Server advice needed: multisite/buddypress

I keep getting out of memory errors on my Multisite/buddypress installation. I've worked with my host, but they are constantly asking me to upgrade and for more money. I'm currently paying $100 a month for their version of an 9 node VPS. - I'm not at the point financially that I'm able to upgrade to their recommend $150 a month dedicated server.

It seems like a lot of power to me but I'm not being told that I should transition the site to dedicated server because my database in nearing 2000 tables and the (it's actually at about 1600 right now) and that wordpress multi with my plugins and caching is pretty resources intensive.

My network is up to about 140 subsites and about 380 members. Not all the sites are active, but they contribute to the size of the database. I keep the database optimized and cleaned up by deleting spam sites regularly.

Does this sound right to the rest of you guys, what kind of performance should I be getting out of a VPS. Can VPS handle a multisite of this size?

I really need advice on this, am getting taken by my hosting company?

  • Timothy Bowers

    Hey there.

    It's hard to advise because I don't know all the ins and outs of your setup, i.e. WP.

    To give you an idea though, our EduBlogs runs on 5 dedicated servers, 2 are MySQL and 3 are file based. That powers approx. 1.5 million websites in a multisite installation.

    I'm sure you know all the optimisation thing, but you could look at plugins and themes to reduce memory.

    To deal with memory errors the quickest solution is more memory.

    Are you happy with the host? If so then maybe paying more is ok?

    If not then shop around, look at some managed servers, or some CDN type solution to help the load.

    Prices for a dedicated server vary but for around $100 to $120 per month you could something in the region of 8gb ram, Intel Quad Core 2.4, 5 TB of bandwidth, 2 500GB HDs. Some will include basic server management and some charge a ton for it.

    You may find much better/cheaper and also much more expensive.

    Take care.

  • Gabe

    If it's feasible for you, I totally recommend going with WP Engine ( Not only does WPMU DEV recommend them, but I've been a happy customer for about a year. Their scalability will take care of your issues and you never have to worry about managing a dedicated server. WP Engine is a bit pricey, but it's worth it. IF you're network is under 100,000 visitors/mo. you'd fit the $99/mo plan, which is in your price range. Alternatives to WP Engine are WebSynthesis by Copyblogger, and ZippyKid, though I haven't use any of them. WebSynthesis has 20% off deals every now and then and reasonable prices, not sure about the others.

  • Saunt Valerian

    This is all good advice. I spent a long time this week scouring the WP engine website for information. For the price I'm paying now, I could transfer my entire network to them and take advantage of their knowledge about wordpress (my host's techs are good, but seem to have few answers about wordpress) and their finely tuned infrastructure.

    I have yet to see any disadvantage about making a move and the more familiar I become with them, the more I like them. It's just that a move itself is so troublesome, especially in our case where we have at least a dozen subsites that use mapped domains. It was only six months ago that I struggled through my last server move worked hard to get those members' DNS records updated to point to the new server. Going through all those different registrars is horrible (plus I've heard that GoDaddy now charges for DNS record changes - I'm going to have to eat that cost since I can't expect my members to pay it).

    Despite the horrendous pain of moving servers, I do think I'm going to give WP engine a call next week and just chat with their sales people about it. Chances are they are going to be very convincing and make me want to give them my money...

  • Gabe

    Saunt, definitely consider WP Engine. You never realize how beneficial 'Fully Managed WordPress Hosting' is until you experience it. It's quite liberating not to have to worry about managing a server or some other stuff. You lose a bit of control in terms of needing them to set some things up for you (i.e. CDNs, though I hear they're working on pushing that down to users), but they're pretty quick about it. Their knowledge is top notch and it's a huge help, especially if you don't have dedicated staff. They have a 60-day money back guarantee, so it's definitely worth checking out.

    Like I said, I haven't checked out the other WordPress hosting companies so I can't comment on them. Though WP Engine is more expensive, it's worth paying for the quality; it's not something you want to compromise on. It's like using WPMU Dev vs. plugins in the repository, I'd much rather pay extra to work with people who know what they're doing and are dedicated to supporting my projects. Hope this helps.