Almost had a diaster with my sites today...

18 replies
Today I freaked out because suddenly, my Wordpress blogs stopped working. And I've spent the past year and a half building them up with tons of content. I got an error message saying "cannot connect to database." I spent two hours on the phone with my hosting company (Bluehost). I thought I'd lost everything...(I do have backups, but not since a few months ago. That was mistake #1. But anyway...)

They were able to get my sites running again, but Bluehost told me that the problem is that my blogs have "too many processes running." They said the root of the problem is "sloppy coding." Which I can't really understand, because the only "alteration" I've made to the site is installing a very nice custom theme which I bought from a reputable theme-design company, and I installed a bunch of plug-ins.

They suggested that I hire a web developer to improve my coding and optimize my blogs. Have you ever heard of this? Hiring a developer to go into your Wordpress blogs and make "optimize" them to make them faster?

I thought Wordpress blogs were pretty much "plug and play." But now I gather that if you have a big blog with a lot of content and plug-ins running, it can get "overloaded" at a certain point...

So what do you think about this idea of hiring a web developer to make everything run more smoothly? Maybe my HTML websites could use it, too? I know the basics of HTML, but I've been told that a professional web developer can tweak the coding and take a site to the next level...
#diaster #sites #today
  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    I don't know how many uniques you are getting but you might want to consider a fully managed VPS where you can just pick up the phone and talk to them. Also, having a strong developer you can call on is something every webmaster is going to need once they reach a reasonable size.
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  • Profile picture of the author LocoDice
    hey mate, make sure you are backing up your db regularly.. it will take minutes to do once you learn how to do it and regardless of if you stay with your hosting company or not you will have everything safe and sound on your local machine.

    if you need any help hit me up on my IM clients.
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    • Profile picture of the author robvegas626
      mkterbynite, I'd like to get in touch with you...but how do I contact you on "IM Clients?"

      The thing is, I do have a "webmaster"...but he doesn't stay up on the latest techniques. He builds sites the way they were built a few years ago. Basic HTML, which is what I know as well. I'm wondering whether it's true that a "cutting-edge developer" can go through a site's code and tweak a bunch of things (that I'd never think of) to make it hum along much more smoothly. I'd be willing to pay for something like that. Maybe you know of an outsourced service that does these types of jobs?
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  • Profile picture of the author grumpyjacksa
    also had it recently on one blog....

    but not due to plugins....

    mine was due to a faulty theme.

    eventually i found the cause, and deleted the theme from the wp plugins folder....

    wp reverted back to the default theme, and i was able to get in.

    but i freaked out while it was happening.....

    pj
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  • Profile picture of the author wshilinsky
    Processes are the number of instances a program is being executed at any given time. A server can have quite a large number of processes running concurrently, however, if you are on a shared hosting account, you are only allocated a certain amount.

    Most shared servers are hosting hundreds to thousands of different websites. This works fine for most sites. If you have a site that is dynamically served and has lots of different things going on, you are probably using more than your allocated amount of resources. Even if there was only 20 accounts on a particular server, you only have 5 percent of the memory, cpu, bandwidth, etc. Think of what happens when there are hundreds to thousands of accounts being hosted.

    Sloppy coding could be a factor, but it is more likely your hosting account. Depending on your projected growth of your site and of course your budget, you may consider a fully dedicated server. This way, you have the whole server to yourself. Most likely you are on a shared server that has lots of different accounts on it, so going to a semi dedicated server or a VPN(virtual private network) may serve you well.

    I suggest that you contact your host and find out what amount of resources are allocated to your account. This will assist you in your decision.

    One more thing, it has been said that any infomation you consider important, you should have at least 2-3 backups. So make SURE you backup your site regularly. As a linux network administrator, I have seen numerous disasters that could have been avoided by a simple backup protocal.

    Hope this helps,
    Walt
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  • Profile picture of the author Nemanja
    backup, backup, backup!!!

    Create some cron job which will backup your database and the whole site(root) directory let say every monday or every 1st of the each month.

    First thing you should do is to optimize each and every table, create index or more indexes on each table and finally you need optimize your SQL queries to suit that indexes that you have previously created.

