The WP Minute+

Host Matt Medeiros interviews Brent Lundell, an IT innovator at Bluehost, about optimizing WordPress performance and scaling on Bluehost’s infrastructure. They dive into the challenges of supporting a diverse WordPress landscape, from outdated plugins to complex WooCommerce stores.
“I came through those days and it wasn’t our best period. We’re better now and we’ve really put the work in to make that experience a lot more effective.”
Brent Lundell
With over 15 years at Bluehost’s parent company Newfold, Lundell provides unique insights into their cross-functional approach to WordPress optimization. If you run a WordPress site on Bluehost or are considering the platform, you won’t want to miss Lundell’s candor regarding their past struggles and recent improvements. Tune in to understand Bluehost’s dedication to the individual WordPress user’s experience.
Key Takeaways:
  • Bluehost builds custom solutions for WordPress instead of relying on off-the-shelf configurations
  • They optimize for complex WooCommerce stores as an indicator of overall WordPress performance
  • A cross-functional “performance team” coordinates WordPress improvements across the company
  • Bluehost partners directly with key players like Cloudflare, JD Goff at WordPress Core, and major plugin developers
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For long-form interviews, news, and commentary about the WordPress ecosystem. This is the companion show to The WP Minute, your favorite 5-minutes of WordPress news every week.

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Hey, Brett, welcome to the program.

Hey, Matt, how's it going?

It's going well.

Thanks for joining today.

Bluehost, fantastic
sponsor of the WP minute.

You coincidentally work for Bluehost.

So we're happy to have you here.

I just have to get that away for,
get that out of the way for the SEC.

So I don't get in trouble.

Brent: I mean, honesty kind of matters.

So I'm on board.

But

Matt: what we've been doing with
all of our Bluehost conversations

is Sort of just finding out, hey,
who's, who's touching things in for

WordPress behind the scenes at Bluehost.

Bluehost always has a fantastic
presence at WordCamps, so you

get to see a lot of face to face.

If you go to WordCamps, they,
Bluehost just became another global

sponsor, uh, of WordCamps to help,
uh, continue that cause as well.

But hopefully we can find, you know,
other folks behind the Bluehost label

that maybe you don't see out at WordCamps.

Which actually is probably a
good question, Brent, were you

Brent: at WordCamp US?

I haven't been in a few years, right?

Pre COVID, I had been to a
few, particularly US ones.

But since then, I've moved more into the
darker system architecture kind of space.

And the WordPress more front end teams
have been the face at the WordCamps.

Matt: You've been at
Bluehost, well, you've been at

Newfold for quite some time.

15 years, 8 months.

Just as, almost as long as
Mike, who I interviewed, Mike

Hanson, who I interviewed.

In the last Bluehost session, and
you've been there for a while, one

of your things is I, one of your,
I'm looking at your LinkedIn, one

of your subtitles is IT innovator.

Brent: Oh, yeah.

I mean, so, so it's a, it's an
interesting approach, right?

There's, there's been some common views
that, that I've tried to challenge.

As we approach sort of the hosting
technology on underlying Bluehost.

And one of them is that it's, it's
largely been held that a front

end team and a back end team will
intrinsically be in conflict.

Because the front end person, you
know, the, particularly a support

agent is working with one individual
customer and that customer is

everything during that phone call.

Whereas the back end team is working on a
problem that affects 1, 000 or 10, 000 or

a million different WordPress installs,
and thus, you know, potentially, you

know, hundreds of thousands of customers.

And so there's a, there's, there's
always been this belief that I've seen

permeate not just at Bluehost, but
various other organizations that, you

know, they will always be in conflict,
and it's a healthy conflict, and

it's natural for them to be sort of
pushing and pulling against each other.

And I've tried to be approaching,
you know, In in the technology

space, particularly over the back end
teams approaching it more as well.

Hold on those front end teams.

Those individuals right are
telling us what they need.

They might not be the 300, 000 customers
that you happen to be working on, but

they are the ones who need us today, and
that can very much inform our road map

for how we approach the 300, 000 later.

And if we're listening to the
individual, then suddenly we have

the opportunity to shift Our entire
approach to be able to, to better

focus on helping individual needs.

So I, I, I think that that's, you
know, one example that sort of applies.

You pulled

Matt: something out of
my memory years ago.

I was, I too was an IT director at
an ISP and internet service provider.

