GoDaddy Enhancements?

Long-term SMUGgles will know that in early January I made the switch from hosting this august university on, to a self-hosted wordpress platform using GoDaddy as the provider.

I still plan to do some posts on that process, which was fairly straightforward and has some signficant advantages, not least of which is the little ShareThis button I have at the bottom of each post, which makes it much easier to pass them along.

One problem I’ve experienced lately, though, has been a slowdown in site performance. On Saturday morning at 9:49 CST, for instance, I tried to access the SMUG dashboard, and I got the following message (click to enlarge):


Saturday mornings are the least busy time of the week for Web server traffic. But at 10:32 I got this message:


Followed by this at 10:43


And this at 10:57


Is it just me, or do you see a pattern, too?


One of my pet peeves when traveling is when, after a long delay, the flight attendant or the captain comes on the intercom and says, “Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for our patience….”

How do they know we’re being patient? Is it just because we haven’t ransacked the cabin? Patience is a virtue, fruit of the Spirit in Biblical reckoning, and I’m trying to cultivate it, but too often when I’m being thanked for patience I’m not feeling it. In fact, being thanked for patience sounds to me more like presumption.


So, as your Chancellor I won’t thank you for your patience in continuing your studies even though SMUG has sometimes been slow.

I am, however, inviting you to join me in a research project to diagnose and hopefully fix the problem.

Part of the problem might be that I’m using the Shared Hosting plan with GoDaddy, instead of a dedicated server. Maybe another blog on my server is getting a lot of hits and slowing the performance.

But I’m using the Deluxe plan, which allows the following:


With 1,500 GB of monthly transfer available for my account, I would think the server should be more responsive. After all, I believe 1,500 GB would be enough bandwidth to download every post I’ve written (and every file I’ve uploaded) something like 37,000 times. I know some new SMUGgles have really been diving in, but we only have 274 in our Facebook group, 923 Twitter followers and a little over 300 RSS subscribers.

So somehow I don’t think SMUG is what’s swamping the servers. I also don’t believe I’m running any plug-ins that would be likely to cause the slowdown, although that’s certainly possible. But one of the plug-ins I had installed was an HTML cache that should have actually speeded up the loading.

I want to get to the cause of the problem, so I can solve it to provide a good experience here for SMUGgles, and also to help you – if you move to a self-hosted WordPress blog – to avoid slow page loads for your users.

My hypothesis is that the GoDaddy server isn’t delivering, because while I just loaded this page (where you can buy GoDaddy services) in 6 seconds, the front page of SMUG took 25 seconds (although I just tried it again and it was 8 seconds.)

So I’m inviting you to help me diagnose the extent of the problem. 

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

  1. Have a clock ready that enables you to measure time in seconds
  2. Click this link to open the SMUG front page in a new window, and note how long it takes to load.
  3. Leave your measurement in the comments on this post, or if you are on Twitter, send your measurement as a tweet with the hashtag #smugtime. Please also indicate what kind of Internet service you have (i.e. DSL, dial-up, cable modem, T1) Your comment on this post could just say, for instance, “12 seconds DSL” or your tweet would say something like:

Helping @LeeAase diagnose server issues. #smugtime = 8 seconds cable modem.

Either way, I will get time stamped measures for what users are experiencing (in addition to my snapshots from last Saturday) to help me determine the extent (and hopefully the cause) of the slowdown.

Thanks for reading this far (note that I’m inferring, not presuming!), and please help in this project if you can by taking a few measurements at various times of the day.

I will update this post as I learn more.

RAQ: Adding a Photo to a WordPress Post

Julie asks:

What is the best way to post a photo on a blog? A photo that I tried to cut and paste from a Word document didn’t take. Please let me know when you have a chance.

Here’s the answer:

Continue reading “RAQ: Adding a Photo to a WordPress Post”

Blogging 123: Customizing Your WordPress Profile

When you create your username in WordPress or, it has to be all lowercase letters (or numbers) with no spaces. That doesn’t look very professional when you username is associated with a post or a comment on your blog or someone else’s. 

Fortunately, you can customize how you want your name to appear on WordPress (or blogs, and the screencast below shows you how. It also shows you the process for uploading a photo (or Gravatar) to also be connected to your WordPress comments (or posts, if your WordPress theme includes Gravatars on posts.)

There are several other customization options to which I briefly allude in this screencast, but the two I’ve listed are the most important, in my opinion.

Update: You can view the screencast in the SMUG group in Facebook.

Blogging 352: Adding an Email Subscription Form to Your Blog

Here’s an RAQ from Katie M:

I am currently using for a few blogs. I am setting up for some doctors and another blog for another pilot program … so doctors can learn from each other…I am wanting to have the similar option that you have for subscribing, that is via e-mail. How do I go about doing this?

The answer is pretty straightforward.

I recommend that you use Feedburner to replace your blog’s RSS feed with one that gives you more features, particularly better tracking. Feedburner is free, and among its built-in benefits is the ability to let your readers subscribe by email.

Here’s how you can add a subscription form to a sidebar widget on your blog, assuming you have set up a Feedburner account and “burned” your feed.

Continue reading “Blogging 352: Adding an Email Subscription Form to Your Blog”

Self-Hosted WordPress Advantage: Part I

This evening as I left work I flipped the switch on my Domain Name Server to direct the SMUG domain to this self-hosted WordPress installation. Within about an hour it seems the traffic was being directed appropriately, as you see in the comments on the post below.

I had several reasons for making the change, and in addition to doing 300-level courses in the Blogging curriculum based on my experience in migrating to self-hosted WordPress, I’m going to plan to highlight some of those advantages I was pursuing.

One downside of is that it strips out all javascript, so I was limited in the kinds of widgets I could embed in the sidebar or within posts. So while I could include a single YouTube video (as in this Twitter 103 course), I couldn’t embed a playlist like the one below, which features several videos of Mayo Clinic patients and their families sharing their stories:

There’s no way to do that with! Pretty cool, huh?