Editor’s Note: Today marks a special day for WordPress. Powering many websites (and yes, Smashing Magazine is one of them), it celebrates its 13th birthday today. Happy birthday, dear WordPress! Here’s to many more! Do you remember when you could run a “fast” WordPress website with just an Apache server and PHP? Yeah, those were the days! Things were a lot less complicated back then. Now, everything has to load lightning-fast! Visitors don’t have the same expectations about loading times as they used to. A slow website can have serious implications for you or your client. Consequently, the WordPress server stack has had to evolve over the years to keep up with this need for speed. As part of this evolution, a few gears have had to be added to its engine. Some of the older gears have had to change as well. The result is that the WordPress server stack looks quite different today than it did a few years ago. To better understand it, we’re going to explore this new stack in detail. You’ll see how the various pieces fit together to make a WordPress website fast. Before diving in, let’s zoom out and look at the big picture. What does this new
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