No frills for a while

If you’re a previous visitor to this site, you’ll probably notice that it looks very different today compared to your last visit. What you see is the look and feel of the default WordPress theme known as Twenty Eleven that’s included with the latest version of the content management system, instead of the customized Thesis theme with colourful banner at the top that has defined the appearance of this site for over four years.

Why the sudden change? Reverting back to default is a start point in troubleshooting an issue that’s been plaguing the site – and me, and maybe you as well – for the past few months. Take a look at this chart:


It shows memory and processor usage over the past month on the virtual private server I use at my hosting service DreamHost. To summarize it all very simply, the red and blue lines constantly spike into areas well outside what I’m allocated to use. This results in frequent site downtime among other things.

That means you get errors when you try to get here. No content. Or, very slow page loading. According to Pingdom which monitors the site for downtime, this site has suffered 14 outages totalling 8 hours 59 minutes and 58 seconds between September 1 and October 2. That’s a full working day when nothing here was accessible by anyone.

And that doesn’t include the frequent outages for just a few minutes which have been happening every single day in recent weeks, especially whenever I publish new content via Windows Live Writer.

I have some helpful suggestions from DreamHost technical support which I’m now going to implement. Part of that is starting by reverting to defaults on most things including the theme. I’ve also deactivated (and will uninstall) nearly all plugins – I had over 40 running.

Probably all a bit much really.

So no frills for a while as I see if DreamHost’s recommendations and my execution of those over time solve the problems.

Of course, if you only read content here via an RSS subscription or other means of remote consumption, you probably won’t notice any difference. But thanks for reading this anyway, published in the interests of timely communication.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Bruno Amaral

    I am willing to bet it’s one or two of the 40 plugins but a mention must be made regarding the fact that Thesis does not function like traditional wordpress themes. The advanced functions it offers may impact server load, although the author mentions how much he works on making it a fast and low memory theme.

    On a different story, taking what I learned from Thesis I have been developing my own wordpress theme framework. It runs on HTML5 and like thesis allows for a whole theme to be changed using two files.

  2. Neville Hobson

    Thanks Bruno. Like you, I reckon it’s one of the plugins. But interesting what you said re Thesis, though. One good reason to revert default WordPress theme : back to basics to aid troubleshooting.

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