When Hosting Becomes an Issue

When I started blogging, I started a blogspot URL without a clue what was ahead.

I just wanted to write a blog.

you can not hide from hosting issues

As my blog grew, I eventually moved to self-hosted WP {OK, Shauna moved me} for the bells and whistles that WordPress offers to customize my site.

And it didn’t stop there.  I have moved another 5 or 6 times since that initial move because hosting became an issue.  I am not a hosting expert, but have encountered quite a few issues over the years of blogging.  Here are some things that I have learned.  These things are often things we don’t talk to each other about, but one of the most frequent questions I field from other bloggers.

Shared Hosting – This was where I started and stayed happily for quite a while in the infancy of my blog(s).  It is inexpensive and can be a very positive experience if you are sharing a server with the right mix of other sites.  I found that sharing a server was great when I had a post that did well.  More people were able to get to my blog and I didn’t have to pay any more than a basic amount.  Sharing was NOT so good when one of those other sites on the server had a viral post.  All of a sudden, my blog was slow and it was through no fault of my own.

VPS (Virtual Private Server) – I moved to a VPS when I had a consistent traffic over 150K page views per month.  It was nice because at the time, I had several sites that could all share that same space.  I knew that my 5 sites were very independent and wouldn’t all have a traffic jam at the same time!  It allowed me to have a more expensive hosting plan, but split the cost between my projects.  As I received more and more bolus-traffic created by Pinterest, I started having issues with my host shutting down my site for short periods of time.  They claimed that they weren’t “capping” my traffic, but I could sit on LIVE Google Analytics and predict exactly when they would take me offline based on the number of visitors on my site.  When hosts predict what plan you need, they look at your global traffic.  What can cause a problem is when that traffic isn’t spread across the day/night evenly.  I receive a lot of social media-driven traffic which dumps all at the same time onto my site.  This was a serious issue for a number of hosting companies I tried.

It can be a very frustrating situation to be on the phone with a hosting company continuously and be told the same “it is your plug-ins” answer.  The truth is that very often plug-ins ARE the problem, but once I had removed every possible plug-in and still experiencing the issues, then I had to learn to trust MY gut and stand up for my site even when I didn’t feel like I understood everything that was going on!

Premium Hosting – After about 600K page views per month with traffic that jumped significantly several times a day, I switched to a premium host that only hosts WP.  I was to the point where no matter what was happening on my blog, the host I was using would blame it as a WP problem.  Choosing a WP-only host worked really well for me because they seemed to understand which plug-ins might be issues.

Dedicated Server – I am still in the decision process of what my next step might be.  I have hit a level of traffic that has created some bumps on my current WP host.  I am working with them to see if I can stay there awhile longer and gathering information about my options.

The bottom line is that no matter how painful it is to look into hosting issues, they are created often from growing traffic..so it is a good thing!


Written by: Holly Categorized: Blog Planning, Blogger Voice, Tips