I’ve felt for some time that my WordPress installation was slow. Sometimes it would load really quickly under 2 seconds. At other times it would take 10 or even 20 seconds. I tried everything. Caching plugins, optimization, minification and compression. I reduced the load on the server by filtering out bad entries and spammers. I modified my feedback system and paginated large numbers of comments on posts. But nothing really worked. I needed something more.
Looking at my site speed stats in Google Analytics, the parameter called “Server Response Time” was the choke point. Sometimes it would be almost instant. At other times it would take forever just to transfer the first byte. Bluehost specializes in shared hosting so that’s what I have. No matter how much I optimize my site, I share server resources with thousands of other websites. This explains my lag spikes.
I looked into specialized managed WordPress solutions like WPEngine, WPWebHost and others and was sorely tempted. But I must be getting old cause the hassle of migrating my existing blog (two of them), database, settings and files over to another server was daunting. I had heard about Bluehost’s Pro package that has a lot of additional features I didn’t want, but also moves my site over to higher end servers with better hardware and most importantly, fewer domains. This means my site gets more resources and the server is more responsive.
So I bit the bullet and went ahead with the upgrade. Cost me $25 a month instead of the $8 I currently pay. It was damn easy – so easy in fact that I didn’t know whether it was successful! I just added the plan to my cart, made the payment…and that was it! I was expecting my site to perhaps go offline for at least a short while as it was migrated over, but it didn’t. Left me wondering whether there was any change at all. But my plan had definitely been upgraded according to the control panel.
I knew for sure when I started loading my website. It was much faster. Server response times had dropped at least in half and like I said that was the main component of my delays. I gave Google Analytics a day to collect new data and it’s obvious that things have improved greatly.
I can also affirm that actions like posting a comment are now much faster and should create a better user experience for my visitors. The site would sometimes get stuck for 10 or 20 seconds previously and I feel much happier knowing that people are able to post without wondering whether their comment will be lost.
Overall, a very positive experience moving to Bluehost Pro. It’s a bit steep but I rely on my blog not just for my personal thoughts, but also for business purposes and branding. It was a smart thing to do.