I have been using NextGen Gallery Plugin for years on the various WordPress blogs I have set up, both for myself and for others. One thing I had not noticed, until recently, was just what a resource hog the NextGen Gallery (NGG for short) plugin is. Maybe I had noticed, because of the light traffic that my blogs typically have. One blog that I helped to set up and continue to help maintain on the back-end has a huge amount of traffic and recently suffered from some major slowdowns due to traffic.
After some analysis type work at the server level I noticed very quickly that two plugins in particular caused a huge spike in CPU usage when active. The CPU usage did not just spike and level off back down close to where it was, but rather doubled or more and stayed at that level for several hours while I was doing the testing. Of the two plugins, sure enough, NextGen Gallery was one of them.
I had been saying for a while now with the built-in gallery functions of WordPress at this point, I am not sure if there really is a need for such a wiz bang over the top tool like NextGen going forward and with that analysis from above I am even more convinced now. I suppose part of the problem is that NextGen is just not very efficient and checking when it has galleries in a post and further must have similar in-efficiency when it is actually loading a gallery. Further, I guess I have compounded it by usually adding a random gallery from NGG in to a widget area on most sites that I have anything to do with.
I do see where there is a small plugin available that makes NGG more efficient, clearly indicating that my personal experiences with its heavy resource usage are not just some strange situation with my setup, but rather a more wide-spread issue. I am currently doing some testing with that plugin (along with a colleague) on the blog that had it first noted, just because there is so much there already in NGG. Just based on the reading, the plugin only offers a little bit short of the premium version – but that is only $15.00 – so that is what we are running with currently.
As for my smaller blogs I think I am going to suggest a conversion away from NGG and to instead adopt the standard built-in gallery with a small plugin to do some enhancement. Expect a follow-up post when some of that conversion and evaluation is complete.
** – Image is NextGen Gallery Logo.