Most people who have ever bought the small shared hosting plans must know a problem deeply. Limited resources they get from the small shared hosting plans force them decide whether they should give it up to move to another bigger plan, or they can just use external resources to make up. It is a fact you may encounter when you build multiple site on your small package. In below, we are going to solve this hard issue for you. Just come with us and learn every tip carefully.
Lightweight CMS is Better for Your Small Package
First, when you choose CMS, you should understand if your small package contains less than 500 MB, you need consider whether your account can support heavy CMS, like Mambo and Joomla. We recommend Drupal and WordPress as the best lightweight alternative. These lightweight CMS can save your disk space and bandwidth for smoother operating.
You should know that sometimes less is more; the lightweight does not mean less functionality. To make your resources enough to run at optimal state, you should make a list of all you alternatives for your preferable CMS, and choose the best suitable one which can fit your demands and your small hosting package.
Replace SMF with MiniBB
As we know, MiniBB is standalone and open source software, which only takes 1.77 MB; while Simple Machines Forum, namely SMF, takes 11.38 MB. It spends far more than MiniBB takes. Besides, if you are not glad to work with MiniBB, there are still other lightweight options against the bigger forum scripts, such as PunBB, AEF, and FluxBB.
In addition, before you install any solution, you should think about how big you want to your forum to be. If you hope to reach millions of users, you should notice that an upgrade of your small package may need. Or you just want to keep the forum staffs and aim at a small number of users; you should make full use of your available resources.
Replace Your Provider’s Webmail Program with Google Apps for Your Webmail
When you use your hosting provider’s webmail program, it will take your global disk space, which is against your site growing needs. However, if you choose to use Google apps, it can save much MBs for optimal performance and site growing.
Apart from utilizing email forwarder on Gmail, Google will give you the possibility to set up your domain name as the base email host by deploying it into Google apps. It also means that you can set up at most 10 free email accounts with domain names. Every email account will come with 10 GB of web disk space. The email accounts are just like firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Utilize a Caching System
Mostly, individuals and small business webmasters choose budget shared hosting plans for saving costs. When they want to welcome more audience and enhance performance, they have to upgrade their plan.
However, if you cannot upgrade, how do you do that? Here we have a solution for you in this situation. You can utilize a caching system to reduce the usage of CPU, meaning it can save your server resources as well.
If you use WordPress, you can install a WordPress plugin, W3 Total Cache, which can increase your server performance, reduce download times, and cache all aspects of your web site. Nevertheless, if you do not use WordPress, you need to optimize your site cache with the tools from your CMS provider.
For example, Drupal has several cache performance tools available, and Joomla has 4. Remember: ask your hosting provider anything about cache, because some hosts offer a premium caching system. If you work with those hosts, you do not have to worry about this question; if the host you choose does not provide any more resources related to caching systems, you need fix it by yourself.
Empty Your Spam Content Regularly
The spam content includes emails, pingback URLs, blog comments, as well as files. You should get rid of all spam content that we mentioned, because these contents will overload your database and server quota.
Make this task in your schedule really! You can do it once a week in case of memory issues. For instance, the comment deletion in WordPress just works at most 64 MB of memory; once it is over, you will receive a fatal error that will force you to make a choice between increasing your allowed memory in PHP.INI file and in wp-config.php within your WordPress root.
If Possible, External Databases are Better Choices
If your web hosting allows linking to remote databases, trust us, use them by all means. External databases can help you lighten the usage of web disk quota, for these databases store your data outside of your own web hosting account.
However, you need to note that remote databases are pretty expensive and even a hassle to the end user, for external database hosting is not cheap. Nevertheless, we have find some free solutions that you can use for your small package. FreeSQLDatabase.com can provide its free customers with one 5 MB SQL database, at the same time the company allows you to set up unlimited databases without any cost.
These services are pretty good for those limited projects, like yours, but do remember they are free meaning they may be not as highly efficient as you expected. Besides, as you use these solutions, you also need to monitor your usage constantly and prepare potential upgrades if you want to use the external databases continuously.
Use File Hosting Service to Save Storage & Bandwidth Resources
Hosting all things downloadable on external hosting services, you should not allow your customers and audiences to upload their own content on your server when your hosting package is limited. Maybe you enable Gravatar so that your customers or visitors do not need to upload a profile avatar.
