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If you notice that you are experiencing an excessive amount of admin-ajax.php requests, the WordPress Heartbeat API can be configured to prevent this type of activity from happening. In this guide, you will learn how to install and configure the Heartbeat Control plugin to help reduce the excessive requests from admin-ajax.php.

Install the Heartbeat Control Plugin for WordPress

  1. WordPress login screen with username and password fields filled in and Login button highlighted

    First, log into your WordPress Administrative Dashboard.

  2. WordPress Dashboard Plugins Add New menu option highlighted

    Hover over Plugins and click on Add New.

  3. Enter description of image

    Type Heartbeat Control into the Search field in the upper right.

  4. Heartbeat Control plugin by Jeff Matson Install Now button highlighted

    Click on the Install Now button next to Heartbeat Control by Jeff Matson.

  5. Heartbeat Control plugin by Jeff Matson Activate button highlighted

    Once the plugin finishes installing, click on the Activate button.

Configure the Heartbeat Control Plugin

NOTE: By default WordPress uses the Heartbeat API to manage things such as post locking (so only one admin can edit a post at once). It is also used for auto-saving. Going forward the API could be used more and more by WordPress developers to handle certain tasks, so keep this in mind if you choose to disable/modify it. Depending on your usage and the features you utilize in WordPress, the configuration of this plugin may disrupt the availability and functionality of some features. If this occurs, you can always adjust the settings to accomodate your needs. The steps below will guide you using a general configuration to help reduce excessive CPU usage.

  1. WordPress login screen with username and password fields filled in and Login button highlighted

    First, log into your WordPress Administrative Dashboard.

  2. WordPress Dashboard Settings Heartbeat Control Settings menu option highlighted

    Hover over Settings and click on Heartbeat Control Settings.

  3. Heartbeat Control Settings Heartbeat Behavior drop-down menu Modify Heartbeat option highlighted

    From this page, you can add rules that will take control of the Heartbeat Behavior. For our example, we will select Modify Heartbeat from the Heartbeat Behavior drop-down menu.

  4. Heartbeat Control Settings Locations Select / Deselect All button highlighted, all checkboxes checked

    In the Locations section, select the boxes you would like to modify the Heartbeat Behavior for. To modify the behavior for all locations, click the Select / Deselect All button to select all of the locations.

  5. Heartbeat Control Settings Frequency slider in right most position and 300 value highlighted

    Click and drag the Frequency slider button to the maximum 300 (seconds) value. This will delay the Heartbeat for 5 minutes.

  6. Heartbeat Control Settings Save Changes button highlighted

    Click the Save Changes button.

Congratulations! You now know how to install and configure Heartbeat Control to modify the behavior of the WordPress Heartbeat API. This is just one way you can minimize the resource usage on your server and improve your WordPress website's performance.

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n/a Points
2018-08-22 4:54 pm

I'm getting some strange behavior after having the Heartbeat Control plugin installed. I received help from tech support to optimize my site, but when I click to view other pages besides my homepage now (which is OK), I get a 404 error. What's weird is that I can see the page in the old WordPress editor, but not the pages I created with Elementor. Any suggestions?

1,010 Points
2018-08-23 9:48 am
I recommend contacting Elementor developers about other alternatives or work-arounds. According to their documentation, this is a known issue.
n/a Points
2018-03-30 7:17 pm

Simply installing and activating has a positive impact without messing with rules?

3,686 Points
2018-03-31 10:30 am
The simple answer is yes. Simply installing and activating the plugin may have a postivie impact.

The effectiveness of the plugin varies depending on the activity and usage of various functions while in the Dashboard. Although installing and activating the plugin may reduce resource usage (positive impact) on one website/system, there may be further configuration necessary for the impact to be noticeable on another website/system.

It's difficult to advise a specific configuration. For this reason, I recommend choosing a configuration and notating the settings you select for that configuration. Test it out and if you feel adjustments are necessary, update your notes as you make them. This will allow you to continue to monitor the impact of various configurations and decide which works best for your circumstances.

I hope this helps!
Carlos DaSilva

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