Back in the day when we did T
one lines, ISDN lines dial up.

And I remember managing at
the time anyway, a windows.

NT server with IIS web server on it
for the websites we used to host.

This is eons ago, right?

And I remember the support

Brent: team.

Those servers still exist.

I don't have it.

Oh yeah.

They exist.

Matt: I remember the support team
just asking me, you know, this

problematic customer keeps calling up.

He's got this catalog.

I remember this vividly
because there was an author.

At the time who had his books, I
mean, this is way ahead of his time.

I'm talking like back in early
2000s, had his books cataloged on his

website and he would always call up.

Hey, my website's down.

My website's running slow.

And I remember the support team being
like, can you just allocate more

memory to him to just his thing on IIS?

I'm like, I can't do that because
we have all these other hosts, all

these other customers on this server.

Sure.

And that was.

laughable back then we're talking maybe
a hundred, a hundred customers on this

one server back then today's landscape is
just vastly different and with WordPress

into the mix, man, you have so many
needs on the customer and sort of that

front end, like you said, in the back
end that you have to manage, is there

something about WordPress that makes Yeah.

Your life, let's say interesting on the
back end, like because WordPress does

this, you have to do that on the back end.

Is there any story like that that you

Brent: have?

Well, so bearing in mind, right,
like WordPress is, is probably

the most all things to all people
application out there, right?

It can be everything.

And I think that that's, that's
sort of the interesting challenge.

You know, if you look at a lot of
our competitors who use something

proprietary, they get to hyper focus.

On exactly the thing that their software
does, and if they choose to add a

feature, then, you know, they have
months potentially to be able to work

on that feature in contrast, right?

We don't control the customer's website.

The customer controls their own website.

They're using WordPress.

They get to be able to do
anything that they want.

There's a variety of
plugins that they can use.

There's a variety of themes that they
can use, and that creates this sort of

more complex landscape for what we look
at versus what you might find with.

I can't say the word traditional, but what
you might find with more of a DevOps style

team, which is, you know, hyper focused on
being able to optimize specific use cases.

So I think that's the first thing, but
the second thing I think I would add

is, A particular challenge for us and
really the WordPress community and you

know, even our conversations with the
WordPress core development team is the

plugin authors come and go and they have
a tendency to, not all of them, right?

Most popular plugins are updated
regularly, but a lot of them are behind.

And so, you know, as we're trying to get
customers on to modern secure versions of

PHP and trying to get out of, you know,
extended end of life type of support,

it can be a struggle to make sure that
we don't break a customer's website.

Who happened to be using a plugin that
is either outdated or hasn't had an

update that supports later versions
of this space I think that's the area

we're trying to to figure out how to
solve and it's it's not just us, right?

It's the whole community Is trying
to take you know What is 20 years

of blue host wordpress focus and try
and figure out how to help customers?

Who built their website in, in a way
that leveraged it's no longer updated or

hasn't, you know, received modern support.

That kind of space is a huge
challenge and it's one that

we're, you know, in conversations
with the WordPress core team.

We discuss it with, you know, Matt
Mullenweg and then internally, right,

I have a meeting at least twice
a week trying to figure out how

we can help another subset of, of
customers who are in this situation.

Matt: The WordPress space is,
is an interesting space because.

I mean, I see this on my YouTube comments.

I'll do a video, let's say, I'll do a
tutorial on the latest WordPress 2024

theme, I'll show somebody how to use
the new 2024 theme in WordPress, and

then I'll just get comments that, you
know, WordPress is terrible because

they tried to do something On their
WordPress site and it didn't work.

And then I'll ask like, Hey, well,
where in 20, when, where in the 2024

theme are, were you seeing this problem?

And then they'll comment like,
Oh, I'm not even using 2024.

It's like, it's

Brent: totally other things.

Like, yeah, it's not related to the video.

Right.

And it's, yeah, it's not,
but it is a problem, right?

It's their experience,

Matt: right?

It's their experience.

Right.

And you bring up again, a good point.

Like you have to, it's not just.

Hey, WordPress 6.

4 and with 6.

5, you have to, you know, stay
on your toes and learn and

optimize infrastructure for.

But suddenly, it's like some random
plug in that a few hundred sites are

running and that person no longer exists.

They don't update the plug in anymore.

Now you have to

solve

Brent: for that.

