Using the Heartbeat Control Plugin

Heartbeat Control header

If you are not familiar with the WordPress Heartbeat API, then you should learn how it affects your WordPress site. Basically, this feature establishes real-time communication between the server where your site is hosted and the browser that is connecting to your site when you’re logged into the Administrator Dashboard. The admin-ajax.php file sends an AJAX request every 15 seconds when you’re in the post editor or every 60 seconds if you’re just on the dashboard. How does this affect your site? If your admin is open for a long time, then the AJAX requests can build up to the point of affecting your server CPU usage. This in turn may lead to performance issues, especially if you have multiple admins running editing or other management tasks on your WordPress site.

The Heartbeat Control plugin by WP Rocket allows you to control the WordPress Heartbeat API. You can add rules for the dashboard, frontend editor, post editor, or even stop its activity completely. This article will show you how to download and use the plugin.

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How to Install the Heartbeat Control Plugin

Installing WordPress plugins is an easy task, especially when working through the plugins page in the Administrator Dashboard. These instructions use installation options in the Add Plugins page. You can also download the zip file and then install it from that file if necessary.

  1. Log in to the WordPress Administrator as an administrator.
  2. Click on Plugins.
  3. Click on Add New.
  4. In the top right corner of the Add Plugins page, click on the search field next to where you see the Keyword label. If you don’t see “Keyword” click on the drop-down arrow and select it.
  5. In the search field, type, Heartbeat Control.
  6. You should see Heartbeat Control by WP Rocket as one of your results. Click on the Install Now button.
  7. When the installation completes you will need to click on the Activate button.

That completes the install! The next section walks you through the different settings.

How to Use the Heartbeat Control Plugin

Once the plugin is installed you will find the plugin settings under the Settings menu for your WordPress site labeled Heartbeat Control. All of the configuration options for the plugin are made from this page. Follow the instructions below to learn about the settings and how they can be changed.

Heartbeat Control settings page
  1. To get to the settings, make sure you’re logged into the WordPress Admin. Click on Settings, then Heartbeat Control.
  2. You will immediately see the General settings page for the plugin as per the screenshot above. There are three main settings: WordPress Dashboard, Frontend, and Post editor. By default, all of the settings are set to allow the heartbeat. If you want to disable it, then click on Disable Heartbeat. Note: If you disable the heartbeat, make sure you tell your users to backup/save their changes at regular intervals when working in the dashboard, Frontend editor, or post editor.
  3. To modify a heartbeat to a specific frequency, click on Modify Heartbeat. You will see a slider bar labeled Override Heartbeat frequency that defaults to 15. Slide the bar to your preferred frequency. Remember that these settings are in seconds. For example, if the bar is at 15, then there is an ajax request every 15 seconds.
  4. Once you have completed making changes to the settings for the Heartbeat Control plugin, make sure to click on the SAVE button at the bottom of the page.

The Heartbeat Control plugin is a tool to help prevent a large amount of ajax requests from affecting the performance of your WordPress hosting server. If you’re the only person working on your WordPress site, then you may not need to use the plugin. However, if you’re seeing performance issues and you have several people who are always in the dashboard, editing the frontend, or working on posts, then you may benefit from using this plugin.

Congratulations! you should now be familiar with the Heartbeat Control plugin. To learn more about WordPress, please visit our WordPress Education Channel.

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