The Importance of Picking The Right Host And How To Do It

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Picking the right service to host your website on is incredibly important. Imagine you get Dugg, or Reddited, or Slashdotted and you deplete the alloted server resources, not only will you rack up an exorbitant amount in overage charges but you miss out on incredibly important exposure, and new subscribers/readers.
Here’s a look at a very interesting article that I read a little over a week ago that provides insight into surviving 100,000 instant visitors on a budget. If you look at the first image from the article it highlights several notable things:
1. An article from your site hits the front-page of Digg and there is an immediate spike in traffic.
2. MySQL exhausts your server resources.
3. Some recovery traffic that isn’t as high as the initial traffic (which trailed off because you ran out of resources).
4. Server reboot and HTML caching causes more loss in traffic.
What we see here is that you have about 6-8 hours of really good traffic before it starts going back to normal. And this is the time where you really need to capitalize on your sudden popularity. Many of the Technorati top 100 sites display their web hosting provider’s badge on the site, which provides a good place to start looking for options. But in case they aren’t, a new service launched today solves that problem for you.
The tool, which is quite appropriately called Who Is Hosting This, let’s you peek behind the site and find out the name and a link to the service that is hosting a particular site, and it’s completely free.
Here are some other simpler methods for countering the problems outlined above that you can use if you’re not quite ready to change hosts yet (specific to WordPress hosted blogs):
1. The WordPress Stats management plugin, though not the most versatile, takes a heavy load off your MySQL database.
2. WordPress caching plugins detect a sudden influx of traffic and serve cached static pages and images.

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  • HMTKSteve

    Good work Mu but I have never been able to get a WordPress cache plugin to work.
    I tried the “who is hosting this” this link and when I enter my domain it points to the company I lease my server from. Because I lease my own server everything is “on me”. If something breaks either I fix it or I pay them $250+/hr to fix it for me.
    To be honest, I no longer see much value in Digg traffic. It tends to be a swarm of locusts with the attention span of a gnat. I much prefer the organic traffic I have built up over the last year to the traffic Digg sends.
    It would be something else if Digg traffic converted but it never does. It does not convert to additional readers nor does it convert to advertising revenue (unless you run CPM advs) so I would rather not have the digg crowd wrecking my sandbox!

  • Anne H

    The netcraft toolbar also shows this info and other details such as who else is using that host.

  • Muhammad Saleem

    Thanks Steve and I’m glad to see you participating on Pronet.
    As far as Digg is concerned, I think in the very least it is good for creating awareness.

  • rick gregory

    Well… this isn’t a traffic graph, first of all. It’s a data volume graph and the reason it spikes so high is that he’s serving his own images. Notice that when he outsources the image hosting to Smugmug his traffic drops drastically. Seeing unique visitors would be more interesting.
    Still, good points. I’d add that you should be gzipping the data if you can and have a caching plugin installed, so that you can activate it at a moment’s notice (if you don’t want it active all the time. So caching plugins will view make you disable the gzip feature to use the caching… make sure you know how to get the plugin to work if you install one.

  • Muhammad Saleem

    True Rick, but even then, pre-outsourcing tha data served is not constant and even after outsourcing its not constant because the correlation between data volume to traffic should be at a 1:1 ratio and as the story moves further down the page or to the next page of Digg the incoming traffic goes down and so does the data load.

  • admin

    This is a good article i loved it.
    the website is also a good tool.

  • Al doesn’t seem to work !!

  • john

    whoishostingthis thought that my domain registrar was my host. It’s not.