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8 Ways to Stop Your Blog Crashing as Soon as it Gets Popular

person-apple-laptop-notebookIn this guest post, Andrew Maybin, managing director of web hosting and digital infrastructure company Tibus, gives tips on how to avoid the hosting pitfalls associated with high-traffic blogs.

It’s the nightmare scenario for any blogger. All the hours and effort you’ve invested in writing, promoting and developing your site, only for it to go down as soon as you hit the jackpot.

An article that goes viral, a retweet from a high-profile influencer or a link from a top-tier website: it’s what you’ve been working towards, but is your blog ready to cope with the resulting traffic?

If you’re yet to find out the hard way, your web hosting and server setup can play a hugely important role in making your blog a success.

Pieces of content – in the form of blog posts and social media output – are often described in terms of being building blocks. Your hosting is the foundations on which your content is built. Get that wrong and it all comes tumbling down pretty quickly.

How important is it that your blog is available?

That is the first – and perhaps the most important – question to ask yourself. It is something you need to repeatedly come back to when making decisions about your hosting arrangements.

National broadcasters, popular tech websites and high-traffic niche blogs are make up a huge portion of web hosting clients. Even within that relatively close demographic, people have different budgets, hosting requirements and answers to that all-important question.

In the ‘jackpot’ examples we mentioned, how much would it cost you – or maybe pain you – for your website to crash? Act according to your answer when weighing up which of these hosting tips for high-traffic blogs is right for your website.

1. Choose the right hosting package

The most fundamental aspect of website hosting is getting the right sort of package to begin with. As with anything in life, you tend to get what you pay for so don’t expect an entry level package to serve enterprise ambition. Be realistic and choose a package with enough CPU and RAM to give the raw power your website needs.

As a rule of thumb, websites that attract flashes of traffic, like blogs, are well-suited to private cloud hosting supported by a content delivery network (CDN). This option gives the efficiency and scalability of the cloud, but with extra control and security. The CDN takes the strain off the main server by hosting photos and other static assets that might otherwise drain your resources.

2. Pick something scalable

As alluded to in the previous point, the way to deal with surges of traffic without breaking the bank is to opt for a hosting package that’s flexible enough to scale-up when the crowds arrive and scale back down to something that’s a bit more affordable when they’ve gone.

3. Use web server caching

A cache takes pages or assets within your blog and creates static versions of them which load much more quickly. This can result in 20x better performance from exactly the same server.

The impact on user experience is limited and the improvement in site speed dramatic. We tend to use caching tools such as NGINX and Varnish. Any blog that uses WordPress will benefit hugely from caching. In fact it’s a must for maintaining decent performance levels.

4. Use servers close to your readers

Where is your traffic coming from? It is a good idea to have versions of your website hosted in data centres close to your main geographic hot-spots.So, if you’re big in Brazil, hot in Hungary or in-demand in India, move your content closer to the audience. The result will be a better user experience and a more efficient use of your resources.

5. Tune your database

A tidy database can go a long way towards stopping your website crashing during busy periods. Slow queries, inefficient calls and multiple table joins – all of which can occur naturally as your website evolves over time – can cause slow performance on high-traffic websites

6. Use a database cache

Database queries are very often the cause of performance problems for high traffic websites, even if you’ve tuned your database as outlined above. Using a tool like Memcache or Redis will improve performance when large numbers of visitors are concurrently dipping in and out of articles, photos and other pieces of content.

7. Use lateral scaling and load balancing

Even the most powerful servers and their software have a ‘hard limit’ at which point their resources hit a wall. You can circumvent this by using more than one server and balancing the load across them.

This is the web hosting embodiment of the old adage, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. It can achieve greater capacity and better performance while retaining cost-effectiveness.

8. Pay attention to your network

This starts at home by making sure you’ve got the basics right. In the past we’ve seen people tick the wrong box with usage limits or firewall settings and inadvertently limit their server resources.

Further afield, your hosting company will be using internet exchanges as part of their network. Check that there are no bottlenecks with their infrastructure and that sufficient bandwidth is being made available to your website.

The tips in this guest post have been kept as simple as possible. You can find a bit more technical detail at tibus.com.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
Comments
  1. Thank you Andrew for sharing this post! I’ve wondered about hosting specifics and am not technical enough to understand most of what I find.

    This simplifies the complex and helps a lot!

    I run one of my blogs through Google’s blogger, do I need to worry about some of this stuff, or does Google handle all these hosting issues?

    I ask because I also have a few other blogs that are hosted by different services and was curious if I need to move them one way or the other.

    • Hi David

      Thanks for your comment.

      If you’re on Blogger, Google should be handling all the hosting (although they also effectively own your site, too).

      Thanks,

      Andrew

  2. 8 essential steps to Stop my Blog Crashing, Choosing the right hosting package is really important for pro bloggers, it’s really heart it says “Bandwidth limit exceed”

    Thanks Andrew, for sharing this pro article.

