Performance

Wagtail is designed for speed, both in the editor interface and on the front-end, but if you want even better performance or you need to handle very high volumes of traffic, here are some tips on eking out the most from your installation.

We have tried to minimise external dependencies for a working installation of Wagtail, in order to make it as simple as possible to get going. However, a number of default settings can be configured for better performance:

Cache

We recommend Redis as a fast, persistent cache. Install Redis through your package manager (on Debian or Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install redis-server), add django-redis to your requirements.txt, and enable it as a cache backend:

CACHES = {
    'default': {
        'BACKEND': 'django_redis.cache.RedisCache',
        'LOCATION': 'redis://127.0.0.1:6379/dbname',
        # for django-redis < 3.8.0, use:
        # 'LOCATION': '127.0.0.1:6379',
        'OPTIONS': {
            'CLIENT_CLASS': 'django_redis.client.DefaultClient',
        }
    }
}

Caching image renditions

If you define a cache named ‘renditions’ (typically alongside your ‘default’ cache), Wagtail will cache image rendition lookups, which may improve the performance of pages which include many images.

CACHES = {
    'default': {...},
    'renditions': {
        'BACKEND': 'django.core.cache.backends.memcached.MemcachedCache',
        'LOCATION': '127.0.0.1:11211',
        'TIMEOUT': 600,
        'OPTIONS': {
            'MAX_ENTRIES': 1000
        }
    }
}

Image URLs

If all you need is the URL to an image (such as for use in meta tags or other tag attributes), it is likely more efficient to use the image serve view and {% image_url %} tag:

<meta property="og:image" content="{% image_url page.hero_image width-600 %}" />

Rather than finding or creating the rendition in the page request, the image serve view offloads this to a separate view, which only creates the rendition when the user requests the image (or returning an existing rendition if it already exists). This can drastically speed up page loads with many images. This may increase the number of requests handled by Wagtail if you’re using an external storage backend (for example Amazon S3).

Another side benefit is it prevents errors during conversation from causing page errors. If an image is too large for Willow to handle (the size of an image can be constrained with WAGTAILIMAGES_MAX_IMAGE_PIXELS), Willow may crash. As the resize is done outside the page load, the image will be missing, but the rest of the page content will remain.

The same can be achieved in Python using generate_image_url.

Page URLs

To fully resolve the URL of a page, Wagtail requires information from a few different sources.

The methods used to get the URL of a Page such as Page.get_url and Page.get_full_url optionally accept extra arguments for request and current_site. Passing these arguments enable much of underlying site-level URL information to be reused for the current request. In situations such as navigation menu generation, plus any links that appear in page content, providing request or current_site can result in a drastic reduction in the number of cache or database queries your site will generate for a given page load.

When using the {% pageurl %} template tag, the request is automatically passed in, so no further optimisation is needed.

Database

Wagtail is tested on PostgreSQL, SQLite and MySQL. It may work on some third-party database backends as well, but this is not guaranteed. We recommend PostgreSQL for production use.

Caching proxy

To support high volumes of traffic with excellent response times, we recommend a caching proxy. Both Varnish and Squid have been tested in production. Hosted proxies like Cloudflare should also work well.

Wagtail supports automatic cache invalidation for Varnish/Squid. See Frontend cache invalidator for more information.

Image attributes

For some images, it may be beneficial to lazy load images, so the rest of the page can continue to load. It can be configured site-wide Adding default attributes to all images or per-image More control over the img tag. For more details you can read about the loading='lazy' attribute and the 'decoding='async' attribute or this web.dev article on lazy loading images.

This optimisation is already handled for you for images in the admin site.

Django

Wagtail is built on Django. Many of the performance tips set out by Django are also applicable to Wagtail.