Imagine my surprise when I returned to my office a few days ago and picked up a voice message from HostGator, the company that hosts this WordPress website, informing me they had shut down my site because it was “putting a strain on their server.” What!? I quickly went to my computer, typed in my URL and saw this scary message:
What Did I Do Wrong?
The phone message also told me to look for an email, which I did, and this is what it told me, “Unfortunately, we were forced to disable the script “/home/xxxxxx/public_html/” as it was causing high loading issues on the server. Due to this affecting all of the other accounts on the system, we had to take immediate action for the health of the server. ”
I’m just a small company — not a Fortune 500 Goliath with a hugely dense website — so how could this be possible? The email also told me that they noticed I had a WordPress blog, which is true but not quite accurate. As I’ve written before, a WordPress blog IS a website.
But maybe that’s nitpicking when you’re essentially out of business and your visitors find they are Forbidden to access the server — and your website. They didn’t do anything wrong. Why was HostGator being so nasty? Couldn’t they have given me 24 hours advance notice with instructions how to fix the problem and then shut me down if I didn’t?
I immediately called HostGator tech support, which happens to be excellent. It seems the main problem is that I had disabled the cache plugin. A cache is an archive of files that can slow down the load time of a site.
A plugin, for those who don’t know, is a piece of software that adds functionality to a website. Think of buying a car. You decide you want to install air conditioning and a GPS system. They’re like plugins because they add more functions to your car.
My webmaster and I had decided a while back to disable the cache plugin because it was causing other problems — like the GPS lady who keeps telling you to turn right when you know a shortcut to the left. Plugins can be finicky sometimes. Everything was running smoothly without this plugin until — wham, I was shut down.
How to Fix the Problem
First, I immediately installed HostGator’s recommended cache plugin WP Super Cache. Next, the tech support representative suggested I delete other plugins I wasn’t using, another potential source of the problem.
In HostGator’s email to me they specifically mentioned several plugins, none of which I had installed. If you own a WordPress website and have installed the plugins listed below and use HostGator, beware.
This is the message I received:
- All related posts plugins (WordPress Related Posts, YARPP) can cause significantly high load in most cases.WPRobot3 and other auto-posters can also cause high load issues, and should be disabled if they are causing issues.
- StatPress and other WordPress statistics software should also be disabled, as these too can consume too much CPU in certain cases. Use Google Analytics instead for statistics as well as Awstats which already comes by default on your account.
- WP Post Views is also a plugin that you’ll want to avoid as it causes significant resource usage.
- Any other plugins that are not vital to your WordPress should be disabled.
The HostGator customer service rep reactivated my site on our call. Technically, HostGator won’t let your site go live again unless you respond to their email explaining how you fixed the problem, i.e., installing a cache plugin and deleting unnecessary plugins. I wrote to them anyway after I did that just to be on the safe side.
My webmaster and I think that HostgGator over-reacted in shutting down my site. He claims that as soon as they see it’s a WordPress website they get all in a snit anticipating problems that may never happen. Who knows? I’ve been otherwise satisfied with HostGator’s service which is used by thousands of bloggers.
Maybe their tagline, “we eat up the competition” should be changed to “we eat up our customers” when they summarily shut down your website without so much as giving you a moment’s notice.