By in Technology

The Care and Proper Feeding of One's Websites

I've been running personal and commercial websites for just about 20 years now - I started my first sites back in 1995 when I was in graduate school, just some silly fan pages for my favorite TV shows and for , that sort of thing. I cut my teeth on basic html programming and since then have converted most of my remaining, active, and new sites to either or installs, which are so much easier to maintain and update.

I've also been with the same hosting provider, DreamHost, since 2006 - so about 9 years now. Up until recently I've been doing fine on their basic shared hosting service, even if it meant sometimes my speed was slower than I'd like it. However, adding one new website to my account this past year, and increasing traffic to several of them, finally seemed to stretch the limits of my account to the max. I was seeing repeated downtime every day, very slow server response, had some unhappy people I was hosting on my account, so I had to take some kind of action.

Checking in with DreamHost support (which I've always found awesome) confirmed what I feared - my account was pushing the limits of the RAM allotment I had under a shared plan, even though I had unlimited storage space and bandwidth. I either had to try to optimize my wordpress sites or upgrade to a better plan. So of course I tried optimizing first: cutting out a lot of plugins, making sure I had caching on and checking for any abusive attacks on the sites...nothing seemed to really help that much.

So about a week ago I sucked it up and upgraded at least my most memory-intensive websites to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) plan with DH. Moving the sites wasn't hard at all - I only had to debug a few caching plugins after the switch. And the improvement in speed on the sites is incredible! I've noticed, too, that's led to better traffic stats for the sites since I switched them over, I'm sure because more people are sticking around instead of getting frustrated at the slow speed or not getting some pages to load at all.

Hopefully this will lead into better ad revenue and sales as a result—especially as now I need to cover a higher monthly service charge. It's not as much as I feared; minimally $15/month although more depending on if I need to increase the RAM allotment. That's why I'm not moving my basic, older sites over yet; I'll keep them on a basic shared service for now. But I'd like to see how my more commercially-oriented websites can grow now with better hosting service and if that will make them more profitable in the long run.

We'll have to wait and see!

Image Credit » by FirmBee

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MegL wrote on April 7, 2015, 12:58 PM

Interesting. I may need to do that sometime but only once I start selling something!

scheng1 wrote on April 8, 2015, 8:54 AM

Hopefully the upgrade will mean a smoother experience for readers, and get more revenue for you.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on April 8, 2015, 10:58 AM

I'm still at the beginning monetization stage on my sites. I'm not very tech savvy, so the learning process takes a lot of time that I just don't have right now.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on April 8, 2015, 11:00 AM

Me, too! I can't afford to spend money my sites aren't earning.

sockii wrote on April 8, 2015, 11:39 AM

It's definitely a step I don't recommend taking until traffic really demands it. No need to put money into a site that isn't (yet) showing potential for earnings and growth. Although, at the same time, if your site is running slow/frequently crashing, that's going to affect how Google ranks it, how many people can access it, and negatively affect earnings too. So there is a bit of a double-edged sword in effect.