I have a D7 site with around 300,000 nodes. I am passing this function an array of 300-500 nids. Sometimes the function runs in under a second. Sometimes it takes 40 seconds or more! I can't figure out what causes the slow runs. How can I get the query consistent and fast?

function _load_field_values_for_nids($field_name, $nids)
  $field_info = field_info_field($field_name);
  $field_id = $field_info['id'];

  $map = array();
  $nodes_without_required_field = [];

  // Load up the properties from the node table.
  $sql = 'SELECT * FROM {node} WHERE nid IN (:nids)';
  $nodes = db_query($sql, array(':nids' => $nids))->fetchAllAssoc('nid');

  // Attach the single field to all nodes.
  field_attach_load('node', $nodes, FIELD_LOAD_CURRENT, array('field_id' => $field_id));

  foreach ($nodes as $nid => $node) {

    if (isset($node->{$field_name}['und'])) {
      $map[$node->nid] = $node->{$field_name}['und'][0]['value'];
    } else {
      $nodes_without_required_field[] = $node->nid;

  $absent_count = count($nodes_without_required_field);
  if ($absent_count > 0) {
    watchdog("vwyw_load_fields", $absent_count." nodes did not have field, \"".$field_name."\" ");

  return $map;

I noticed this SIX-SECOND query on the main /admin/content page (which took 12+seconds to load):

Six Second Query to Count Available Content

Here is the expanded XHProf output regarding that Count query:

enter image description here

I think this might be a mysql configuration issue rather that the particulars of a query. For instance, I think this query should run very quickly but it takes a second and a half:

enter image description here

The next time (same page load) it took 120ms and the time after that, 4.8sec!


Here is the XHProf output sorted by duration for a simple admin page that calls the function:

enter image description here


1 Answer 1


I'm guessing that the difference between the fast runs and the slow runs is caching. Within field_attach_load is a call to cache_get_multiple(). The field values can load from a cache which should be a lot faster: https://api.drupal.org/api/drupal/modules!field!field.attach.inc/function/field_attach_load/7

To investigate further I recommend using devel module's query logger. It can show the amount of time spent within queries. If that is not sufficient you can use a profiler like XHProf or Blackfire to see exactly which function calls are taking the most time.

  • Installed xhprof... I am calling the function from a Services resource. Will I need to create a test page that calls it to see the xhprof output? Dec 15, 2015 at 17:58
  • There is a query on /admin/content taking six seconds - should be related to the same issue I think. I posted Devel log and XHProf output for that above. Thanks for your insights! Dec 15, 2015 at 18:17
  • It's probably going to be all those LEFT JOINs @Joe, do you have a fair number of users/content/taxonomy terms? Depending on what data the View actually needs you may be able to alter those to INNER for a decent speed increase. If you can get details on what the subquery in there is doing too, that would help
    – Clive
    Dec 15, 2015 at 18:25

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