  3. 8 essential steps to Stop my Blog Crashing, Choosing the right hosting package is really important for pro bloggers, it’s really heart when it says “Bandwidth limit exceed”

    Thanks Andrew, for sharing this pro article.

  4. Mostly websites crashes because of bad server hosting.
    I agree with each and every point, thanks for sharing this with us, knowledgeable content..!!

  5. Web Hosting Plan stands as the first reason whenever a website goes down due to spike in traffic. Your tips are crisp and clear to avoid such technical issues and fine tune for best performance. Thanks a lot Andrew.

    Robin.

  6. I am totally agree with you. All the points are very crucial points. my blog has crashed just because of bad hosting package.

  7. Is this still an issue with WordPress or similar blog providers? Looking at setting something like this up and want to do it the best way possible!

  8. Obviously, it will be a sad story if all your hard work has gone to waste. Thanks for sharing such a post. I think all the steps need to be taken seriously and none should be abandoned.

  9. This is one of those problems I can’t wait to have…not the crashing part, of course. I’m still building traffic and aren’t crazy about my server so maybe now’s the time to do something before I become wildly popular! (Must think positive). Thanks.

    • Hi Laurie,

      The danger is if the traffic comes suddenly and you’re server isn’t ready to cope. It’s worth building the infrastructure for the site you hope to have. If, as I mentioned in the article, you get something scalable, you needn’t be paying over the odds.

      Thanks,

      Andrew

  10. Yes, I agree all your words, If we’re yet to find out the hard way, our web hosting and server setup can play a hugely important role in making your blog a success.

  11. Thanks for these tips!
    I just went through a seemingly never-ending process a few months ago, once my blog started getting popular. I purchased a VPS package thinking it would be enough, only to discover that a reasonably-priced VPS does NOT mean it’s automatically faster than the default Shared hosting.

    Then i upgraded to a slightly higher VPS package. Still not fast enough and i was already paying almost $100 per month. The most disgusting part is that the speed was still very comparable to that of Shared hosting. But this time i was paying nearly ten times more each month.

    I finally got a dedicated package, and I can finally sleep well at night.

  12. Hi Andrew,

    Good to know! My developer handles this end of things; with that in mind it helps to know the basics, the nuts and bolts, to find the right hosting package for my blog.

    Thanks much.

    Ryan

  13. Nice post, Choosing the right hosting package is very important because if your hosting is slow, it will definitely affect your business.

  14. Using a tool like Memcache or Redis will improve performance when large numbers of visitors are concurrently dipping in and out of articles, photos and other pieces of content.
    Thanks.

  15. Choosing a reliable and fast hosting package was already mentioned and makes sense.

    In addition to that I always recommend to also optimize your site with regard to page load times.
    The optimization steps used for creating faster loading pages also reduce the load on your server and help making your site more stable.
    Don’t know if it is allowed to place a link here, but a list of steps to apply can be found at:
    http://adwordsexplained.com/all-about-website-speed/

    Hope this helps.

  16. Great article.
    In my opinion, if you use the right hosting package and combine with a CDN network, then your blog will be able to handle high traffic as well and that too very easily.

  17. Hi..
    Thank you for posting this blog and sharing this information blog crashing .stop your blog crashing as soon as it gets popular and web hosting plan . really this stands as the first reason whenever a website goes down due to spike in traffic ..

    Thank you

  18. Amasing..If i read this earlier i may not regret about my hoisting error that spoiled my traffic

  19. Most websites crash due to problems encountered by the server. So I advise people to be conscious about this and choose a good web hosting server. Thanks for this informative article. I’m going to share this to my colleagues.

  20. Very useful tips. I myself have implemented a CDN to help provide my articles faster across the globe. It has happened in the past where a few tweets have led to a huge spike in traffic and errors when accessing the site and the CDN seemed to help with this but I’ll look into some of your suggestions for future efficiency. Thanks.

  21. It’s always a good idea to pay attention to your readers and create content relevant to what they like to read, simply because not only does it help to boost your long-term search engine rankings, but most importantly, it helps to increase online ad revenue. Every content creator strives for excellence daily to figure out what works and what doesn’t. That said, it should give bloggers direct and indirect “transformation marketing inspiration.”

  22. 70% of websites crashes because of bad server hosting and 30% becouse of bad script arhitecture.
    Thanks for sharing this with us

  23. We are workong with developers to make my websites good to users. I like your post very much and all the tips are very useful

  24. Hi David

    Thanks for your comment.

    If you’re on Blogger, Google should be handling all the hosting (although they also effectively own your site, too).

  25. Athough I’m blogger I never stop learning about blogging from other bloggers. I always visit Problogger and what I can say is that I learn a lot from this blog.

    Regarding ways to stop your blog crashing as soon as it gets popular, all I can advice those who are starting a blog is to choose a web hosting package that will always accommodate future growth.