    Nemanja
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    • Profile picture of the author LocoDice
      Hi there, you can get me on AIM or Yahoo on mkterbynite
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  • Profile picture of the author cosmolito
    Oh man, that totally reminds me to get regular back ups. I was just thinking yesterday what would I do if my blog crapped out.
    Also, I have bluehost too, and I am very unimpressed by their willingness to help out. Host gator is the host to consider in my opinion. I am currently using GVO and so far so good. They specialize in marketing so they understand where we're coming from.
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  • Profile picture of the author debra
    Originally Posted by robvegas626 View Post

    Today I freaked out because suddenly, my Wordpress blogs stopped working. And I've spent the past year and a half building them up with tons of content. I got an error message saying "cannot connect to database." I spent two hours on the phone with my hosting company (Bluehost). I thought I'd lost everything...(I do have backups, but not since a few months ago. That was mistake #1. But anyway...)

    They were able to get my sites running again, but Bluehost told me that the problem is that my blogs have "too many processes running." They said the root of the problem is "sloppy coding." Which I can't really understand, because the only "alteration" I've made to the site is installing a very nice custom theme which I bought from a reputable theme-design company, and I installed a bunch of plug-ins.

    They suggested that I hire a web developer to improve my coding and optimize my blogs. Have you ever heard of this? Hiring a developer to go into your Wordpress blogs and make "optimize" them to make them faster?

    I thought Wordpress blogs were pretty much "plug and play." But now I gather that if you have a big blog with a lot of content and plug-ins running, it can get "overloaded" at a certain point...

    So what do you think about this idea of hiring a web developer to make everything run more smoothly? Maybe my HTML websites could use it, too? I know the basics of HTML, but I've been told that a professional web developer can tweak the coding and take a site to the next level...
    Bluehost, which also owns Hostgator, has been using these excuse for about 3 months now.

    They told one guy that only had a 12 page blog with the basic 3 plugins the same thing.

    My point...shear BS. Overloading servers to scrap every last penny out of the ecomony as possible.

    They also will stall your cron jobs and tell you the same thing in order to convince you to upgrade to a VPS...which by the way...have just as many sites hosted as the shared servers used to.
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    • Profile picture of the author robvegas626
      Thank you all for your responses. I had not considered that my hosting company may have been the problem, and naturally their customer service is not going to raise that possibility. It sounds like a private server may be the answer...my sites are growing, I'm just a bit reluctant due to the costs ($200-$700 a month is what I hear for a private server?)

      Bluehost and Hostgator have a terrific sales pitch -- hosting for unlimited sites for one low monthly fee. But am I to assume that any website that is doing substantial business always has their own server?

      Final question: as far as unique visitors per day/month, is there a "magic number" when it's time to consider a private server? My sites don't get THAT much traffic, but I don't ever want to deal with this again!
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      • Profile picture of the author ARVolund
        There really is not magic number as there are so many variables. Somewhat like asking how long is a piece of string. I have had sites on a shared server with 25k unique visitors a month without any issues and I have had some that started to take more than their share with 5k.

        As a general rule dynamically generated content uses more resources which is why I suggested the wp super cache. It can make a huge difference.

        You should try and get a bit more info about which site/process was the one that tripped the alarm. That would give you an idea of the best place to start. The server logs will have that info so the should be able to tell you exactly what process or processes were to blame for the problem. This will give you an exact place to start when making any changes.


        Originally Posted by robvegas626 View Post

        Thank you all for your responses. I had not considered that my hosting company may have been the problem, and naturally their customer service is not going to raise that possibility. It sounds like a private server may be the answer...my sites are growing, I'm just a bit reluctant due to the costs ($200-$700 a month is what I hear for a private server?)

        Bluehost and Hostgator have a terrific sales pitch -- hosting for unlimited sites for one low monthly fee. But am I to assume that any website that is doing substantial business always has their own server?

        Final question: as far as unique visitors per day/month, is there a "magic number" when it's time to consider a private server? My sites don't get THAT much traffic, but I don't ever want to deal with this again!
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    • Profile picture of the author ARVolund
      Part of it depends on exactly what plug-ins and theme you are using. You have to remember that wordpress does not create these mods, third parties do and they are of differing quality so you may well be using one that is not written all that well and could use some tweaking.