Yeah, and there might be a security up,
uh, security issue that comes out, right?

You'll see, you know, various
news stories or a word fence,

you know, publication, right?

There's, there's a lot of, of this
space where there's, what is it?

20, 000 plus plugins that, you know, make
this, this, you know, very complicated.

And we have.

You know, probably at least a hundred
of every one of those 20, 000,

Matt: right?

Do you have a particular, I don't know,
I don't know what I would label it, but

like a system or a channel or a team that
just like just works with big plugins

and make sure everything's optimized.

You have like a hotline for like,
I know you all new fold owns yo.

So you have, you know, it's one of the
largest plugins in the, in the space.

Sure.

But is there like a WooCommerce team?

Gravity Forms team, like all these
big plugins, you have a means

to communicate with them or a
system on how you approach that.

Yeah,

Brent: so the, so you probably linked to
the interview you did with Mike Hansen,

but the, the, the teams that he oversees,
you know, include WordPress outreach.

And he'll commonly, right, his team
members will commonly reach out to plug

in developers who, you know, have recently
had a, uh, a security exploit and we'll

talk to them about which versions should
be upgraded and which versions should not.

He'll, you know, communicate with
proprietary plug in developers where the

update might not be on, on WordPress.

org, but we still want to
get the security update out.

And then, of course, right, like, we have
communications into, to the bigger ones.

you know, sort of by default, right?

Jetpack, Yoast, obviously, but also, you
know, WooCommerce and some of this other

space will have these conversations,
you know, directly with them, you

know, sort of on an ongoing basis.

And we might have You know, shared
Slack channels or, or other forms that

allow for real time communication.

And then, you know, other
than that, you know, there's

a degree of as needed, right?

We, we have our teams communicate
through the WordPress message

boards or social media teams.

They can connect people up with, with,
you know, plugin developers up if needed.

We have people communicating
through the WordPress, excuse

me, through the Reddit space.

And, you know, trying to, to be.

You know, open to an approach, right?

If somebody needs to communicate with
us to resolve something with their

plugin, we want to be available for that.

Matt: Take me down, but I'm going to
pull on my again, back in my days at the

ISP, I remember going to our co location.

We had this co location that we, we
just literally rented like a small

corner of AT& T's co location where
we'd bring servers in and stuff,

kind of laughable again these days.

Brent: But I did something similar, right?

When we were a startup,
yeah, like that's an I.

T.

closet.

Well, it's a data center now.

Yeah.

Matt: And you know, I remember
launching the very first C

panel server at our company.

Probably one of the first C panel servers
when they first came onto the scene.

And when we scaled, again, back then
it was just, okay, this server's at

capacity, bring in another server.

What is the, what does
the technology look like?

You know, stuff that you
could talk about publicly.

What does the technology look like
these days to, to scale WordPress?

Do you spend time, like, thinking
about buying more hardware and servers?

Or is it more like, hey, let's, let's
optimize WordPress here at Bluehost

that runs on our infrastructure.

Like, do you take it on
the software side first?

And then start to think
about the infrastructure.

What does that look like when
you talk about speed optimization

Brent: and scale?

Well, so we keep a, a cross
functional performance.

Team that meets regularly at least
weekly going and then a range from

you know members of the wordpress core
development team who actually work on

You know the writing the the php code
that gets deployed in say wordpress 6.

5 It'll include you know members of our
of our team that focus on hardware And

we're working on you know a new hardware
skew that takes advantage of you know

newer technology that will hopefully
start showing up On our, on our signup

pages and the like over the next couple
of months, but we also, you know, have

team members who are completely focused
on, you know, what would be, you know,

what you could describe sort of, I guess,
is as the lamp stack doesn't really

apply as well as it did back in the day,
but, you know, looking at, you know, the

Linux sequel, PHP, Apache kind of layers.

And, you know, going through
and optimizing that space, so

we'll see, you know, we'll see,
you know, hardware changes that

are, you know, more of a yearly.

A yearly update and then we do
extensive testing with with with

vendor hardware for Dell and super
micro and a number of others.

They'll send us loaners and then
we'll do speed testing with our own

software stack on top of that to be
able to try and optimize and in various

configurations will do, you know,
a continuous sort of review of the

Apache and PHP config files and try
and understand, you know, across Thanks

Millions of WordPress installs, tens of
thousands of BPS and dedicated boxes.

