I might have to do some knocking on wood, or even banging on wood to ward off any type of bad magic that will befall my computer equipment after writing this Nugget. I manage two small data centers for all the for jewelry websites that my company services and hosts and today's post gives you some insights and reasons of why you should replace your web server, or web hosting account every 2 years.
Computer hardware usually has a life expectancy of 3 years. Many of you might be pushing your computers for 5 years, 7 years, or maybe even longer, but the average warrantee on a hard drive is 3 years and most of the circuit boards inside your computer only has a manufacturer's warrantee of 1 year.
Believe it or not the same hardware warrantees also apply to the equipment that your website is hosted on. You may not realize it, but somewhere out in the world your website is saved on a hard drive on a powerful computer. We call those computers "servers," and they usually have more computing power than your laptop or desktop--Usually.
Last week I was analyzing the SEO reports for an e-commerce jewelry website and all of my reports were showing a very slow website speed. In fact there were several hundred pages from that website reported with "503 errors," which is a timeout. In other words, the reporting software was unwilling to wait for the slow response time of the website. If the software was impatient just imagine how a real person feels.
As it turns out, this website has been hosted on the same server since 2009, so just over 4 years as I write this. This retail jeweler decided to pay for their own large website hosting account so they could then hire different programmers to work on their website. In the past 4 years they've had 3 different programming companies and 3 different versions of their website set up on the same server.
As I reviewed the technical aspects of their setup, I realized that the previous incarnations of their website are still installed on their server. This takes up a lot of website hard drive space, but it also creates some other unexpected situations.
Every website is nothing more than a bunch of programming code that works together. Sometimes the programming code is custom created, and sometimes its software you can buy just like software for your personal computer. The website I was analyzing actually has a lot of custom programming and every page has a large amount of content on it. But that really doesn't account for the 10 to 15 second render time on some of the pages.
When your website is running very slowly you should look for these possible problems:
Possible Problem #1: You've had the same hosting account for more than 3 years.
Solution: You should pay for a new hosting account every 2 years and move your latest website design over to the new account. Then download everything from the old account and cancel that one.
Why: This should get you on the latest web server equipment, which should be the fastest available.
Possible Problem #2: Your website was redesigned using the same hosting account.
Solution: You should tell your programmer to delete the previous version of your website and never leave it saved on your host, even if it's hidden.
Why: The daily backup routine of your website will slow down your website while it's running. There's no reason to slow down your website longer than is needed. Download all the old code and clean it from the server.
Possible Problem #3: Background programs might still be running.
Solution: You should tell your programmer to fully deactivate any unneeded features that are installed on your site.
Why: A lot of website programming code continues to run in memory even if it's not being used on your web pages. This background running program could slow your site down. This usually happens when your website was reprogrammed or redesigned without remembering to turn off old features.
Possible Problem #4: Your website might be too big for your hosting plan.
Solution: Move to a larger, more expensive hosting plan.
Why: There are times when the size of a website grew too big for the allocated memory or hard drive to handle. Many times you won't notice until the problem is very bad, but it's probably been happening for a while.
The bottom line in today's Daily Golden Nugget is that you should upgrade your hosting plan every time you upgrade your website. This will ensure the smooth running of your site before hardware warranties run out and before you exceed the allocated capacity of your hosting plan.