For those that do not know, I am currently in training to run the Flora London Marathon on 22 April this year. I am certainly no athlete, and definitely no runner – the training for the run is exhausting, and I have just got back from a 25km (15 mile) run. At the moment, I am often ‘hitting the wall’ after about two hours of solid running. This could cause me problems as I expect to complete the marathon in around 5 hours.
This has me thinking – is your hosting provider close to hitting the invisible wall? Is it starting to struggle? If your site is grinding to a halt, you need to take immediate action as things will more than likely only get worse.
Most of us will be on a shared hosting plan. This means that your site along with hundreds of others are all sharing the same server, and are all therefore sharing the resources of that server. As sites on the same server become popular they use more of that server’s resources which slows down other websites on that machine. Indeed it may be your own website that is getting so popular it is outgrowing your current host.
Instead of seeing this as a complete negative, see it as evidence of your site’s success. Just as a child outgrows its clothes, your website will grow out of its current hosting plan sooner or later.
Next up on the hosting scale you have the Virtual Private Server. Again, you share the machine with other websites, although typically there will be far fewer sharing the resources compared to the basic shared hosting plans. The benefits of running on a VPS is that you have a huge amount of control over the server – your account is fully partitioned from the rest of the hosted websites meaning you can install much of your own software and have a far greater level of control.
If this is still not enough, you will need to consider a fully dedicated server. In this case, the only site on the machine is yours. This provides you will all the resources of the server, all to yourself. Unless you take a managed server though, bear in mind you will be responsible for keeping on top of software updates.
It is easy to determine how your host is coping if you have cPanel installed. Simply login, and click the ‘Service Status’ link.
Image showing service status link in cPanel
You will then see information including:
Image showing server status in cPanel
Whilst we see the green traffic lights, we shouldn’t worry too much however if the figures are constantly creeping up, it suggests the time may be approaching for a move.
If you do not have access to hosting management software such as cPanel, it should still be pretty clear when your server is starting to struggle. Pages will load considerably slower, and error messages may start to appear with increasing frequency.
It is always worth contacting your hosting provider before paying to upgrade – they may be able to do some tinkering at their end which should help out. However, don’t put off upgrading – if you leave it too late, you will also put off your visitors. Take action before your hosting ‘hits the wall’!