What powers your blog? What did you do to make your blog what is it today? Well, here’s what goes into this blog (liberiangeek.net). This site may not be the best and fastest when you compare it to many similar sites. In fact I don’t consider this site to be any better than the next one considering I only spend less than $90 bucks per month to manage.

If you ask how did we manage to spend less than $90 bucks per month on a site that brings in more than 500,000 visits a month, I will tell you a lot of small but effective tips.

If you want you can try to replicate it and see if it works for you too.

We like what we’ve done on this site. We’ve managed to improve the site’s speed dramatically from 10 seconds of page load time to under 4 seconds in most areas.

Below are some of the setup we have put together on this site. It may not be the best but it works and we’re happy with the site’s performance and security.


First, we pick the cheapest provider to host the site of all we looked at. This site is powered by 1and1 dedicated server (L4) config with Linux OS. It comes with 4GB RAM, 500GB storage and AMD Quad-core processor for $79.99.



Then we installed Nginx, PHP, MariaDB, PHP-FPM and other extensions to speed things up. Nginx along PHP, MariaDB and PHP-FPM helps speed up WordPress dramatically. PHP-FPM is used to manage page, CSS, JavaScript caches.


WordPress Plugins

Plugins are good, but installing too many have have negative impact on your site. So what we did was to install the bare minimum to keep the site running efficiently.

First installed W3 Total Cache. This plugin is only used to cache database queries and objects. Page cache CSS, JavaScript and others are handled by Nginx and PHP-FPM.

Akismet and Growmap Anti-spambot plugin handle our spam problem. With these two plugins, we virtually kill all spam on this site.

WordPress SEO handles SEO on this site. This plugin helps the site perform well on Google search result pages. It’s a good plugin to have. We installed WP-PageNavi plugin to manage page navigation.

VaultPress automatically backup our site to a remote server so in an event our site gets hacked or crashes, we should be able to restore the site. Contextual Related Posts handles related posts under each post. It’s nice plugin and we love it.


Google PageSpeed

We implemented Google’s PageSpeed service which is currently in beta. This service is like CDN (content delivery network) that copies your blog content onto Google owned servers which are faster in most cases and deliver that content to users requesting it. Instead of users coming to your web server to get the content, they get it from faster servers owned by Google closer to them.

Our Nginx server is configured to work with Google PageSpeed service.


Dome 9

We use Dome 9 to handle security. It is like a firewall. It blocks all ports on your server except for port 80 for Web and SSH. You can then configure SSH to be on demand which can only be opened when you want to connect to your server. It will then lock the port when you’re done. We currently use the free version.


So, there you go. Our setup maybe not be the best, but it cost effective and good. It helps speed the site and provide security. If you have a better setup, please leave a comment below.