Thousands of, of more of a traditional
shared space will be, we will go

through and, and look at data in
aggregate individual to a server

cases where, you know, a server
or test site isn't performing as,

as well as the other thousands.

And cases where it is performing
well, well, well above the

performance expectations of the
other thousands and then we evolve,

you know, each of those cases.

But I think the key really comes back
to it being cross functional, right?

We're not doing this in isolation.

It's not just.

You know, the, the guys working on
the Bluehost plug in by themselves.

And it's not just the guys
working on hardware by themselves.

It's not just the system administration
groups working on optimizing, you

know, a LAMP style stack by themselves.

We're all doing this together and
using the same testing metrics so

that we can, you know, see what impact
each of us is having on the stack.

Matt: I worked at This is just
gonna be my life story for you.

This whole podcast is funny.

I worked at Pagely, WordPress hosting
company for three and a half years.

I was an account executive, executive
for them, and I was selling, we were

primarily selling managed WordPress
hosting hosted on AWS, right?

And, you know, the question here is,
I'm sure this is like a shared pain

point is the first word that comes
to my mind, but a shared mission

probably across all your teams.

Customer starts out at the basic level.

I'm looking at bluehost.

com right now.

Well, bluehost.

com slash wonder suite.

Uh, if you sign up for 12 months,
it's two nine, 2 in 95 cents a month.

Like most people are finding that
money in the bottom of their couch

cushions or underneath their car seat.

And then that customer loads WooCommerce,
Elementor every plugin, right?

They're building their site.

They're, they're going at it.

They're putting up thousands of, of.

Brent: Yeah,

Matt: they're putting
all their stuff in there.

And then they go, hey Bluehost, it
ain't running the way I want it to run.

You know, and then you have to educate.

And then scale the person up
and do it, you know, gently and

supportive and all this stuff.

And I saw the same thing at the enterprise
level, which Pagely generally sold into.

They'd sign up for 500 bucks
and then suddenly try to have,

uh, you know, 10, 000 SKU store.

And say, hey, this isn't running right.

And say, well, here's the
resources that you're using.

This is the way WordPress is built.

You need to talk to your developer.

We need to optimize these things.

Is that a sha like, It's a big, broad
question, but How is that a shared

mission, if at all, Inside Bluehost?

Like, how do you say, We have to nurture
these people from the beginning And then

scale them up to a dedicated server.

Or a VPS or a cloud solution.

And not just Keep them on basic.

Brent: So, this is a common
conversation for us too, right?

We'll, we'll talk to
the, um, support teams.

We'll talk to our customer
engagement teams, right?

We're, we're always sort of talking
about, you know, how do we, how

do we help educate a customer?

Because, you know, we're, we're seeing
a lot of, uh, and we in fact want to

help a lot of entry level, very little
technology background individuals who are

trying to, to live their dream, right?

They're trying to create a, A business
or a store or even just, you know,

a hobby that is important to them.

So, so trying to reduce, you know,
the difficulty of, of onboarding is,

is sort of been an ongoing mission.

And so, you know, there's, there's a
degree of like, of customer support.

We'll have some of these conversations.

We will go in and we actually, as our
primary test site, we use a WooCommerce

store that we actually do use the
T-shirts and we'll have a thousand,

you know, t-shirts in our test sites.

multiplied by colors multiplied by the
t shirt sizes and the way that, you

know, WooCommerce in particular works
when you make a change to one of those

SKUs, it has to rebuild the entire.

You know, combination and that,
and that can be intensive.

So what we've, we've been,
we've been heavily focused on

how do we optimize that space?

So, because we don't necessarily want
somebody to have to, you know, go

looking for a VPS steady, you know, high
end solution just to be able to launch

their, their own personal business.

One of our CEOs, his wife sold hair bows.

Fantastic hair bones.

They, they were, they were gorgeous.

They just were bows that
went into baby's hair.

Very simple, right?

But, but people loved them.

And, you know, she wasn't gonna,
she wasn't necessarily going to, you

know, be the sole breadwinner, winner,
necessarily, but she really enjoyed it.

Her customers loved it.

And, you know, it, she did a
good amount of, of, of business.

But she wasn't, you know, spending
her time learning WordPress.

She was spending her
time making hair bars.

So we, we spend, you know, we take
that sort of to heart even though

that, that CEO has moved on years ago.

