Need Words of Wisdom

Hi there,

I have been working on my site for the past 6 months, I finally feel like I have everything in place to start promoting it.

But I have a few final questions. Firstly, about hosting, I have read all about dedicated hosting, VPS and that this is what we should have for multisite, but when I asked my host about it. Now they have been incredibly helpful from the start, but they said that I was fine on the shared hosting and that a VPS wasn't needed yet, that I should just go up though their packages as I need to. I have had no problem with my hosting and have even added the multi databases without issue. They are a local (Irish) host and seem great, but are they right?

Secondly, I have decided not to get a SSL certificate, as I now have 3 domains using the multi domain plugin, and would have to go for a wild card subdomain certificate for each (very expensive) and I am using paypal exclusively for marketpress (chained payments) and Supporter. Do you think this is a safe option, not getting the SSL? Should I get one for my main site?

Thirdly, every so often my site gets exhausted. I have allocated 64M in .htaccess. I have read about this php.ini file. I don't have one. Can you just create that file yourself? Is going over 64M excessive?

Finally, thanks for all the great advice!

  • Timothy Bowers

    Now they have been incredibly helpful from the start, but they said that I was fine on the shared hosting and that a VPS wasn't needed yet, that I should just go up though their packages as I need to.

    You can start with shared hosting, the problem comes when you bloat an install with to many plugins and themes all inserting data in your database and including to many php files increasing the memory needed. Or of course as you grow because of the amount of resources used.

    Most of the time the problems are not with space or bandwidth but they can be a cause for concern as you grow.

    This is what I posted on other threads:

    It doesn't really matter but there are things to keep in mind:

    + Create a clear plan of what you want to achieve!

    + Stick to that plan!

    + Don't install plugins and themes on your main site just to test, every install can and often will insert data in the database, not all will remove the data when removed thus leading to DB bloat.

    + Try not to bloat your install with too many plugins, remember every time a plugin is installed it can insert data, it might also be another 1 or another 100+ php files to include on every page and post load depending on the plugin, thus requiring more memory from your install. Shared hosting environments and hosting companies don't always play nice when you hog their server resources.

    + Create a sandbox install if you must play with themes and plugins before putting them on your production website, thus limiting the footprint on your main install.

    + Make sure your hosting environment is capable of managing your realistic anticipated usage. These things are not always easy so unless you have a huge advertising budget then chances are you won't grow that quickly at first although I suppose anything is possible.

    The last point is not always so important if your growth is steady and if you have a good host who is willing to work with you. If a company will help you when you need to upgrade it will make things easier for you so you could start on shared and move through the notions as and when required.

    Some hosts though, when you use to many server resources have been known to terminate accounts force upgrades even on the mythical "UNLIMITED BANDWIDTH" , "UNLIMITED SPACE", etc, packages because truly nothing is unlimited. Try sticking 10TB of data on there or regularly maxing their connections, you won't be a client for long unless you upgrade to costly packages.

    They are a local (Irish) host and seem great, but are they right?

    Look for reviews, sign yourself up to something like http://www.pingdom.com/ and use their free service, thus you will know how much if any downtime your site suffers. Without such a service you might never learn of downtime which is affecting your site and business.

    I am using paypal exclusively for marketpress (chained payments) and Supporter. Do you think this is a safe option, not getting the SSL? Should I get one for my main site?

    Those sub sites whom use their own domain would need their own certs. Wildcard certs for sub domains do just that, so tlds would still need a cert of its own.

    Paypal handles the secure part for payment, but keep in mind where you store the buyers contact details, data protection is important.

    I'd like to see MarketPress drop out of a mapped domain when it doesn't use SSL to default to a .sub.domain.com (users blog url) of your site so you can use wildcard, thus ensuring that encryption is met. Not sure of the requirements there though.

    Thirdly, every so often my site gets exhausted. I have allocated 64M in .htaccess. I have read about this php.ini file. I don't have one. Can you just create that file yourself? Is going over 64M excessive?

    The more plugins, themes and users you have the more you will need. Ours is set much higher. Some hosting companies won;t allow you to mess with php.ini, you should ask them about this.

    :slight_smile:

  • Fondeli

    Thanks kewalter, that was a great link, reassuring too.

    Wow Tim, some great advice. I am definitely guilty of adding in plugins, then they either don't work, or I don't like them, so I just go ahead and delete them. I must set up a test install for future, and perhaps try one of those database cleaning plugins! :slight_smile:

    Still unsure about what to do about those SSLs. At €350 a pop I definitely can't afford them right now. Though marketpress should have a global shopping cart and check out soon, so that might solve that, though probably should still go for them.

    Ok, so I can go over 64M, that's good to know, I might try bring that up a bit, maybe delete some of the plugins I have and see how I get on.

    Thanks a million!!

  • Timothy Bowers

    You are welcome.

    just go ahead and delete them. I must set up a test install for future, and perhaps try one of those database cleaning plugins! :slight_smile:

    Sandboxes are important play areas for when developing sites.

    Still unsure about what to do about those SSLs.

    Well the SSL wildcard for sub domain will still only help you when your clients are using your sub domains, because the SSL cert would be invalid for their own domain name.

    Perhaps Aaron would know more about this?

    Ok, so I can go over 64M, that's good to know, I might try bring that up a bit, maybe delete some of the plugins I have and see how I get on.

    Some hosts will throw a wobbly if you go to high and start using to much. :wink:

  • Timothy Bowers

    Of course, many would recommend Donncha's Super Cache pluging because its MU compatible:

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-super-cache/

    CDNs are fantastic, but naturally require a larger budget. One of the members on these forums is a CDN provider, he obviously swears by it and I'm sure he will mention all the perks including how Google favour faster loading pages which CDN will serve up (its a metric they use amongst many).

  • wpcdn

    Of course, many would recommend Donncha's Super Cache pluging because its MU compatible:

    It's great in most ways. But the problem is that it doesn't allow sub-site users any control over the caching (unless something has changed in the past month or so since I last looked at it). It's an all-or-nothing solution that is activated sitewide. So, when sub-site admins change themes or do other things, the cache isn't cleared and you might get a lot of support tickets asking about the resulting issues. ("I changed themes but some of my pages still show the old theme," etc.)

    As much as we love Super Cache, we ended up switching to Quick Cache.

    The performance is comparable, but there are a few enhanced multisite features, for example:

    - The cache is cleared any time a sub-site admin changes themes or performs a few other functions.
    - With a simple hack it's possible to add a "Clear Cache" button to each sub-site admin's Dashboard. I don't have that hack in front of me, but I can find it and post it if anyone is interested. It's not an unorthodox hack, it's a feature put there on purpose by the plugin's creator.

    The plugin is still activated sitewide, but this extra control should reduce support issues.

    The downside of the plugin is that its support forum isn't very active, but the author updates the plugin regularly and does generally respond to e-mails about any important issues.

  • wpcdn

    Okay, found it. For those interested in Quick Cache, and who want to add a "Clear Cache" button to sub-site admins, these instructions were provided by the plugin's author:

    Install the latest version of Quick Cache ( v2.3.2+ available at WordPress.org ).
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/quick-cache/

    Then create this directory:
    /wp-content/mu-plugins/

    Create this file:
    /wp-content/mu-plugins/qc-hacks.php

    Inside the file, add this code:

    <?php
    add_filter("ws_plugin__qcache_ms_user_can_see_admin_header_controls", "__return_true");
    ?>

    HTH,

    Mark

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