Ok.....this weekend I installed a new message board software, a fresh DB to see if the problems with the site would go away. They did not. I had the same issues with this new database...too many connections, time outs, etc. Rather than requesting chat support, I waited the 45 minutes on the phone with Ipower Tech Support. They informed me the load on the site has simply outgrown shared hosting in it's current form.
With the blog's, the message board, the history db, the site is simply generating too many db queries, and not only that being on a shared host, we are sharing the those queries with hundreds of other sites, and the server is bogging down.
I took a little snap shot of the hits the site received from Feb 1st to Feb 28th:
It may not seem like a ton, but because the site is database driven, it is an issue. If this were a site of graphics and such, it wouldn't be an issue.
When the tech guy saw these stats, he said "Sir, to be honest with you, you're getting way too much traffic to be shared hosting this type of site"
Fair enough, but I cannot afford the $49.00/month they want. I found some VPS (Virtual Private Server, one step up from shared, and before dedicated) hosting with a company in Vancouver for $39.99/month Cdn. I have e-mailed them to see if they would be interested in an arrangement to to reduce the cost, i.e. them being a prominent ad prescence on this site. I don't expect to hear anything until mid-week or so.
I was wrong before, the current hosting agreement expires May 6th 2007. We cannot remain at Ipower, it's simply not going to work.
I think a VPS setup may be doable for the future. Quite frankly, for $500.00/year which is what around this will cost barring a deal with the hosting company, I can cover with advertisment income. Of course, right now there is none of that, because all of the ads currently on the site have been paid in full.
So...here we sit.
I am willing to make the jump to a new server. But to get it going, I will need your help. In the future, I hope that all costs will be covered by the ad revenue the site gets. I think that is doable.
Can we raise $500.00 by May? Sooner? As soon as we can, I will make the move.
This will be a huge undertaking. I think there is a good chance the Canucks could be playing hockey in May, and I don't want to have to decide between moving the site or renewing for a term on Ipower during a very heavy traffic time of the year.
I also have ad agreements with current advertisers and the site must remain up for the term of our deal.
Now maybe I am being fleeced here. Told a bunch of b.s. by a tech guy to sell me a vps package. Do I try another host with shared resources? I don't think that's the way to go simply because it's going to be a lot of work to move the site, and if it doesn't solve the issues, then I have to do it all over again.
Therefore, if anyone has any knowledge they can offer, or has a suggestion, please feel free.
I think by the number of visitors, we should be able to raise enough sponsorship money for the site. After year one, I will be responsible for the costs. The site has been here for 10 years, and it's now approaching a new phase. I will be exploring every avenue I can to try and do whats best for the site.
If you have a company and would like the idea of thousands of people seeing your ad here for very affordable rates, let me know as well.
So that's where I am...what do you guys think?