switch to server-side Cron Jobs for increased reliability. However, this comes with challenges:

  • Server-side Cron can be complex, especially for beginners.
  • Multiple applications on a single server triggering CronJobs simultaneously can overload the server. This complexity is particularly problematic for digital agencies and freelance developers managing multiple websites on a single server.

In summary, both WordPress Crons and regular server Crons have their drawbacks. WordPress Crons are unreliable, while server Cron Jobs are harder to configure properly.

Our Solution

Our goal was to create a solution that simplifies Cron Job configuration and minimizes server load to maintain optimal server performance. This led us to develop the Cloudways Cron Optimizer for WordPress.

Introducing Cloudways Cron Optimizer for WordPress

The new Cron Optimizer is like a superhero coming to the rescue, eliminating the headaches of configuring WordPress and server Cron Jobs.

In the past, you had to dive into technical settings and disable WordPress Crons manually. But not anymore! The Cron Optimizer handles all of this automatically, smoothly switching your site to a reliable server-based Cron Jobs using WP-CLI, offering better performance than wget. You can then set up and manage all your Cron Jobs from your target application’s Cron Management Tab.

But it gets even better. This new feature schedules Cron Jobs in a smart sequence to prevent server overload.

For instance, if you have 5 Crons set to run at 1 p.m., instead of running everything simultaneously and causing server strain, the Optimizer patiently staggers them one by one, preserving stability & performance.

This means that whether you’re a digital agency owner or an individual with multiple websites on your server, you no longer have to spend hours optimizing them meticulously. You can set a general schedule for each website & let our Cron Optimizer take care of the rest.

For multisite networks, it’s even more considerate. It detects whether a WordPress app is multisite or not, and, in the case of multisite applications, it runs Cron Jobs for each subsite one by one, avoiding any performance hiccups.

Throughout the process, it keeps you fully informed with detailed activity logs, which you can access under /home/{hostname}/{sys_user}/logs/wp-cron.log for each of your sites.

In summary, the Cron Optimizer is like a superhero sidekick you never knew you needed. It handles the heavy lifting of Cron Jobs for you seamlessly and smartly, so you can relax knowing your sites are in good hands. It works behind the scenes 24/7, boosting your server’s performance and stability. Best of all, this feature is available completely free of extra cost for all Cloudways customers!

Cron Jobs without Cron Optimizer Cron Jobs with Cron Optimizer
Your visitors experience slow load times due to too many server Cron Jobs running simultaneously Lightning-fast load times with stable server performance despite high traffic
Manual troubleshooting by digging into log files & identifying conflicting Cron Jobs Easy checking of detailed logs in case of any issues
More hours spent further optimizing Cron Job times Automatically staggered Cron Jobs, removing the need to over-optimize Cron Jobs
End your day worried about more complications with future Cron Jobs Feel like a Cron Expert at day end. Invincible with complete peace of mind.

Enabling the Cloudways Cron Optimizer

You can enable the Cloudways Cron Optimizer by going to the Applications tab, selecting your target application, and then navigating to Application Settings. From there, you can toggle the option on or off with a single click.

Note that the Cron Optimizer is only available from the new Unified Experience on Cloudways.

Future Steps

At Cloudways, our goal is to create an ecosystem where you have the power and flexibility to be truly hands-off with your hosting. Our Cron Optimizer for WordPress is just one step toward achieving that goal. In the coming quarters, we will also be creating a Cron Optimizer for Magento, so our eCommerce-focused customers can benefit from this offering too.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates!

Q. Is the Cloudways Cron Optimizer for WordPress only?

Yes. The Cloudways Cron Optimizer is currently designed specifically for WordPress and won’t work with other CMS platforms.

Q. Does the Cron Optimizer work for WordPress Multisite Installations?

Yes. The Cron Optimizer automatically detects whether the app installation is Multisite or not. In the case of multisite applications, it executes events for each subsite one by one.

Q. Will the Cron Optimizer slow down Cron Jobs?

No. The Cron Optimizer uses WP CLI, which is much faster than wget. This means individual Cron Jobs will be executed faster. However, the staggering of Cron Jobs means that if a server has many applications (50+), it may take some time for all Cron Jobs to be executed.

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Muneeb Ajmal

I'm a Product Marketer with a strong passion for discovering cutting-edge tech solutions that address our everyday challenges. Delving into the world of innovative technology never ceases to amaze me. When I'm not immersed in the realm of tech, you can catch me scrolling through Instagram, admiring the vibrant beauty of various bird species, or escaping into the captivating world of fiction.

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