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  1. #1
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    What are all of the reasons for a website fluctuating load times and response times all over the place (really low to really high)?

    I'm working on a client's website which is running very slow at times, then others very fast. I rebuilt their website from a straight html website into a Wordpress website, and I'm pretty sure it's been doing this before I ever installed Wordpress. I remember the first time I went to it it was running slow and thought it was just a blip in my own internet connection. Also, I still have their old website in another directory and it still loads slowly at times. Oh and it's a very small website with a few pages and a few pictures. The new wordpress site is much larger, but had been running slow from the start. The backend of the wordpress was running slow while building it as well.

    I asked the hosting provider and they said they did not see anything to cause it, nor know what would be causing it. They recommended to ping the site for awhile to check response times. I did for 4 days and they were all over the place from really fast to really slow, and seemed to fluctuate more on a curve than spuraticly (slowing increasing or slowly decreasing as opposed to jumping). I called them again and told them this, and they said I could try submitting a request to switch servers (which was my initial thoughts thinking another website on the shared hosting is taking up a ton of bandwidth??), but that was the only thing they could do on their end and not guaranteed they would honor a switch.

    They're using Inmotion hosting, which I've never used before and heard nothing about them.

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Heard of them, but I don't know anything about them...never used them. On the surface, something isn't right, though. Why would they tell you to switch servers unless they suspected something was going on with the one you're on?

    Here's what I would do...create a static HTML page with very little on it...no graphics, just some text. The next time the site loads slowly, call up that specific page. If it's only got text, it should come up quickly...if it comes up slowly, you've either got a hosting issue or possibly a connectivity issue (meaning one of the hops between your computer and the host is causing a problem). If you happen to have remote access to other computers, do the same test with the simple HTML page. If it's slow on all, it's a hosting issue.
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  4. #3
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    @TheGAME1264,

    They did not tell me to switch servers, they said the only thing they could still do is try to switch servers (which like I said, they might not honor a switch, the guy on the phone said I could submit a request, but they might not honor it whoever makes those decisions).

    I will try putting up a text only html site next time it runs really slowly. That's a good idea to eliminate anything else that might be present even in their old dinky website code.

    As for connection, it's not just my connection. I thought it was at first, but then the client asked me why it was slow and I checked on other connections and it was sometimes slow there too. It's weird because it seemed to have been going really slow for about a week, when they asked me, but all other weeks for me it's more like 20-40% slow, 10% crawling or nearly stopped slow, and the rest of the time fast. Right now and the last few times I checked it's super fast, but the ping results show throughout the day it fluctuates heavily and randomly.

    I'm pretty convinced it's a hosting issue because I've never really encountered this before (one time many years ago someone else had a problem like this and I heard someone suggest they switch servers and it worked. They claimed if you have shared hosting and reside with a website with high bandwidth,they can hog all of it and slow you down.)

  5. #4
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    oh, and I may have influenced the guy's suggest for a switch servers, I probably mentioned that at some time or asked him if that would make any difference or something along those lines. I forget, but I'm pretty sure he didn't just flat out make that suggestion out of the blue.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    Ping gives you an aggregate response time and is only usefu for connectivity
    If you use a tracert ( trace route ), it will give you response times for each node of the connection, it will also show you the path.

    Also find a couple of web services that offer tracert ... If you notice a slowdown , run a tracert from as many different locations as you can to pinpoint the location of the slowness

    A typical tracert from a US BASED location to a US BASED hosting provider should not be more than 15-17 hops, with response times between 10ms and 90ms

    If you're seeing response times for any specific connection exceeding 150ms that is your problem.

    Since testing it from different locations will yield different routes ( except for the last few hops), concentrate on the last 3-5 hops, those are usually associated with the hosting provider or at least the network supplier of the hosting provider.

    The problem with asking hosting support is they are looking at the servers, not the network connections leading into the servers. A lot of times they can have corrupt router tables and or bad routes in their infrastructure and not ven know it until they get enough complaints. Many times their knowledge of their network is if the light on their router is on... In which case their network provider is having issues and may be trying to resolve them without even telling their end users.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    If you notice a slowdown while doing tracert, do screen captures and forward them to your hosting provider ... Since they are sitting on their network... Many of the hosting support people you talk with wont have a clue what to tell you, but they should know who to forward them to to get it fixed.

  8. #7
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    great, thank you so much for a well thought out and easy to understand response @webzarus!

    I found a good traceroute source and there's about 13 hops and only the last 3 come up longer than the rest, but only at 5-12ms so all seems good. But right now the website is running very fast, will it matter to retry when it's slow?

    I keep going back to the website all day long and now I can't seem to land a time when it's slow to test things! lol I guess it's good that it's fast, but I'd rather figure this out.

    Thanks for the help so far, all comments are helpful!

  9. #8
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Yes, you'll definitely want to retry that when it's slow. The tracert is a good suggestion, and it's one you can apply to checking from remote locations. Take a laptop to a Starbucks or a library, try it there. Maybe go to a friend's house. A hotel lobby with open wi-fi. Ideally, you'll be able to get access to these machines remotely (Remote Desktop Connection or TeamViewer can come in really handy here).

    If getting access to a remote location is a problem, then the next time your site's running slowly post the URL for it here. Normally we don't allow link drops, but this clearly isn't one since I asked you to do it and since you're obviously not plugging the site.

    You'll want to put up the text file now while it's running fast. If it's running slow, you might not be able to connect properly to FTP the file to the server, so you need it sitting there just in case.

    The other thing you can do with a tracert is save it to text. tracert (your domain or IP) > C:\results.txt will create a results.txt file on your C drive that you can attach without having to go the screen capture route. Hosts as a general rule of thumb tend to prefer raw text over pictures, as I've often seen them post entire contents of logs in live chats (nothing like seeing 100 lines of random raw text hit you during a live chat, I tellsya.)

    The good news for you is that WZ has seen this thread. Dude's got mad knowledge (more than I have) and between him and to a lesser extent myself, we can probably figure it out if it's meant to be figured out. Best part is he'll let me take the credit.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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  10. #9
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    After a week or so waiting for the site to be slow again, checking multiple times per day, it looks like it is always fast now. Either the hosting did something after I called them, it was a fluke slowness, another site on the server isn't hogging bandwidth anymore, or I just happen to only be checking it when it's fast. Is there a website or remote service which checks it throughout the day for load time and notify you when it's slow?

    For now, I just told the client that it seems very fast now and if it slows down again, to let me know and I will look into it again. I'm glad it's being very fast now because it shows that it's very likely it's nothing to do with my design or Wordpress, otherwise it should still be slow regardless of the server. I'm seeing a fast website, my client is seeing a fast website, and I've seen it fast on other internet connections as well.

  11. #10
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    www.pingdom.com does that.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)


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