Caching can occur at this level too. Previously we covered different levels of caching ranging from inmemory cache using Memcache, to the WordPress object cache of frequently accessed information, and the WordPress plugin Super Cache, which bypasses the entire dynamic nature of WordPress altogether and creates static HTML files.
The database level also has several opportunities for optimizations. MySQL has two main storage types for tables: MyISAM and InnoDB. Others are available, but these are the two that MySQL installations have enabled by default.
The ISAM table type was the original storage engine for MySQL. The MySQL team later improved the engine and created MyISAM. MyISAM is a good general-purpose storage engine. It performs better with a table with many reads or many writes, but not both. That is, it is a good for storing or retrieving data, but not ideal for a situation that requires frequent switching between the two. This is also the default table type for WordPress.
InnoDB, on the other hand, provides better concurrency, through row locking and transactional support. InnoDB can use non-locking reads to maximize efficiency and performance. This makes InnoDB a good storage engine for large volumes of data and datasets that are used in both read and write contexts. If you're going to use WordPress in an enterprise where you have many contributing users, or lively discussion of topics posted by a core developer group, the write and update load on the database will be significantly higher than that of an individual blogger who posts weekly thoughts on buildings and food or the Talking Heads.
Switching some of your WordPress tables, such as the highly dynamic ones, like wp_comments, to the InnoDB storage type can create performance improvements, and therefore scalability benefits. Additionally, MySQL also has a configuration file that can be tuned to match your environment.
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It is fine to get started on a hosted solution like Blogger.comor WordPress.com. They will allow you to learn the basics of blogging and web publishing without spending money. As soon as you nail down these basics, however, it is vital to buy your own domain name and to purchase a web hosting package with some company.