Expecting increased web traffic

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Overview

If you're expecting a significant increase in web traffic, you probably have a few questions on how to optimize your website to achieve optimal performance. The following provides answers to some of these questions.

You might also want to send a message to support and let them know that you expect increased web traffic so they can keep an eye on it.

Steps to take to avoid overloading the server

Keep your software up to date

Make sure that your applications are up to date. For example, if you’re running a WordPress site, make sure the following are updated:

  • WordPress version
  • Plugin versions
  • Theme version

If you are using a DreamHost One-Click Install, you can update the software version in the panel. Visit the following article for further details:

Enable caching

If your site provides dynamic content or is database driven (i.e., WordPress, Joomla, ZenCart, MediaWiki, phpBB, WebCalendar, and so on), you may want to enable some form of "caching" or "acceleration" if your application supports it. See that particular application's support page for further details and suggestions. And if you’re running a WordPress site, you can also check the following article:

You can also use a CDN such as CloudFlare to help reduce your usage.

Database optimization

To clean up and optimize your databases, visit the following article for further details:

Disable unused software

Disable unnecessary, unreliable, or resource intensive plug-ins if possible. If you’re running a WordPress site, disable any unused themes, plugins, or extra WordPress installations. Visit the following article for further details:

Prevent Spam

If your site allows visitors to leave comments, please make sure you're using some type of plugin to prevent comment.

Secure contact forms

Make sure that your "contact us" form scripts are not vulnerable to abuse by spammers (e.g., form spam).

Optimize media files

You may want to replace large graphics, files, movies, and so on with lower resolution (smaller) versions temporarily.

Convert dynamic content to static content

If you can convert dynamic pages to static pages, that would help tremendously (but it may be difficult to do). