Plugins To Blame For Throttling?

My site has been throttling for the past two weeks and Bluehost kept insisting that it is an issue with my plugins or the theme I am using.

I followed their advice and some other people's advice on the web but so far, no solution is in sight.

These are the things I did:

1. Repair database
2. Disabled all plugins
3. Installed WP Super Cache
4. Installed WP Throttle plugin
5. Increase the memory on php.ini and insert "define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M');" into the WP-config.php file

Eventually, when pressed further, Bluehost said that my index.php page is sending to many queries, causing the high cpu usage (even though they cannot explain why it is so now and not previously).

This is Bluehost reply:

".. your user has maxed out the 15 connections but has done so by opening 14 connections to the server and then putting those connections to sleep. This effectively means that your site is opening connections, then telling those connections to wait around for further instructions while simply allowing the connections to linger and do nothing but take up space. This is often the result of a poorly programmed plugin, or a combination of plugins which will somehow result in a failure to properly close opened MySQL connections. A typical MySQL connection will not stay open longer than a fraction of a fraction of second. The fact that you have so many connections being opened and left "sleeping" is indicative of an issue in the site, and is something that you will need to troubleshoot in your code before this issue is likely to be resolved."

(see their screenshots attached)

What shall I do now? My site has been down for 2 weeks and this has been a nightmare for me.

Even though my plugins are disabled, my site is still receiving the Error Establishing a Database notice and it is still throttling. I was told that disabling the plugins doesn't mean the queries stop functioning. So how?

Can you help, please?


  • holland-village-singapore


    Here are the information you asked for:

    These are the plugins on my WP panel (not all the plugins you see on my admin panel are being used. Some are installed pending future activation):

    Status was “Activated” when cpu usage issue came about:

    1. AWPCP - Another Wordpress Classifieds Plugin (Version
    2. Mingle Forum (Version 1.0.33)
    3. WP-Table Reloaded (Version 1.9.3)
    4. Wordpress SEO – YOAST (Version1.1.5)
    5. Google Analytics For Wordpress (Version 4.2.3)
    6. Jetpack by Wordpress (Version 1.2.2)
    7. WPMU DEV Update Notification (Version 2.1.3)
    8. Login logo (Version 0.5)
    9. Post Type Switcher (Version 1.0)
    10. Share This (Version 5.0.0)

    Status was “De-activated” when CPU Usage Came About:

    • AWPCP – Featured Ads Premium Module
    • RSS Digest
    • Snow, Balloons & More
    • Amazon Affiliate Link Localizer (not activated yet)
    • Amazon Link (not activated yet)
    • Redirection

    I also installed WP Super Cache (Version 1.0) and Throttle (Version 1.5) after the issue arose. But it has also been deactivated.

    Everything was working fine until I installed YOAST and updated AWPCP, WP-Table Reloaded and Mingle Forums at the same time (I should have known!).

    If you require further details or need to access my admin or cpanel, please do let me know.

    I really appreciate this very much.

    Thank you.


  • aecnu

    Greetings holland-village-singapore,

    Thank you for being a WPMU Dev member!

    After careful review of your ticket I find the setting of maximum connections seems extremely low (15) which is causing the malfunction or throttling as you described.

    Therefore to reinforce my statement and as proof thereof --> I offer this link to our hosting configuration page and you can clearly see under the Apache settings --> Max Per Connection: 100.

    I shall not go into the reasons of why a host would choose to set these settings so low which is clearly beyond the mandate of this forum, but I think you may now have a clear picture of what a solution would be.

    Thank you again for being a WPMU Dev member!

    If we can be of further assistance please let us know.

    Cheers, Joe :slight_smile:

  • Timothy Bowers

    Bluehost only permit 15 active connections at once?

    You might want to check some of the plugins you are using to ensure they close the connection immediately, once they have finished.

    Your host did give you guidance here:

    A typical MySQL connection will not stay open longer than a fraction of a fraction of second. The fact that you have so many connections being opened and left "sleeping" is indicative of an issue in the site

    Here is a post I made some months ago now:

    That gives some general advice on setups and fore-planning.

    Ultimately if your hosting platform is not cutting it then consider moving providers, getting a VPS or a dedicated server. Something which can handle it.

    You may have posted and I may have missed it, what WordPress version you on?

    Take care.

  • holland-village-singapore

    Thanks Aecnu and Timothy. Apologies for the frustrating words.

    Bluehost is one of Wordpress "recommended" hosting company and I think WP should seriously reconsider endorsing them. Just do a little Google search and you will find loads of CPU usage issue with other Wordpress users.

    I have been with them for 5 years! And I have a few long-term accounts with them. Imagine.. Their intolerance for cpu usage is just as intolerable to me! So, I WILL surely move out asap! They have cost me a great deal this time round. Now my credibility with my new community is badly affected.