We're trying to find a way to, we're
continually trying to find a way to

optimize for WooCommerce complex SKUs that
happen to be, you know, large build outs.

It, it shouldn't be strictly necessary
to go hire a separate developer or to

cut your, your merchandise list in half.

It should be increasingly viable to
do this with modern technology using

something like Wondersuite to take
care of the bulk of the work for you.

Is e

Matt: commerce or WooCommerce the
biggest elephant in the room when

it comes to optimizing WordPress?

Like is that where you probably
spend most of your brain cycles

thinking about optimizing or is it?

Or is that not it?

Brent: So, not really, and the reason is
because we use, our WooCommerce, right?

So, we did a, we did a variety of,
of, of tests, from a vanilla WordPress

installed, to one with, with our
plugin installed, to a, a complex blog.

With all of our plugins installed
to a WooCommerce store, and we

compared all of these right in the
vanilla install that has zero plugins

is obviously the fastest, right?

If you didn't have if you don't
have any content or plugins or

functionality, then it goes great.

So we spent a lot of time
comparing the these approaches.

And what we found right was, we really
don't need to optimize for the case where

nobody's Got any content when we want to
optimize for the case where people have a

lot of content because we want to be able
to help people grow into that space and

then that left us, you know, comparing
sort of a complex blog that did everything

wordpress can do and had large images
and small images and posts and pages and

comments and everything and then comparing
that against a complex WooCommerce store,

we actually found that, you know, the,
the, the, as a The testing progressed

that their trend lines moved in sync.

They might've been a little bit different.

WooCommerce is a little bit more
complex and running on top of

a complex blog, essentially.

So it's a little bit slower.

Not a lot, but a little.

And when, but still you watch those speed
trend lines, those performance indicators,

and they just really move in sync as we
make changes and do different things.

So we made that, the decision at that
point to be able to say, well, let's

use the store, the WooCommerce store
as our primary test suite because

it's an indicator of everything else.

That, that, you know, would be tested
behind us and, you know, it has a number

of, of common plugins to, to WooCommerce.

And then we, you know, have
complexity around those skews.

So I wouldn't say that we spend a
lot of time thinking specifically

about WooCommerce, right?

We use it as a test that indicates
how well we're doing everywhere.

So every optimization we make.

It already sort of takes WooCommerce into
account as a core element of that metric.

Matt: When the, I'm just going to start
to laugh before I ask this question, but

when the product team came to you and
they say, Hey, we're building Wondersuite.

It's going to have AI and it's going to
do all these things and start doing all

these like complex queries to layouts
and helping users create content and

pulling images and stuff like that.

And they were super excited because most
product people are, and then they come to

somebody like you, who's more the realist
in the room, they go, okay, then you

say, oh, but we're going to need more.

We're going to need a bigger boat.

to steal a line from the Jaws movie.

We're gonna need a bigger
boat to power this stuff.

Was that a thing for you?

Like, oh man, you're bringing all these
crazy features, but now we have to expand

the footprint of the infrastructure a
bit to kind of handle the extra capacity

for something like Wondersuite on top

Brent: of WordPress?

Fortunately not, and I
think I would credit that.

Very strongly to the cross, you know, the
cross functional performance team, right?

They're already in the room.

They're already, you know, sitting with us
as we go through this, this type of work.

And so, you know, the architecture
was built such that, you know, the

majority of that AI work doesn't have
to take place on the same server that

is providing your, you know, providing
content to the rest of the world, right?

The hosting servers will serve up
your website, but the AI process.

Will will happen on a separate environment
and and really so you know you sort

of by designing the architecture In
that way of isolating, hey, we have

isolating how we want the customer to
be able to experience their website.

Right?

We want an environment and a
technology that's focused on that.

And then we still want to be able to add
this feature set, but they don't have

to exist using the same CPU and RAM.

Right?

They don't have to compete for resources.

And I think that, you know, what
really gave us the ability to

do that was because we're, they
weren't operating in isolation.

They knew, you know, sort of the
challenges that we were dealing with and

what we were trying to optimize for and
how we were trying to work on edge cases.

And they were able to say, Oh, so
we're going to build it with, you

know, this architectural segmentation.

And we were able to say, yeah, great.

What do you need?

Ended up being relatively simple
since we're already working together.

Matt: Alright, so let me just
pull back again, once again,

back into my early days.

