WordPress and Shared Hosting

WordPress and Shared Hosting

After I getting linked by several high-profile websites, the increased traffic has forced me to move twice. These notes describe my own experiences with WordPress and its needs. Individual WordPress installations vary in complexity, so your mileage may vary.

An Introduction to Blog Hosting Requirements

I was originally on Pair Networks, a reliable host that I’ve been with for almost 10 years. My website presence was largely for personal and business use, handling email only. This changed in late 2004, when I started my blog Better Living through New Media. Readership was up to about 100 people a day, through organic search and friends visiting, and Pair’s inexpensive Advanced web hosting plan was quite adequate. At $17.95/month, it is considerable more expensive than other popular WordPress hosts like DreamHost, BlueHost, A Small Orange and TextDrive, but it was the host I’ve been with for years. The WordPress developers have a list of webhosts also that you may want to look at.

When you are starting out, your needs will be pretty basic:

  • Disk space, measured in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB, which is 1000MB). The WordPress install only takes 3MB, and custom themes may add another megabyte. If you’re hosting lots of photos, podcasts, or videos, you’ll want more space, but just about any hosting plan will give you enough space. My entire WordPress install is about 500MB currently.

  • Bandwidth, measured in GB/month or TB/month (terabytes, which is 1000GB). For a site getting started, you’ll probably see less than 1GB a month of “normal” use. However, it’s the abnormal conditions that you’ll have to look out for.

  • Apache, MySQL, and PHP are the base requirements to run WordPress on a web server. In the case of Pair, the cheapest plan that includes PHP and MySQL is the plan I was using.

<

p>The focus of this note is not installing WordPress, but on the traffic levels and server load issues that may drive you to move. For installation help, visit the WordPress Codex.

Getting Started: Low Levels of Traffic

As I’ve said, you can get started with just about anything. When I started blogging, I installed StatCounter and used this to monitor the amount of traffic I was getting. One nice thing about StatCounter is that is also gives you a nice way of exploring the patterns within the traffic, which gives you an idea of what people are looking at. The three fundamental stats of web traffic are pageviews, unique visitors, and referrals. A pageview is a page loaded with all the accompanying graphics and text. A unique visitor is a person who’s been looking at your pages. A referral is where the person “came from”, for example another website or perhaps a search engine.

While these stats are all interesting, the one that matters when it comes to choosing a hosting plan is pageviews. When I got started, I had a count of about 10-20 pages a day, which rose to around 100-200 pageviews over the next year. The site remained responsive and snappy…though the pageviews were a lot to me, the server handled this without any problem.

9 Comments

  1. rick gregory 15 years ago

    David,

    thanks for writing this up. Could you expand on what plug-ins were giving you performance trouble (aside from Mint) and what you did (turn off the plugin, upgrade it, use another to do the function)? Also, since I’m thinking of moving to MT’s (gs) service, any link to issues with it would be very helpful.

  2. Richard 15 years ago

    Thanks for this excellent post.  I can definitely sympathize with your plight, as I recently moved from shared hosting to a managed VPS.

    I would be interested in learning more about the resources you used to enhance your linux skills (books, websites, articles, etc.).

  3. Dave Seah 15 years ago

    Rick: It was the DLoads plugin in mint that was the main culprit. Another one was Tan Tan Reports, which creates a very large entry in the wp-options table, causing mysqld to hiccup. As for the (gs), I don’t know about it…I avoided it because I keep seeing issues about it, plus I wanted to try the (dv) because the price dropped so much. Try searching Technorati for it, and I’m sure you’ll find a lot of commentary on it.

    Richard: When I first got started, I had a book called the Unix Systems Administration Guide and a very “traditional” Linux distribution (“distro”) called Slackware. I spent a day going through every file in the /etc directory understanding what it was, looking up what I didn’t know. Thank goodness for the Internet. This was back in 1998. So I learned basic concepts that way, and gave me a framework for understanding.

    The challenge is that every linux distro is different in where it puts its configuration files. I’ve started compiling a list of the ones for the Plesk/CentOS setup that the (dv) uses, which I’ll post when I get some time to write it up.

  4. Derek 15 years ago

    What are you using for stats now?  BTW – I’m just getting with WP so this info is invaluable.

  5. Dave Seah 15 years ago

    I’ve re-introduced Mint, but just with the SessionTracker and Outclicks peppers. I’m also using Google Analytics and StatCounter, both online services that are free. I’ve heard interesting things about HitTail too, but haven’t tried it yet. You can read about my experience with this in my post Mint vs Google Analytics (and StatCounter).

  6. Richard 15 years ago

    Dave,

    Thanks for the recommendations. I’m looking forward to the configuration file summary, as my host is also running CentOS.

    Have you had any difficulties working with Plesk?  My VPS host gave me the option of Plesk or CPanel.  I originally chose Plesk, but was encountering many issues with PHP open_basedir, includes and file permission issues.  Plesk also did not support PHP5 at that time.  I eventually switched over to CPanel and its clunky interface and directory naming, but most of functionality seemed to work much better out of the box and I was able to upgrade to PHP5 via the control panel.

    As an aside, thanks for maintaining such an informative blog.  I’ve been reading for a few months now and truly enjoy the variety, depth and timeliness of your articles.  Now if I can just find a way to get started using the Printable CEO … :)

  7. Dave Seah 15 years ago

    Richard: I haven’t had any difficulties with Plesk other than it not synchronizing with the mail server once. I’ve never used CPanel before. I haven’t looked into PHP5 and other such things (so far, I’ve had no need of them).

    Thanks for the compliment too! It’s much appreciated :-)

  8. Steve 14 years ago

    Funny enough, I got to this page by Googling “futurequest sucks” too. It fares a lot better than Yahoo webhosting, IX Webhosting and HostGator. I guess I’ll be Futurequesting soon too… thanks David.

  9. Reyes 12 years ago

    Dave,

    Even if your article was posted 2 years back it still remains as a very useful resource. As for the hosts mentioned googling “Futurequest sucks” still doesn’t show any relevant results and Media Temple remains as the next soultion to Futurequest’s limitations.

    Thanks for your honest reviews.