As I’m sure you are all aware the site has been suffering from poor performance for a long time. Evohosting, the previous hosting company, recommended that I switch to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) provided by Daily Internet, their parent company. I decided instead to move the site to a VPS from SmartHosting over the weekend of 27th/28th February. Uploading the site took up most of Sunday 28th and over the next few days the resources available to the site were increased from 1 cpu core and 1gb of memory to 3 cpu cores and 5gb.
This seemed to have solved most of the problems, but two new ones arose – some users were unable to access the site and others found that the answers were no longer hidden. The technical staff at SmartHosting were unable to throw any light on these problems other than to point out that it was a DNS problem and some nameservers, like those maintained by Google, had no problems with recognising the site and others persisted in denying its existence. I put the site on to CloudFlare, a content delivery network which acts as a reverse proxy for websites, purely so that I could change the site’s nameservers and “force” the various nameservers around the world to update their records. This had an unexpected benefit in that the spoilers covering the answers worked again.
But all was not a bed of roses, and every now and then the site went into meltdown and the cpu usage, which should be in the range 0-3, would rocket to 50-60 and beyond. Each time this happened I would struggle to get into the admin dashboard and frantically deactivate plugins until the site returned to normality. Last Saturday I turned my attention to the innocuous looking plugin that provided the list of contributors and how many posts they had contributed. What if it has to scan the entire database each time someone displayed a page? I deactivated the plugin, which I then discovered was flagged as untested on the current version of WordPress. This seems to have solved the problem. I have replaced it with a different plugin which does not show the number of posts from each contributor and is only available on the Google Search pages.
Unfortunately, a few other facilities have also been permanently withdrawn. Each time I reactivated the plugin that provides the animated emoticons, the cpu usage increased so it had to go. The Polldaddy plugin that provided the ratings was also withdrawn after some users reported errors when adding comments.
If you are still having problems please let me know in a comment, and likewise if you were having problems and they are now resolved I’d also like to know.
Thanks for your patience during what has been a very trying few months.