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I was thinking about about recent conversation about WordPress support.  Over the years we've had to help hundreds of business owners fix and maintain their business website. Most of the problems could have been avoided if they had a proper support plan in place.

One of the challenges of troubleshooting performance issues is it can be very time consuming and difficult to pinpoint.  After years of working in this area we've gained a lot of insight.

Website Running Slow or Not Loading

Part of the problem is from a hosting perspective it's not obvious what may be causing an overload on the account.  Since we run Cloud Linux, this allows each shared account to limit server resources so one account won't drag down the server.  So your website may run slow while all the other sites run fine.  This is how most hosting providers like Godaddy, manage their servers these days.

Poor performance of a website is caused by misbehaving plugins or database issues.  we've dealt with lots of these from various providers.  One example we had was website that had generated 16,000 lines of code in the .htaccess file.  I'm still not sure why but it had to do with iThemes blacklist monitoring and banning IP's.  This caused a huge problem because every http request had to parse the file and this caused a huge slow down for the website.

Last February we started having a lot of problems with one of the servers in general.  We spent dozens of hours troubleshooting why the server kept getting overloaded and to make a long story short, our top tier provider couldn't figure out the problem.  So we started moving websites off the server to another cloud server that were larger and could be causing the issue.  

Once the sites were moved we could isolate the problem better.  It turned out that a few sites were having issues.  One site in particular was running WooCommerce and the database was degraded to the point where it had to be rebuilt.  There are 26 million rows in WP-OPTIONS caused by WooCommerce and no easy fix.

I could go on but I'm sure you get the idea.  

Robust websites that are built with lots of plugins (like ours) require more maintenance than simpler sites running just a few.  Mo plugins, mo problems, as conflicts appear and incompatibility arise.  Now throw in a major upgrade of WordPress (5.0 is coming) and necessary theme updates, and it requires a lot of work to upgrade everything.

It's a silent killer, happening below the surface like a ticking time bomb.

Software Maintenance

Unless there's constant maintenance on a website it will simply degrade to the point it can't be fixed.  This is how most websites are managed and it's really unnecessary and more costly.  The lifespan of a website can be significantly increase with a plan that includes maintaining the software used to run a website.

I'm seeing from an engineering perspective these things getting worse.  Which is the whole reason we're phasing out hosting only service because it doesn't make sense and it is too costly to operate in this way.  The one website with a corrupted database took many days to troubleshoot.  

Hosting Companies

So how do other hosting companies do it?  Well I've heard horror stories of accounts just getting disabled or terminated.  In their hosting terms of service they retain the right to remove any accounts that cause security or performance issues with their servers.  You are only renting space and don't get much website support from them. So you'll get an email something like:

"After investigation we've found spam on your hosting account. Please have your web designer look into the problem. Your account will be suspended until this issue is resolved."

What People Do

But having said all that many websites go unsupported and continue to run with no visible degradation.  It really depends on the organization and their needs to determine what level of support they may need.

Having WordPress support isn't really necessary. You can ignore the website until something happens. Your website can have hidden spam links that are affecting your SEO. But who really cares about that? I mean it's not like you are using your website for digital marketing right? Or do you rely on your website for getting customers?

If you DO use your website for digital marketing you may want to get better support.  Contact us now for a complete audit and onboarding analysis for your business website.

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Tony Sova

Written by Tony Sova

Owner of Softwired, a web design, SEO, and Inbound Marketing firm.