Why LearnDash LMS is so slow.

WordPress Mobile Speed


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StellarWP announced acquiring LearnDash, a learning management system (LMS) for WordPress. The product allows educators to create online courses, quizzes, and dynamic content.


Uncannyowl.com is a Canadian company. It does speed tuning for LearnDash websites but is not accepting new clients.

β€œTo maintain high standards of service for our existing clients, we are not currently taking on any new projects.”

Problems with LearnDash

1. Caching the plugin pages is not possible. The dynamic content interacts with the database. Quizzes get stuck and results won’t finish. Uncached LearnDash content means tests spawn at least 1 backend PHP process. This slows things down as users increase.

2. Minification and concatenation speed tricks usually break LearnDash CSS and JavaScript files.

3. LearnDash quizzes are the most speed-intensive and reduce performance. The big problem is when many users are taking quizzes at the same time. So it’s traffic-dependent and fluctuates.

4. LearnDash is the ONLY LMS where you can design and style its pages with a page builder. But we don’t see this as helpful. Page builders add code and slow down pages. But using LearnDash with a page builder is like using a page builder to build a page builder. Overkill. It would be faster loading to select from their default options.

5. LearnDash is a leading LMS player, it is very resource-intensive. It renders dynamic content in personalized real-time. That is database-intensive interactions with the server.

6. LearnDash has tons of features. This bloats the site and slows things down.

7. Even a low -traffic e-learning site experiences technical problems with technical demands. This includes:

  • the number of registered users
  • the number of courses
  • number of simultaneous active users
  • any combination of these

These problems can range from:

  • full hardware usage
  • throttling
  • database write problems
  • severe slow-downs
  • interruptions during course time

Almost every action performed in LearnDash updates the database. This can lead to transaction conflicts. In high-traffic situations, these often result in database table locks. Or full database-lock which disallows write-access to everyone. This, of course, is disastrous.
Simple hosting plans that aren’t Enterprise handle only a few dozen LearnDash. When many users perform an action, your site hits a peak, and everything starts failing. It’s unknown how many users you have on your site at the same time.

There is no viable substitute for LearnDash LMS plugin to speed up your site.


Steve Teare
performance engineer
May 2022


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