I’m having issues with my web host. But, it’s probably my fault…
I started shooting with models in October 2017. When I started, I was just shooting with them once or twice a month. I’d upload a zip file to cloud storage, like Dropbox or Google Drive, have the model download it, and send me back a list of the photos s/he wanted me to edit. That worked fine for a while, even after I started using continuous (burst) mode on my camera while shooting, and even though it increased the number of photos I took during a photo shoot substantially. Plus, I don’t want to give the model all the photos, even if they are not edited. But there was a problem with this workflow. Models were taking a long time to send me back the list of photos they wanted edited, and some just never did (so I picked the ones I thought were best).
I got tired of waiting for models to select photos, so I looked for a better way. I installed a photo gallery plugin called Sunshine. While it has a lot of functionality I didn’t necessarily need, it included proofing galleries. It doesn’t play nice with the Jetpack plugin’s image settings, especially the one that allows Jetpack to serve photos from its servers. It works OK, but I didn’t like its lack of compatibility with Jetpack, so I tried the ever popular NextGen Photo Gallery plugin. I paid to get the features I needed, but I didn’t care for it. Right now I’m trying picu. I may give Sunshine and/or NextGen another try once I resolve these issues, but I kind of like picu so far, even if it doesn’t use my website’s user interface (biggest negative).
Regardless of which plugin I’m using, they allow me to create a gallery for each set we shot. After I set it up, I notify the model with a link and a password (with picu I can notify the model right from the plugin), and s/he can look at each photos, click the photos s/he likes and leave comments too. The model then notifies me when s/he had finished selecting photos (picu automatically notifies me when the model is done selecting photos). Then I review which photos s/he selected and start editing. Sure, I still have to wait on the model to select photos, but I eliminate the step in which the model has to send me a list of photos s/he wants edited, which I thought might speed things up a bit. Seems like a good workflow. And it is.
My hosting issues started when I started using proofing galleries…
I’ve hosted my websites with Hostgator for several years; I still have one there. Never had any problems, even though I uploaded photos that were not optimized for the internet. I have a few articles with lots of photos, and some portfolio galleries with lots of photos. Never had a problem with pages and images loading… until I started using proofing galleries. Hostgator started limiting CPU processes and loads on my website. Now images weren’t loading, page load speed slowed considerably, even to the point of experiencing 500 errors. This is clearly not acceptable. So I changed hosts. I did a fair amount of research and I chose TMDHosting. Got a great monthly price for hosting in exchange for paying for three years of hosting up front. The thing is, I’m still having the same problems, except for the 500 errors. I guess I need to do something different, or switch to a non-shared server.
So, the first thing to try is to take the extra step to create internet optimized photos. My camera saves photos at 300 ppi (or dpi), which is standard for print. If I only edit with Adobe Lightroom, I usually save photos at 240 ppi/dpi. When I’m editing in Adobe Photoshop, I save the photos at 300 ppi/dpi. I know that’s overkill for the internet, but to also save photos at 72 ppi/dpi, which is standard for the internet, it’s an extra step in my workflow. Sure, it only takes an extra minute to save the photos a second time, those minutes add up when I have a lot of photos to edit. But, I’m going to try it and see if it fixes my problems with CPU processes and load maxing out when loading pages with more than a couple of photos on them.
So I’m in the process of re-editing and optimizing some photos for the web, and see what happens.
If that doesn’t work, then I’ll have to switch to a dedicated VPS, which is much more expensive than the shared hosting plan I’m on now.
More to come…
I’m still having issues… I reduced file sizes for all photos I’m using in posts to less than 1 Mb each. There may be a couple that are slightly larger than 1 Mb in size. Having done that, my pages and images should be loading faster. They aren’t. Not only that, sometimes they don’t load, and, at times, it takes forever to build a page. Sometimes while building a page I run into 508 errors. This is clearly not going to work. Time to get off shared hosting and upgrade to a virtual private server.
I bit the bullet and purchased a virtual private server package. My domain propagated to the new server sometime late yesterday. My site is back to normal… pages are loading faster, images are loading, no more 500 errors, etc. All is right with the world again… finally.