MailChimp is Good for Your Newsletter
As we all known, if you install newsletter tools in you server which is limited, these tools will be heavy for you small web hosting account by taking your disk space and bandwidth, and you can do nothing to avoid it.
At that time, we recommend you to use external services for that situation, and MailChimp is a professional newsletter solution provider. You can start MailChimp by using its free trial, which allows you to target 2,000 subscribers and to send 12,000 emails/mo. Besides, you can get customizable templates and integrate it with social media like Facebook.
If you do not like MailChimp, BenchMark and CampaignMonitor are both good alternatives, providing free trial and easy to use email marketing tools.
Use Lightweight Survey Software for User Surveys
Likewise, survey software can also get heavy for your small package with just limited resources. Here we know that SurveyMonkey is a pretty alternative for free as you need send a quick survey to a small group of people. If you want to send a survey to larger audiences, it will charge at $17mo, which is still affordable.
Give Up WP Super Cache
Why do we recommend you to give up this well-known WP plugin, WP Super Cache for caching your site? It will consume much of CPU and crash your server with limited resources. Besides, Better WP Security will increase your page load time; the old version of All in One SEO Pack can cause higher load spikes. These WP plugins you should avoid when your hosting package contains limited server resources.
Here is a WordPress plugin named P3, also known as Plugin Performance Profiler, which you can install to track the usage of CPU resources that your plugins are consuming. Once you find out that kind of plugins impeding your CPU resource, you need to disable them as soon as possible.
To beware abuses of your resources you need to be careful to choose your customers. Some of your customers will abuse your resources for outbound attacks or spamming. Do it better, and then you can save your limited resources, money and energy for profitable customers.
Here are some examples showing abuses of resources.
- Upload illegal contents in forms of PDF files, audios, videos, or software;
- Send spam and mass email attacks;
- Add a great number of hotlinking or FTP hijacking to eat your limited disk space and bandwidth.
Using anti-spam plugins and latest version of software is usually enough to get rid of abuses. However, always checking your customers is better to prevent bigger risks. If you check out any dishonest customer, you should block their accounts and report them to the authorities.
Restrict Blog Comments for Valuable Feedback
When your hosting package contains limited database quota, you should limit blog comments for more valuable feedback and outstanding readers who you intend to engage with. As or other comments, you can send emails to reply. You should use it very sparingly and carefully, because this is a pretty extreme measure.
Here is a disadvantage if you use this solution. You may lose some traffic and good reputation among your readers and other bloggers; as time goes by, you can receive less and less feedback from them. Therefore, you need to forewarn visitors why you do that, and show them your limited hosting package and fund issues. Besides, you have to give you email reply guarantee for them, making them now your situation better.
Download & Delete Log Files in Routines
You will be informed that your website is healthy in forms of log files, which is useless on your server. I you keep them on your server instead of download and delete them regularly, their size will grow bigger up to 1 GB. It just wastes your limited server resources for useless contents not valuable things.
For example, in cPanel control panel, there are 2 logs. One is error_log file that generally contains dynamic errors like PHP warnings, spam comments, and database errors like illegal collations. To keep clean on your server, you need to check this log file once a week and remove it.
The other one is /awstats/ folder which includes all statistics logs and access logs for your site. You can disable AwStats in your hosting account to prevent web disk space usage from increasing while the program stores the stat files automatically; if you are stopped by restricted privileges, you can contact your hosting provider for disabling all its analytics software.
Keep Your Account Clean
Don’t worry! It will be easy if you do it according to our guide. Here we make a checklist for you:
- Always! Always! Update your website software
- Always remove obsolete files and logs
- Rid spam email & comments
- Don’t waste your space for useless software
- install anti-virus software on your server
- Report all hijacking attempts to your host
In addition, you can utilize script installer for what you need on your server rather than install software manually. Contact your provider when you encounter any trouble related to configuring scripts.
Always Update Your Software
Over versions of software cannot be compatible with the latest versions of scripts, which can lead to security exploits possibly. Therefore, update your software is the basic skill you have to practice for your hosting security.
If you resist updating your forum or CMS solutions just for the new versions are heavier for your hosting package, you are totally wrong! Do not spoil your whole ship for a halfpennyworth of tar. Under that circumstance, the best solution for you is to move your database to a bigger, lightweight solution.
15 tips for you to make your limited resources be made full use and last. Most of them are about to utilize external resources to reduce the load on your server. You need read every tip carefully and learn these skills to become a better webmasters.