Some Changes To Zander Chance

Last summer, I moved most of my high traffic sites over to a dedicated server. I decided to keep Zander Chance and a few of my other sites on a shared host that was already pre-paid through March 2009. This was a mistake, and after watching my sites go down on 5 different occasions yesterday (all while I was working on a fairly long post), I finally decided to deal with it once and for all.

Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with shared hosting, as long as you’ve got a good service provider. I hosted a number of my sites with HostGator, and they were FANTASTIC! Speeds were great, support questions were answered promptly, and I never had a service interruption. If you don’t have a budget for a dedicated server, I recommend you host your sites with HostGator!

Unfortunately, I took advice from a bunch of “experts” on a popular web hosting forum, and went with this other company. Their price couldn’t be beat, and their reputation seemed to be solid. Unfortunately, their service started to suffer a few months later, and I was already locked into a 1-year contract with them. It was a bad move, but I had no choice at the time.

Last summer, I purchased a dedicated server from ThePlanet, and life couldn’t be better. I moved about 45 sites over to the new box, and everything has been running smoothly for the most part. Managing your own server is a job in itself, and through it I’ve learned how to better optimize my blogs to reduce the load it puts on our server.

A few tips to optimize your WordPress blog:

  • Certain contact form plugins would cause the load averages to spike, so I’ve gone with a more low-tech approach that’s just as effective.
  • Reduce the number of database calls by hardcoding the php variables in your theme.
  • Limit the number of plugins you use. Instead of using the Gravatar plugin, I just hardcoded the WP 2.5+ gravatar code into my comments.php file.
  • Monitor your CPU usage and load average when installing a new plugin, as some just don’t play well with others.

Making a few of these minor changes reduced my load average from 2.50 to 0.30. Not bad for 30 minutes of work.

I’ve also added an e-mail subscription box at the bottom of each post, along with some social media submission buttons. Hope you enjoy the changes!

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