ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Where To Start


By: Drew McManus

In: Web Tech

Right before the Thanksgiving holiday, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman, Ajit Pai, laid out his plan to repeal existing net neutrality rules. Net neutrality is the name given to the set of regulations that require Telecom providers, (like internet service providers Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, and AT&T) to deliver all web content at the same speed.

If you aren’t already familiar with what net neutrality is and why it’s so important to nonprofit arts organizations, here’s what you need to know:

Net neutrality creates an even playing field that allows nonprofit performing arts organizations the very same ability to deliver their content to users as Amazon, Google, or Facebook.

Without net neutrality regulations, Telecom providers will be able to charge companies for the level of speed you as a site visitor are accustomed to, and slow down service for any organizations unwilling or unable to pay upcharges.

Since slower sites mean lower revenue, it isn’t difficult to see how much negative impact this could have on all online revenue streams.

Under Chairman Pai’s proposed changes, Telecom providers could slowdown delivery or block content entirely for any reason, all they will be required to do is inform users of the policy on their website.

Nowhere in Chairman Pai’s proposed regulations are recommendations to protect nonprofit organizations by excluding them from slowdown or upcharge fee policies.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Granted, the FCC’s deregulation will almost certainly be challenged in court by major tech providers (Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc.) and we could even see Congress step in and attempt to implement laws that restore net neutrality.

But instead of hoping for the best and doing nothing, ArtsHacker is going to equip you with an effective hope for the best, prepare for the worst strategy capable of marginalizing any slowdowns regardless when or how they unfold.

At the very least, this series will help you make your site faster and that is most definitely a good thing.

Instant Improvement

It won’t matter if you manage your site directly or you pay a provider to handle all of that for you, this series will provide you with how-to instructions that all users can implement, regardless your level of expertise.

If you don’t manage your site, it will serve as a handy list you can take to your provider to see how much they can implement.

WordPress Focus

This series will work from the assumption that your site is running on WordPress. Having said that, most of these guidelines will be just as applicable to non-WordPress sites and anything that is WordPress exclusive will be marked accordingly.

Series Index


Part 1: Establishing Speed and Performance Benchmarks

  • How to test page load speed and performance
  • Interpreting results
  • Scheduling recurring tests

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Part 2: Image Compression

  • WordPress plugin solutions
  • Manual

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Part 3: Database Optimization

  • WordPress plugin solutions
  • Cleaning up WordPress wp_options table manually

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Part 4: Minification and Reducing HTTP Requests

  • Minification via Autoptimize plugin
  • Optimizing HTTP requests (including eCommerce scripts) using Perfmatters plugin

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Part 5: Stability and Security

  • Keeping themes and plugins updated
  • Keeping core WordPress updated
  • Properly implementing plugin trials

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Part 6: Additional Tips and Considerations

  • Hosting and Domain Registration
  • Tracking cookies and Google Analytics scripts
  • WordPress plugin resource hogs that can slow down your site
  • Modifying WordPress to fix admin-ajax.php slowdowns
  • Replacing image sliders


By the time you’ve gone through the entire series, you’ll be in the best possible position for combating the negative impact from post net neutrality slowdowns.

The goal is to roll out all the installments out over no more than two weeks but if you want to make sure you don’t miss an installment, you’ll want to subscribe to the per post email notice or weekly email summary.

Drew McManus
Drew McManus
In addition to my consulting business, I'm also the Principal of Venture Industries Online but don’t let that title fool you into thinking I'm just a tech geek. I bring 20+ years of global broad-based arts consulting experience to the table to help clients break the cycle of choosing one-size-fits-none solutions and instead, deliver options allowing them to get ahead of the tech curve instead of trying to catch up by going slower. With the vision of legacy support strategy and the delights of creative insights, my mission is to deliver a sophisticated next generation technology designed especially for the field of performing arts. The first step in that journey began in 2010 when The Venture Platform was released, a purpose-designed managed website development solution designed especially for arts organizations and artists. For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, lead a team of intrepid arts pros to hack the arts, lead an arts business incubator, and love a good coffee drink.
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