This is how I got into all of this stuff,
was I used to work at Circuit City.

And I used to sell
computers at Circuit City.

And one day I remember a customer came
in to Circuit City and they said, Hey,

give me the cheapest computer you have.

Now, this is back.

I'm talking like Pentium 1s and 2s.

Pentium 3 was just on the horizon.

Anyone who has no idea what
I'm saying, you are very young.

You probably don't remember these CPUs.

But anyway, the customer comes
and says, give me the cheapest.

Computer you have, I'm going to
run this thing called Linux on it.

And I was like, what is this Linux?

And back in the day, you could
actually buy software off the shelf.

And he went over and he grabbed
a box of Linux, which I think

at the time was Mandrake Linux.

Sounds right.

And he checked out.

Yeah, and he checked out and
he took his 300 computer.

I was like, that guy is not going
to do anything with that 300

computer in this operating system.

And then I got into the world of it.

Fast forward, that's what got
me into like, into the IT space,

building networks, again, for the
local company, and just like really

enjoying open source, and that was my
first foray into, into open source.

Does the landscapes, what does the
landscape look like, uh, inside

Bluehost for that operating system?

Is it, it's all Linux driven?

Is it Windows driven these days?

Is it like Ubuntu or Gentoo?

What's the

Brent: pattern look like?

Yeah, it's still very much CentOS
and we're transitioning towards Alma.

But the, you know, across, if I were
to, you know, take a step back and look

at, you know, hosting in general and New
Fold as a whole, got everything, right?

There's a lot of companies that have
come together to sort of make this space.

But predominantly, you know,
we're building our own kernels.

We're building our, our own Apache.

We're building our own PHP.

We're building most of
the stack ourselves.

So we're less concerned about the, the
operating system that is necessarily

involved and more concerned with like
that guy running Mandrake, you know, how

slim we can get each of these layers and
still provide the experience we need.

Because, you know, the thinner
each one of these gets, the

more performant it tends to be.

So what we're looking for is, is
modularity more than we're looking

for, you know, even, you know, hyper
modern operating systems, right?

We're looking for
reliability and modularity.

What's the biggest

Matt: bottleneck for WordPress
in terms of performance?

Is it the database layer?

Or is it PHP and, and, and JavaScript?

Is that bottleneck MySQL and the
queries and, you know, I, I, I

haven't been in the space very long.

You know, I haven't dug deep into the
space infrastructure wise and like how

WordPress impacts like server loads,
network loads and all that stuff, but

I know that there's a lot of people
on the web that are talking about

Jamstatic and static websites and oh
man, if you're using WordPress and you

have All of these types of software.

It's just, it's just a slow experience.

Go headless, they say.

You know, and it's just like,
well, WordPress still works.

And it still works on like 90 percent
of the infrastructure out there.

What is that bottleneck and
is there something that you're

looking, that you look towards?

Maybe WordPress optimizing in the future?

Brent: Well, I think that it's,
it's interesting that, that

you talk about headless, right?

Because you can get a headless experience
with WordPress relatively simply.

So if you, if you think about
WordPress is doing a number of

things in the background, right?

It's, it's querying a plugin,
it's reaching out to to MySQL it's

com, you know, working through
PHP and constructing an HTML page.

And then it's providing that HTML
page to Apache, which delivers it to.

the end user.

If you are able to say reliably that
that page hasn't changed since the last

time it was built, then you can cache it.

And that's what caching plugins have been
doing for, you know, a decade and a half.

But with, with more modern technologies,
you can actually present that HTML

page up into a CDN like CloudFlare
and be able to say, this is static.

Keep it cached for X number of minutes.

And now what you're really looking at is.

It's a static HTML page that is
essentially a headless homepage

sitting up at the CloudFlare caching
layer being presented to your,

to your end users upon request.

So I think that that's where, where,
like where some of this diverges, right?

And that's where it's limiting some of the
headless adoption because it's not unique.

To just building a static page and
publishing it in a headless space.

Other systems can already do
that, including WordPress.

Uh, and that I think is where, you know,
some of that difference really lies.

Speaking to, you know, the
complexity of generating those pages.

It can be very site dependent.

The page that does a lot of complexity
with plugins to be able to generate, you

know, various blocks or page elements
can be very diff, can be much more

complex than a page that uses, or a theme
that uses, you know, multiple database

entries to display a bunch of different
comments alongside multiple blog entries.

