I noticed something was wrong when I clicked around on my site and noticed a lot of “Error 500 – internal server error” messages. Traffic had been pretty steady for the past few months, but as I later found out, my WordPress installation was gradually becoming more and more complex, using more server resources with every upgrade. So the humble little 8$ a month plan I’ve been using since 2012 was no longer enough to serve all the pageviews necessary for a site that over 100,000 people visit each month.
My host had subtly discouraged me in the past from upgrading to their “enterprise” plan, noting that tests comparing server response time between the basic and enterprise plans had not been done. I really appreciate how honest they were about that, but had I upgraded then I would have likely captured much more traffic in the months between then and now.
I never thought upgrading my hosting account would make such a terrific difference. This is what my Google Analytics account looks like for the period between last August and today, Feb 15 2015.
I hit a record for most visitors in a single hour the very next day. It was partly coincidence, but without the extra resources my traffic stats would probably have remained unchanged from the previous day, since they seem to have been maxed out as it was. My site traffic over the month and a half since has been up an average of about 50%.
The hosting account I switched to was “enterprise basic” from my host, StableHost. It costs 20$/mo instead of 8$/mo and gives me 8x the processing power. Processor power is extremely important for a PHP-based site, which includes WordPress, Joomla or Drupal CMS based websites. However, a web host will rarely advertise their processor power, instead focusing on irrelevant shit like “1000 email addresses!” Or “Unlimited file transfer!”