Understanding Account Limits – High Loads

July 18th, 2014 by

Stop sign

“Dear valued customer,

Recently your account has been noted as causing a high load on the shared server.”

If you’ve ever received a message such as this one, you’re probably familiar with the panic they may cause. Web hosting from a shared server is an excellent way to manage your web content at a low cost. But when faced with high loads, or what are commonly known as excessive resource usage, your normally laid-back web site becomes somewhat of a puzzle or a code to crack. Here is a handy help guide to find all the answers to restore your site to optimal usage.

Hosting companies walk a fine line when dealing with shared servers; the balance of server usages and customer allowances is forever a juggling act. In order to keep functionality, hosts must invoke a cap on the amount of CPU and memory usage – with most companies, an account can utilize somewhere around one percent of server resources. Occasional spikes in usage are acceptable, but a continual over-utilization results in administrators contacting the subscriber to assess the usage.

High load can be caused by a multitude of things. These include malfunctioning plugins, malicious attacks and unnecessarily enabled features. In this help guide we will cover the most common reasons for high loads. Most problems can be solved without technical assistance, but if at any time you need assistance feel free to contact our support staff.

Increased traffic

This is great news for you! But you may have outgrown shared server capabilities. Talk to WestHost tech support to review your options. It might be time to move on to cloud hosting. This type of hosting has the ability to grow with your business, plus it can give you access to all the software you need to run your business successfully, including email, e-commerce solutions and productivity software. If you’re not quite ready to move, our support team can give you a few extra tips for lightening your sites load.

Plugin problems

Plugins can cause high loads if you have too many or if they’re not working properly. Remove any plugins that aren’t essential or that are not being used. Pay careful attention to any updates, bug reports, or forum posts and reviews about plugins that could affect your site. Diagnosing which plugin is problematic can be frustrating; the best way to proceed is by trial and error. Diagnostic plugins exist to help fix any plugin issues that may be overloading your site.

Caching engines or lack there of

Take advantage of browser caching for large files such as images. Find out what you have available to install, CloudFlare is a favorite. Do not use a flat file cache whenever possible. Flat file cache can perpetuate the problem and make the overload even more.

MySQL performance

Always try to prune unnecessary information within MySQL databases and tables. Monitoring the size of these databases can make quite a difference in the overall load of your site.  Enabling caching should also help to take some of the load from MySQL. If you ask your site to log too much information about IPs, browser versions, and locations, you can bog down your page load to the point where it won’t load at all. For more information on how to optimize MySQL, search the knowledge base.

Depreciated applications

Applications and plugins need updates. Updating applications and plugins is most likely the most simple and underperformed task when keeping your website load manageable. Always remove anything that isn’t being used to minimize the hassle of maintaining current updates.

Spam or malicious attacks

Maintaining the never-ending quest to rid the world of spam is not an easy task. There are some simple ways to be proactive: stay current on all updates, remove unused items, keep an eye on stat applications to look for problems, block all malicious or unwanted IP addresses and of course use a spam filter. This won’t guarantee you won’t have a problem, but should keep you pretty covered. Change any and all passwords associated with your accounts regularly to deter malicious threats. Lastly, installing a CAPTCHA is an easy way to avoid spammers, get a free one here.

Scheduled tasks aka ‘Cron Tasks’

If you notice that you are having problems at specific times during the day, week, or month it could be a Cron Task issue. These can be adjusted from within your settings. Try to spread your tasks outside of your peak website hours to minimize impact.

To receive more help with managing your high load site contact WestHost tech support anytime.

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