If you notice that you are experiencing an excessive amount of admin-ajax.php requests, the WordPress Heartbeat API can be configured to prevent this type of activity from happening.
In this guide, you will learn how to install and configure the Heartbeat Control plugin to help reduce the excessive requests from admin-ajax.php.
For more information, see our full guide on WordPress Heartbeat and heavy admin-ajax.php usage.

Install the Heartbeat Control Plugin for WordPress

  1. Login to your WordPress Administrative Dashboard.
  2. Hover over Plugins and click on Add New.
  3. Type Heartbeat Control into the Search field in the upper right.
  4. Click on the Install Now button next to Heartbeat Control by WP Rocket.
  5. Once the plugin finishes installing, click on the Activate button.

Configure the Heartbeat Control Plugin

NOTE: By default WordPress uses the Heartbeat API to manage things such as post locking (so only one admin can edit a post at once). It is also used for auto-saving. Going forward the API could be used more and more by WordPress developers to handle certain tasks, so keep this in mind if you choose to disable/modify it. Depending on your usage and the features you utilize in WordPress, the configuration of this plugin may disrupt the availability and functionality of some features. If this occurs, you can always adjust the settings to accomodate your needs. The steps below will guide you using a general configuration to help reduce excessive CPU usage.

  1. Login to your WordPress Administrative Dashboard.
  2. Hover over Settings and click on Heartbeat Control.
  3. From this page, you can add rules that will take control of the Heartbeat Behavior. For our example, we will select Modify Heartbeat from the Heartbeat Behavior drop-down menu.

    NOTE: Each rule will be handled based on it's priority/position in the list; the highest rule in the list taking priority over the rule below it and so on. Depending on your needs, you may create multiple rules and/or select Disable Heartbeat to disable it completely.

  4. In the Locations section, select the boxes you would like to modify the Heartbeat Behavior for. To modify the behavior for all locations, click the Select / Deselect All button to select all of the locations.
  5. Click and drag the Frequency slider button to the maximum 300 (seconds) value. This will delay the Heartbeat for 5 minutes.

    NOTE: If setting the frequency to the maximum value causes any issues with the performance or features of WordPress, you can lower the value as you see fit.

  6. Click the Save Changes button.

Congratulations! You now know how to install and configure Heartbeat Control to modify the behavior of the WordPress Heartbeat API. This is just one way you can minimize the resource usage on your server and improve your WordPress website's performance.

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