Index WP Users For Speed


WordPress sites with many users slow down drastically, especially on Dashboard pages. It can take many seconds each time you display your Users dashboard panel. It takes just about the same large amount of time to display your Posts or Pages panels. While those slow displays are loading, WordPress is hammering on your site’s MySQL or MariaDB database server. That means your site serves your visitors slowly too, not just your dashboard users.

This plugin helps speed up the handling of those large numbers of users. It does so by indexing your users by adding metadata that’s easily optimized by MySQL or MariaDB. For example, when your site must ask the database for your post-author users, the database no longer needs to examine every user on your system. (In database jargon, it no longer needs to do a notoriously slow full table scan.)

When slow queries are required to make sure the metadata indexes are up to date, this plugin does them in the background so nobody has to wait for them to complete. You can set the plugin to do this background work at a particular time each day. Many people prefer to do them overnight or at some other off-peak time.

This is a companion plugin to Index WP MySQL for Speed. If that plugin is in use, this plugin will perform better. But they are in no way dependent on one another; you may use either, both, or of course neither.


  • Access to this plugin's configuration panel.
  • This plugin's configuration panel.


Install and activate this plugin in the usual way via the Plugins panel in your site’s dashboard.

Configure it via the Index for Speed menu item under Users.


  • “Crowd”, a photo by James Cridland, in the banner and icon. CC BY 2.0
  • Japreet Sethi for advice, and for testing on his large installation.
  • Rick James for everything.


Should I back up my site before using this?

Yes. Backups are good practice. Still, this plugin makes no changes to your site or database layout. It adds some transients, and adds rows to wp_usermeta.

My WordPress host offers MariaDB, not MySQL. Can I use this plugin?


I have a multi-site WordPress installation. Can I use this plugin?


I see high CPU usage (load average) on my MariaDB / MySQL database server during user index building or refresh. Is that normal?

Yes. Indexing your registered users requires us to insert a row in wp_usermeta for each of them. We do this work in batches of 1000 users to avoid locking up your MariaDB / MySQL server. Each batch takes server time. Once all the batches of index building or refresh are complete, your CPU usage will return to normal.

How does it work? (Geeky!)

Standard WordPress puts a wp_capabilities row in the wp_usermeta table for each user. Its meta_value contains a small data structure. For example, an author has this data structure.


In order to find all the authors WordPress must issue a database query containing a filter like this one, that starts and ends with the SQL wildcard character %.

meta_key = 'wp_capabilities' AND meta_value LIKE '%"author"%'

Filters like that are notoriously slow: they cannot exploit any database keys, and so MySQL or MariaDB must examine that wp_usermeta row for every user in your site.

This plugin adds rows to wp_usermeta describing each user in a way that’s easier to search. To find authors, the plugin uses this much faster filter instead.

meta_key = 'wp_index_wp_users_for_speed_role_author'

It takes a while to insert these extra indexing rows into the database; that happens in the background.

Once the indexing rows are in place, you can add, delete, or change user roles without regenerating those rows: the plugin maintains them.

What is the background for this plugin?

WordPress’s trac (defect-tracking) system has this ticket # 38741.


There are no reviews for this plugin.

Contributors & Developers

“Index WP Users For Speed” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.




  • Add notice bar showing progress. Use heartbeat to keep progress going.
  • Fix defect when changing user role.
  • Integrate correctly with for large site handling.


First release