How To Keep My Site Alive And Kicking

Posted by admin on April 18th, 2011

Keeping a site alive and kicking during heavy traffic times can require some effort, especially if one is sharing a server.

Alive and KickingIt is not much of a problem if one has dedicated server hosting, as such servers are only used by a single owner and all resources belong to them. In such servers, the owner has their own IP address and more control. Since it is not shared, the owner’s site is not influenced by someone else’s mistakes.

A dedicated server allows for higher traffic loads, because the server will only answer when an information request is made from the site on this server. It is also easier to set up FTP and SSL encryption with this type of server. While this does not mean it can’t be done with other types of hosting, it is just harder.

Lastly, there is no penalty if there are more than the expected numbers of visitors and extra bandwidth is taken up.

Sharing the same server

Problems with high traffic usually arise when a shared hosting plan is used. Since such plans are significantly cheaper than using an individualized server plan, most individuals and small & medium sized companies use this type of service.

As the name implies, a large number of websites share the same server so that it becomes much cheaper. It is possible to have a shared plan for as low as $2 per month, whereas dedicated hosting can run into hundreds of dollars a month, or more.

There are limits to everything

In a shared hosting plan, all the resources of a server are shared between all the customers. This means that the disk space, bandwidth, and the IP address are shared. Just to be fair, the host will put a limit on the amount of disk space and bandwidth each site may use and when sites exceed limits they may have to pay extra. Since each server itself has a limit on its overall bandwidth, the amount of traffic a neighboring site generates influences how quickly your site is displayed.

Problems with shared hosting

Every inquiry coming to a server is answered successively on a first come, first served basis. The longer the line of queries, the more time it will take the server to deal with them, hence the longer the wait for the visitor. It is not necessarily the number of sites a server is hosting that counts, it has to do with the amount of traffic each site generates. A server with hundreds of little traffic generating sites can work much faster than a server with, for example, 30 high traffic generating sites.

Another issue with shared hosting is that a site with poor script programming can disable the functioning of an entire server, disabling all the sites on the server.

Also, if the neighbors get banned from search engines for spamming or other bad practices, it can affect everyone with the same IP address.

Things to do

Before signing up with any hosting service, check to make sure there are no known spam sites or adult sites on the same server. Check the host’s service page terms to see what sites that are allowed.

Also, check to see if the host allows separate IP addresses for each site before setting up a site and promoting it; some hosts do and this can solve a lot of the problems. Another tip is finding out how many sites there are on a server and how much traffic each site generates before signing the plan.

If you still experience problems during high traffic

After taking every precaution to keep a site running in high traffic times, there may still be problems every now and then. If getting dedicated server hosting is just too expensive, then here are a few more tips to help solve the issue.

First remove any unused JavaScripts and combine and compress the CSS files.

Next, try using CloudFront CDN - while this may be excessive for a small site, it does improve the operation for many visitors.

Finally…

Additionally, it helps with the Reddit-proofing and is very cheap - just a few dollars per month. Try converting all theme images to CSS sprites. This will cut down the number of HTTP requests the browser will need to make to deliver the page.

In an ideal situation, there should only be a single image the browser is required to load to provide all the page graphics. Finally, if you use Adsense, load the ads asynchronously, instead of synchronously, like they are normally done.

Normally, the browser will wait for the whole ad to finish downloading before loading the remaining page and this slows down the site a lot. The idea is to speed up the efficiency of the site so people go through it quickly and move on to let others visit.

This is a guest post by Ellee Parker who hails from the west coast, loves anime and the eastern culture in general. She often writes for webhostgear.com, a trusted source of hosting reviews and guide to the hosting industry. You can follow her at @elleeparker

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