So it can be very site dependent.

And so I think you end up having
to sort of Optimize for each space.

So, for example, you know, we partner
with cloudflare to be able to publish,

you know, the static content, but we
also, you know, optimize my sequel to be

able to get the queries out pretty quick.

Then we add object caching.

At the PHP layer so that we don't
necessarily have to do database

lookups if that hasn't shifted and
we then add in, you know, additional

elements like static file caching if
somebody isn't using cloudflare for,

you know, images, videos, PDFs, you
know, static content that doesn't ship.

So it's, it's more about, if I'm an
individual WordPress developer, right,

I'm responsible for one website, I'm
responsible for, I don't know, whitehouse.

gov.

I'm going to be optimizing for that
individual use case, and obviously

I encourage those developers
to do that, regardless of where

they're hosted or what they do.

But at the same time, intrinsically,
it's our responsibility at Bluehost

to make sure that we're optimizing for
each element, under the assumption that

different customers have different needs.

Matt: Last few questions here.

Do you interface with the core
contributing team that Bluehost

sponsors, like John DeRoges and,
and the rest of the, his colleagues

that, that work in contributing to

Brent: core?

Yeah, yeah, John, I talk
to fairly regularly, JD.

He's on our, he's on our
performance committee, I guess,

our performance working group.

And, and we'll talk to
him pretty regularly.

And then, you know, we'll have
conversations around, you know,

we'll pull him in as, as we look
at, at different caching layers.

When we were working on object caching
in the PHP layer, for example, and we'll

have, have some of those conversations
with him, but we'll also, you know,

talk to him more broadly about, hey.

You know, when are we thinking
that WordPress will support PHP 8.

3, because we definitely don't want
to be putting it, you know, as the

default version for new customers
if WordPress isn't ready yet.

And we'll have conversations
with them about, hey, we're

noticing this bug when 6.

4 came out, right?

Many hosting companies were,
were encountering a bug, an

unexpected bug that we were seeing
in a, in a number of places.

And, you know, we were able to work
with him directly on it and pulled

him into our, our phone calls directly
with our developers saying, here are

API calls have stopped functioning.

And so, you know, we, we
work with those guys a lot.

And in particular, JD tends to be
the guy that we'll work with the most

brilliant mind, just an incredible mind.

And he understands how to work with, with.

The community and us extremely well
like he he's able to sort of adapt

between different conversations better
than most every developer I've seen.

It's very

Matt: impressive.

He was employee number one at my
agency when I started it so I'll.

I'll, I'll take the credit for that.

Yeah,

Brent: it was all you, man.

It's all you.

He's

Matt: a heck of a baseball
player or was, but you know,

now he's old and he has a kid.

Yeah, just kidding.

Just kidding, John.

If you're listening to, if you're
listening to the podcast today, if,

if Bluehost ever does or Newfold does
a softball league, internal softball

league, scoop him up, don't let him go

Brent: to, we're globally
distributed, right?

That's a lot of people to get on a plane.

Matt: If it does happen, Brent,
this has been a fantastic.

It's great to kind of learn how,
uh, you all are approaching the

infrastructure and the performance
and the impact of WordPress.

Is there anything else that That
you want to touch upon, that you,

that you think your team or teams
do really well for WordPress.

So the listeners know that you're paying
attention to the quality and the output of

the experience of WordPress and Bluehost.

Brent: I just want to be transparent
and say, right, there have been

periods in Bluehost history where
we have not been performant.

Where you have not lived up to our
own standards, and I think that that

has, you know, pretty dramatically
shifted over the past couple of years

as we've really readjusted how we
approach, you know, customer success

and, you know, the overall experience.

And I would, I would say that, you know,
people who had a bad experience with

Bluehost in the past, I understand, right?

I, I, I came, I came through those days
and it wasn't, you know, our best period.

We're better now.

And we've really put the work in to, to
make that experience a lot more effective.

And we're now seeing, you know, of course,
you know, external validation of that,

you know, with various other awards and
tests proving that we've had success.

So just speaking, you know,
sort of as a capstone, right.

Give us a try again.

We've been working on it.

We admit that we haven't been perfect,
but we've really come back around and

hopefully we've gotten to a point where
people who had a bad experience in the

past will have a great experience now.

Matt: That's it for today's episode.

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