    Sorry, I know this is not a complaint forum but I thought you guys need to know as well.

    Thanks for confirming this and thanks for making it clear.

    Now, I want to be sure that I don't end up with another bad host. What do you guys think of (ironic, isn't it but what to do?). It's recommended by YOAST, which I quite admire.

  • Timothy Bowers

    Hey again.

    Just do a little Google search and you will find loads of CPU usage issue with other Wordpress users.

    WordPress is notorious for this, not because of WordPress itself but because of the load put on them, i.e. plugins, themes, customisations. When using those third party extras you can not always guarantee it follows the same standards, does it close connections, is it efficient, etc.

    You will find the same issue with many budget hosts, its not specifically Bluehost. Although I am neither promoting nor defending them you will find issues with just about all cheap hosts especially those offering unlimited space, unlimited data usage because in reality there can be no such thing. Its a sales gimmick. Try uploading a few TB of data or get a popular site. You will soon hit their fair usage policy, some other cap on connections or be turfed off their service for excessive resource usage.

    I honestly couldn't recommend any, but I can recommend you do your research here:

    Its a forum for all things hosting related. :slight_smile:

  • holland-village-singapore


    Thanks, I get the point - nothing cheap is good and nothing good is cheap (that's what my wife always tell me!). She's probably going to say again, "I tell you so!".

    On the Wordpress recommended list, Bluehost comes first, followed by Dreamhost.

    I'd always thought it was better (and certainly much cheaper or so it seemed) to host in the US than in Singapore.. yunno,, tech support, fine equipment, etc. But I might be wrong.

    You don't sleep, do you?


  • Timothy Bowers

    You don't sleep, do you?

    Me... Never ha ha.

    I'm not sure if the list on WordPress is paid for..... It could be sponsored but I might be wrong.

    There isn't anything necessarily wrong with those hosts, its just only so much can be done in those environments. Many of these cheap hosts will bung hundreds and sometimes thousands of hosting accounts on one server. They rely on the vast majority of accounts using little resources and most will only ever be small so they remain happy customers because they never hit the peaks like you have.

    I've had many clients over the years come after having similar issues. The first thing is to look at optimising the use of plugins, themes and then looking at a sustainable environment for growth.

    Take care.

  • holland-village-singapore

    I just received this note in my inbox from Bluehost:

    Your web hosting account for has been deactivated, as of 02/11/2012. (reason: site causing performance problems)

    This deactivation was due to a Terms of Service violation associated with your account. At sign-up, all users state that they have read through, understand, and agree to our terms. These terms are legal and binding.

    Although your web site has been suspended, your data may still be available for up to 15 days from the date of deactivation; if you do not contact us during that 15 day period, your account and all of its files, databases, and emails may be deleted.

    I've learnt from this episode. Lucky thing my site is only 3 months old (but still a lot to lose!). I need to get a new host and move out and cancel my other accounts with them.

    Well, as far as I know almost everyone who visits Singapore says its a nice place, pretty cosmopolitan and everyone can adapt without much effort. Some visitors say the country is like a massive theme park! Haha! Occasionally, the weather can be scorching though - if you're not used to it.

    If you have any suggestion for a good host, do let me know.


  • Timothy Bowers

    I love theme parks so it would be perfect.

    As for Bluehost.... Yeah thats not the first time I've seen such mails sent out. Some will give you pointers and time to fix the issues. Not sure if they tried any of that here.

    As for suggestions. I would be extremely biased in offering services :wink:. With that in mind I'm probably not the best person to ask. I'm sure other users may have their preferences to suggest.

    Take care.

  • Mike Price

    Hey Guys

    I wanted you to know I have an absolutely wonderful host with 24 hour customer service and great servers! Its ! They are based in my homestate of Texas and are super responsive to issues via live chat (24 hours) or phone call!

    They have reasonable rates too. Shared servers are a great price and I had my site on a shared server for over a year. However, since building it out more and building a couple of new projects I decided to move over to my own dedicated server with them. Anyway, I couldn't recommend them more! Hope it works out for you!


  • holland-village-singapore

    Mike - thanks for the suggestion. I've heard of them and did consider them in the past but had chosen Bluehost for some reason which I had forgotten. I don't want to really screw Bluehost because for the most part over 5 years I've had no issue until lately. I guess it all boils down to a great squeeze over there.

    Tim - yes, thanks again for some more insight on hosting environment over there. Hmmm.. Interesting. So, I guess it's an industry "standard". Cheap cheap is no good!

  • Timothy Bowers

    Hey again. :slight_smile:

    I don't want to really screw Bluehost because for the most part over 5 years I've had no issue until lately. I guess it all boils down to a great squeeze over there.

