Welcome back to the second half of our fantastic two-part article on how to diagnose and repair website slowness with the help of a managed monitoring system. Last time talked about the importance of a snappy website and the difficulty in speeding up the website without clues. Let’s pick back up at clue gathering.
Troubleshooting with Server Monitoring
Server monitoring is a simple phrase with a big list of applications. There are all sorts of reasons to implement server monitoring from testing your own hand-written programs to watching for malware activity. The reason it’s so diversely useful is because with server monitoring, you can watch absolutely everything about the state of your server and what it’s up to. At the most basic level, it can tell you the temperature of the CPU and going over about 85 F on a regular basis can definitely slow you down (that’s what the cleaning was for).
Beyond that, server monitoring will track things like your CPU, memory, and disk usage which are all ways to tell how many resources are available to run your website and deliver it to viewers. CPU percentage indicates how many tasks your server can do at once, memory or “RAM” is like your computer’s immediate thinking power, and Disk usage will show you how full your hard drive is (if it’s full, things stop working). If any of these seem overtaxed or approach capacity during high-traffic times, your website is likely to slow down for all users as the server struggles to serve the data they’re requesting. Server monitoring not only shows you these stats, it can keep an eye on them as your traffic fluctuates and send you an alert if any go over a designated percentage.
Tracking Your Processes
With the basics covered, server monitoring can also take an in-depth look at the processes your server is running. If you want your website to have access to 100% of the server’s resources (you do), then it’s best to remove all unnecessary programs from the computer and stop all extraneous processes. Server monitoring can show you which processes you’re running and how much of your computer’s resources they’re eating with each cycle. Not only can you discover unnecessary resource-hungry processes you can close, it may also reveal certain processes from your site that might be consuming more than their fair share of resources. This could be a clue that it’s time to update your plugins or remove features you don’t need anymore.
Identifying Bandwidth Problems
There’s also the possibility that your sluggish website is a symptom of your bandwidth rather than the performance of the server itself. With a little monitoring, if you determine that there are more than enough resources and the server is plenty responsive with non-network tasks, the issue may lie with your internet provider, cables, or network configuration instead. First, check your network settings to be sure you’re not artificially bottle-necking yourself by accident. If that’s not the case and your server is a local machine, ISPs have been known to throttle bandwidth of high-demand users, like those hosting a popular website, and you may need to buy a larger monthly package. For a cloud-hosted server, talk to your hosting provider about how you can increase your allotment of bandwidth, which will probably also result in buying a larger monthly package.
Server Monitoring as a Service
Finally, server monitoring is a wonderful tool, or rather set of tools, that allows you to keep an incredibly detailed eye on the performance of your website and the server it runs on, but it’s also incredibly complex. If you’re not personally excited by the idea of constantly checking on your computer’s temperature, resource usage, and networking speed but still want to keep your website optimized, consider hiring a professional service to monitor your server for you. They will help you determine where to set up alert points (ex: when the computer heats up over 90 F or uses over 80% of its resources) and can even help you optimize for better performance based on the information the monitoring provides.
No matter what kind of website you’re running or how many users you handle every day, you deserve the snappy page loading that only a well-optimized server can bring. With server monitoring and professional IT support, you should be able to quickly troubleshoot whether your sluggish page load is due to heat, unnecessary processes, or old platform plugins that could be updated and replaced. Whatever the cause, server monitoring will help you identify, optimize, and get your site up to speed in no time. For more great website and managed IT tips, contact us today!