Host Gator 403 Error

The Incoming Storm Coming to Shared Hosting Megasites

Over the past few months we’ve been experiencing some issues with our current hosting company. Before I start throwing them under the bus, let me first say that we’ve used them for almost 10 years and didn’t start having issues until this year. What were those problems you ask? Let me explain.

Server Processes

Something I will admit that I really didn’t know much about. I’m not a server guy, and no one in our agency is either so this server technology really wasn’t a topic for our meetings. Well with some hosting companies they actually have a limit to how many processes can be running on a server at any given time. Our partner company 1and1 didn’t inform us of this until a solid month of random site performance issues. Our HTML sites were fine, but our WordPress sites where the ones creating these processes that at times would halt their server. In most cases it could have been from adding plugins, new pages, new posts, updating theme settings, etc. It really was random and no thanks to the language barrier of 1and1’s off-shore customer support that (by procedure) blames you first unless you request that they look at their system for errors.

Memory Usage

Here at Design Theory, we manage many websites. Since end of last year just about all of our new sites coming online have been in WordPress. WordPress runs on MySQL, and thus a new database is needed for each site. Each of those databases have an amount of memory usage depending on how much content the site has. So having upwards of 70+ databases and you’ve got a perfect storm just waiting to flood the server your sites are on. The amount of memory the hosting company allotted for your websites is limited. Each company may offer a different amount but it isn’t much when you’re on the economy hosting companies like 1and1, GoDaddy, Blue Host, and others. I suggest you either give them a call or do an extensive search through the fine print to find out what yours is.

 

Price

I can’t stress enough how you get what you pay for. For those of you that pay for your own hosting for your one main site, for now you may be safe. But isn’t the idea of a business website that it will continue to grow? Aren’t we doing things to boost traffic to our sites to promote our products and services? Well if you’re doing it right you should notice an increasing number of visits each week and month. At some point you’ll need to make the decision to move away from the economy hosting options to either higher cost VPS (Virtual Private Servers) or to a hosting company that specializes in WordPress – Like Media Temple. (shameless plug)

Performance

If you’ve had your WordPress up for a good few months, you may start to notice things running a bit slower than it did when you first set things up. You’ve added a ton of great content, images, pages, posts, plugins, etc. Nothing wrong with that if you’re creating value for your visitors. Until it takes them more than a few extra seconds to pull up your site and pages. The decrease in performance could be due to your site or other sites on the same server (unbeknownst to you). A better hosting plan or company will have optimized servers that don’t:

  • Throttle your bandwidth
  • Force a site shut down (Error 403)
  • Service Temporarily Unavailable error

WordPress Security & Automatic Updates

There are are some hosting companies that actually offer automatic updates to WordPress while also taking preventative measures to keep their infrastructure secure from malware and attacks. If you think about it, it actually benefits those hosting companies a bit more than you as their customer; mainly because they can assure version control and scheduled updates for off-peak times. Some even vet the updates prior to making them live to all of their hosted WordPress sites.

What’s To Come

For a lot of those sites staying on economy $10/mo hosting run the risk of these types of errors above in the very near future. For the amount of websites currently online, 20% of them are WordPress sites according to w3techs. Looking at the chart below, you can see that in a year there’s been substantial growth. Imagine what percentage of site will be on WP by the end of next year and beyond if it keeps growing like this.

I actually had a client just recently had their website taken down for what the hosting company (Blue Host) said that she had used up too much of their server. Are hosting companies preparing for the increased stress on their servers? You have to wonder right? To most you’re just an account number that is being billed regardless of the level of service. There probably are hundreds of site owners that can may not even notice if their website goes down for a few hours or days. But for those of you that have frequent traffic to your site for your great content and resources, and those of you that are working to be the authority figure on your industry, you really can’t afford to have your website go down for something that could be easily avoided sans frivolous predetermined hosting restrictions.

As always your thoughts and point of views are appreciated. Lets continue the conversation below in the comments.

WordPress sites online

Image Credit: 2heads_Advertising (via RGB Stock)