    Its not you screwing them here, they have terminated your site with no time to make preparations to move to another provider or a different solution... Well except for making your data accessible to you. at least 24hrs would have been good right?

    Tim - yes, thanks again for some more insight on hosting environment over there. Hmmm.. Interesting. So, I guess it's an industry "standard". Cheap cheap is no good!

    I suppose it depends on your definition of cheap, because I have had clients have this happen when they've paid a higher premium as well.

    I've even seen it happen with WHM/cPanel reseller accounts where they charge you some $20 to $40 a month.

    In 2001, maybe 2002 before setting up my own company I had a host shut down my account and remove my access so I couldn't even grab a copy of the DB and files. That was when I was little more nieve and didn't have frequent backups. Nightmare!!

    It was after that when I went into dedicated servers and ensuring I have frequent backups to be sure nothing like that would happen again and if it did then it would not take me long to make the appropriate changes to get a new server back up and on line.

    A decent Dedicated server though is not cheap. A VPS is something in between and there are other solutions. Some people recommend cloud hosting which seems to me a bit of gimmicky term but worth researching. You could also look at some kind of CDN hosting for files. But that said your site is fairly new so I presume you don't have high levels of users and traffic? And it didn't look like you had an excessive amount of plugins either?

    In this scenario the issue also seemed to be with DB connections right?

    So you shouldn't really have huge issues at the moment. I suppose in this instance it would be a matter of finding the plugin causing most issues and then taking it from there.

    A WordPress Multisite will open more connections though, as multi sites could have multiple users opening connections.

    Take care.

  • holland-village-singapore

    Tim, I see.

    Yes, it's a connection issue and I dragged on because I didn't know what was happening earlier. I wanted to know for sure before I started hiring some one to clean it up - otherwise it can be a bottomless pit with some of these freelancers out there if I did not specify a clear parameter.

    WP is really great and it has evolved into an entire industry with some sort of sectors. I would like to see where it goes.

    It's really nice to learn some things from people who know the ropes (pros and cons).

    Yeah, I did award points. Didn't you notice?


  • Timothy Bowers

    I've just looked now and see the points, thank you. :slight_smile:

    I tend to check every day or two to see if anyone thanks me. Its much appreciated! :slight_smile:

    I wanted to know for sure before I started hiring some one to clean it up - otherwise it can be a bottomless pit with some of these freelancers out there if I did not specify a clear parameter.

    Yeah I've seen that before as well. Some will milk it as much as possible.

    I was thinking I would look at Yoast because it would be network activated so potentially more queries and WP-Table Reloaded. WP-Table Reloaded allows re-ordering and searching, I wonder how it produces queries as it does that.

    It might be neither though, might be another, might be the collection of plugins all together.

    Take care.

  • holland-village-singapore

    Hey just saw the last post here.

    Just to update..

    I hired a php guy who quoted me a hundred bucks just to identify where the issue is coming from.

    He did a cron job for every minute and also insert a script into the .htaccess file to terminate the queries to try to bypass the issue instead of identifying it. I went along as this could buy me some time to look at the real issue later. But...

    When the hosting company reactivated my account after the coding was done, this was what happened..

    ".. we're seeing a lot of processes spawned from your main site that hare showing large CPU usage..Okay so we're seeing that the server going down is a direct relation to the reactivation of your account [2:48:25 AM] Your account has the most processes on the server, is using the most ram, and has the oldest processes, including many running in excess of 25 minutes, which is about how long you've been up. [2:48:30 AM] Most of the processes are /home4/hollane3/public_html/index.php.
    [2:48:38 AM] In fact, every one of them is..."

    Now my account is freezed again. The php guy said he needed at least $400 just to identify the issue in the scripts (you see what I mean by a bottomless pit?). Alternatively, he suggested I migrate to Hostgator and he will charge $100 for the migration work (another convenient charge, you see?).

    In any case, the Gabfire people told me that the Newspro theme I am using can handle up to 1,500 users, so that is not the cause of the open connections. They recommend that I switch to cloud hosting at

    I just chat and I think I might just do that. It's a mere $20 a month for 25,000 visitors. You don't get billed upfront an entire lump sum. You pay monthly and you can terminate anytime. Also, they have a cpanel, which is great.

    I think I will do the next step and let you guys know later.

  • Timothy Bowers

    This PHP guys sounds a little dodgy, if he he said $100 then it shouldn't change because he couldn't figure it out. Or was it just an estimate?

    Not sure what you mean about the theme though? The theme shouldn't limit how many people use your site?

    So on the VPS they limit you to X amount of visiters? Is that hits? Uniques? Sounds like a vague maximum range.....

    Let us know how you get on with that VPS.

    Take care.

Thank NAME, for their help.

Let NAME know exactly why they deserved these points.

Gift a custom amount of points.