Has your hosting hit the wall?

by Martin Reed on 21 March 2007 in Snippets

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.

Hosting link

Image showing service status link in cPanel

You will then see information including:

Hosting status

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’!

Share this community building advice


Similar Posts

Previous post:

Next post:


Leonardo Medina November 14, 2008 at 5:22 pm

Shared hosting plans is good for smaller websites or even bigger sites. But there´s another point we have to consider.

IP address is shared among other sites. And it´not good.

If any of the other sites sends out spam, the IP address, which is associated with the spam, will be listed as sending spam and will be listed on a Blacklist. What happens next depends on the people running the Blacklists. But it may harm your website.

So, if you´re really serious about your business, i recommend you to order a VPS plan, because beyond of the fact there will be fewer sharing the resources, you´ll not have the problem of getting your IP blacklisted, because the other people´s activities. You will get a dedicated IP address.

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 17, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Leonardo – I had never considered that; thanks for raising that point in your comment :)

Alan Jamal November 24, 2008 at 6:26 am

a few month ago we steped from a regular hosting plan to a vps with a dedicated ip adress.

and that was the best decision we made….not only the vps enviroment but far more important from the view of search engines is the own ip. it really boosts our business. many seo people say that an own ip adress gives a better weight on search engines

and i agree full to what leonardo says… its better to take a vps or to buy an dedicated ip add on if possible.

1. keeps you away from blacklists
2. better ranking at search engines
3. you can run scripts that arent mostly allowed on shared hosts

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 29, 2008 at 1:46 am

Alan – Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experiences.

Laurence Flynn January 29, 2009 at 10:39 pm

You also need to take into account the server hardware. Just because a load might say 8 it doesn’t mean the server is having issues. If the server is a Dual QuadCore Xeon the average load can be 10 and the server will stioll be fast.

But if you have many downtime events then it would be time to move on or ask to switch servers.

KreCi August 10, 2009 at 3:27 pm

I would like to agree with Alan about separated IP address. It is very important for SEO as you are separated from a lot of sites that may violate search engine terms & rules. You are making on your own without bad opinion on start.