      As a general rule any mod that does something automatically may use some extra resources. For instance some autoblogging plug-ins tend to trip the shared hosting limits when on a busy site.

      You do not say how many sites you have but it may well be worth looking at a dedicated server or if you do not have enough for that you could separate your busiest sites to different reseller accounts.

      Also I would suggest wp-super cache for your sites, especially the busy ones. You can find it HERE It will help lower the resources that your sites are using by caching the pages so that they do not have to be generated for every visitor.

      If you are going to be using wordpress or any other php based platform than bottom line, you are going to need someone that knows php to work on your sites a html person is just not going to cut it.

      And not but not least as everyone has already mentioned you need to back up your database regularly. For the most part in wordpress you only need to back up the site files when you add functions or change structure as all the other info is saved in the database but that should be done on a daily basis on a busy site.
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  • Profile picture of the author SeanSupplee
    I had this happen with one of my blogs, When you start getting the MySQL errors find the path it will lead you to some plugin that is acting up on your site. Your best bet is to just delete the folder out of your FTP client or Cpanel to get it back up and running. Plugins can cause a nightmare some times.
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  • Profile picture of the author VegasGreg
    Originally Posted by robvegas626 View Post


    "too many processes running." and I installed a bunch of plug-ins.

    I thought Wordpress blogs were pretty much "plug and play." But now I gather that if you have a big blog with a lot of content and plug-ins running, it can get "overloaded" at a certain point...
    Wordpress by itself is not so much an overload, it can be all the plugins that overload the system.

    Depending on how many plugins and which ones can help determine where the system overload is coming from. Basically any of the ones that pull information or contact 3rd parties can cause delays and strain.

    EX: If you are pulling RSS feeds from another site, you are depending on that sites speed as well.
    If you are using Javascripts ads or images from another site(affiliate site?) you are depending on their server.
    If you automatically submit your posts to twitter and all the other social sites, you are depending on your server for sending and their server for receiving.
    If you have a lot of sites listed in your Ping list, get rid of them PingoMatic handles the pings for nearly all the other ping lists now. That will avod errors and timeouts on the server.
    Image and video scripts are also a burden on shared servers.

    Also, make sure all your plugins are up to date. The technology changes with time and older versions may be "sloppy".
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  • Profile picture of the author Nemanja
    Log into your hosting account using putty (it is freeware) when you loged in type "top"
    Exit that with "crl+c" any type "exit"

    you will se loading avarage if it is bigger than 20-30 or 100+ than it is likely that there is many other hosted sites on the same server, or few sites that are eating resources.

    You can allways conntact your hosting support and ask them to move you to another (new) server, they will to that. I have been moved to a new server always when I have asked them. So just ask to be moved if this is a server resources problem.

    Nemanja
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  • Profile picture of the author Marketstriker
    My webmaster says it may happen because of the theme and advices to check blog options tables and look for an option called "allowed themes". In this way you can find out was your problem caused by the theme. Talking about web-developer I'd find some professional who could solve this problem for me for competitive price. I think my time worth to pay someone else for the job which can take a lot of my time.
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  • Profile picture of the author areaK
    You should always have a web guy onhand, even if it's just to take care of small things here and there. Many of them you can just pay as you need them. Yes, I have heard of this. There are so many variables and even though WP is plug and play lots of diff things can slow your site down and a web person can optimize it for you.

    Even though it's plug and play that doesn't mean things are optimized and then there are other variables including coding in theme, coding in plugins, how many plugins you're using, how well certain plugins play w/each other and play with your theme and lots of other stuff.

    I broke my site earlier by just posting a blog post! A very normal blog post! But somewhere either in the theme coding or the theme and a plugin playing together, something broke.

    If you need a web person, get in touch with @octane on Twitter. He's AMAZING and my go to web guy. He always fixes stuff when I break it...and fixes it fast. I can't say how awesome, reliable and easy to reach he is. Tell him @areak referred you.

    Good luck!
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