Blog Notes and the Throttled Website

by Joel Friedlander on April 11, 2012 · 10 comments

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Important Note:


TheBookDesigner.com will be offline Wednesday night – Thursday morning (depending on where you’re located) for 1 – 4 hours while we switch to a new server.

Switching Servers for Better Performance

My little blog on book design has been growing. As the articles and other features on the blog have increased, they have attracted steadily more people who are looking for answers to their questions about publishing, and for that I’m grateful.

Other offerings have also expanded, and the eBookConversionDirectory, a couple of dormant blogs, and the site I’m building for my new online training course, the Self-Publishing Roadmap, are all hosted on the same account.

This is known as “shared hosting” because the servers at Bluehost.com, my internet service provider have many sites on the same servers.

Recently you might have encountered errors or delays when you’re trying to access the blog, like this one I received today:

blogging

Or maybe you just ended up staring at the little spinny thing go around and around while you waited.

I hate when that happens. My blog technician didn’t have a ready answer, although he tried various caching plugins and other secret ninja stuff blog technicians know about.

Chat sessions with Bluehost.com didn’t help either. I mean, who needs 100 pages of PDFs on how to optimize your blog when it won’t even load?

Eventually, mostly out of frustration, I started noodling around inside my account, and soon stumbled on something called “CPU Throttling.”

Sure enough, that was the reason for the poor performance:

throttling

Oh, yes. Unbeknownst to me, during just one 24-hour cycle, my account at Bluehost.com was “throttled” 48,729 seconds. Don’t reach for your calculator, that amounts to over 13 hours.

I really can’t complain, since Bluehost is generally a great ISP, and their prices are incredibly low. But those low prices come with their own costs, and the biggest cost is that you are essentially on a “party line” used by lots of other people.

If the ISP thinks you are using too many “resources” they will limit your bandwidth, or “throttle” your site.

So I bit the bullet. We backed up all the sites today, and will change to a better server system that Bluehost offers (at an upcharge, of course).

I hope this solves the delays and other problems, and improves your experience here at The Book Designer. That’s the whole point.

Come by on Sunday for the latest installment of our monthly eBook Cover Design Awards. There are 67 covers in this month’s contest, and some real beauties. Check back in, I wouldn’t want you to miss it.

Photo by Beraldo Leal

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    { 10 comments… read them below or add one }

    Barb April 11, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Good luck with the transition. Thanks for the info.

    Reply

    chris April 12, 2012 at 6:50 am

    I had slow loading times myself a month ago. Checked the plugin’s and talked with my host (hostgator). They pointed me to the free service http://gtmetrix.com. I was able to identify stuff on my side that was a problem and easily fix it. I just ran it for your site. Run it for your site and then click on the “timeline” tab. You’ll find you’ve got a bunch of 404-not found errors for images not found every time your site loads. Those are killing your site load speed. Even when you change servers, this will still be an issue but one that’s easily fixed.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander April 12, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Thanks, Chris. That’s an incredible report that gtmetrix puts out, I’ll be looking at it in detail. The problems I was having, although they may be partly due to image load problems, the predominant reason for the server move was the throttling issue that would often just hang the site for over a minute at a time. Now that we’ve got that settled, we’ll move on to these optimization ideas. Much appreciated.

    Reply

    James April 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Joel, how did it go? Does this mean you’re now using a co-located server instead of a virtual one?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander April 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    James,

    It went flawlessly from what I can see. I don’t know exactly about “co-located” but I’m sure you know more about that stuff than I do. The site was back up when I checked this morning, and we’ve cleaned up the image details that Chris found through gtmetrix, and it seems to be loading much faster than before, so all is well for the time being.

    Reply

    James April 13, 2012 at 8:51 am

    A “Co-lo” server means there’s a computer at the host dedicated just to your needs–some folks “co-locate” their own actual PC at the host’s building, hence the name. A “virtual” server means your needs are provided by a physical server that’s also serving others (hundreds or thousands of them).

    Given your high level of traffic, a co-lo *might* be what you need, I’m not sure.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander April 13, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I’m pretty sure the normal arrangement at Bluehost is virtual servers, hence the need to monitor bandwidth use among the sharers. Not sure about the new arrangement, but the site is loading and responding much faster since the move, so all is good for now.

    Reply

    Matt April 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Sounds like you uploaded to a more dedicated server, less interruptions from others. Great to hear the transition went smoothly, would hate to miss out on a new learning opportunity, always appreciate the insights!

    Reply

    Blaine Moore April 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    If you haven’t already, check out CloudFlare: http://www.cloudflare.com – even at the free level it can do a lot to speed up your website and take a load off of your server. Highly recommend them. (They also help protect you from hackers and spammers which is a great side benefit.)

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander April 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Thanks, Blaine. Joel Williams suggested them also and I’m looking into it.

    Reply

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