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Does the Cloud Provide Scalable Web Hosting?

This article tell you how to scale out your website the most cost effective way and how we can help you get there.


Shared Hosting will Scale

Sometimes you simply outgrow your hosting platform due to an increase of site traffic, but the most likely case is that your server’s CPU is over utilized and not a bandwidth problem causing the slow response times to your customers.  What usually happens in this case, that is, if you are on a shared hosting plan, the hosting company disables your site and forces you to scale or upgrade your plan to a VPS or dedicated server.  They move your site and data to a new server and your site is back up and running again in a day or so.  Hopefully everything moves over without any glitches, but the issue that caused the problem in the first case still persists and may eventually rear its ugly head again.

This happened to us about a month after we launched ArtWoo in 2005.  ArtWoo was our next release of our CMS and to test it out, we started loading it with articles. Since we also integrated it into Amazon A9, the article directory gained a lot of traction where it was pushing out over 10k searches/day which was to much for a shared hosting account.  The combination of traffic to a non-cached system brought the server to it’s knees.

The dreaded email from Lunarpages really hit home telling us that our site was using too much CPU and they were forced to deactivate it.  Eventually we moved to a VPS with significant cost and downtime.  (Now we always run our projects on Rackspace [aff.] so we don’t run into this issue anymore.)

Caching Pages is Best Option

Of course, traffic continue to grow and eventually we had to cache copies of the pages generated by search producing an order of magnitude improvement with better response time.  Basically, the code producing the HTML was running a fraction of the time allowing the faster file access of the generated page to load quicker.

It’s surprising that even today WordPress doesn’t have built-in caching of pages and one has to rely on third party plug-ins to provide the functionality.  However, their argument is valid where they cannot know the server configuration each user will have or simply put, they don’t want to support it.

Moving Data to the Cloud

On a single CPU server such as a VPS, your application is blocked during I/O to the backend, or database causing a context switch to perform the query.  One advantage of the cloud, is that you can distribute the processing so that one system is not overburdened waiting for database queries.

In general, partitioning the data on a separate server may provide the extra boost needed to scale your site.  There is less load on the frontend processing, thus, helping your site to keep up with traffic demands.  Also, it will help you ease into distributed caching system (i.e., memcached) for future scale out.  The practical and most efficient going this route is the use a DBaaS (database as a service) instead of trying to build something in-house.

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What We Can Do for You

These are simply a few ways you can scale your webhosting due to increased customer demands. However, there many ways to make your site efficient.  Give us a call our use our contact page and we will show you how to grow your sites to meet your requirements.

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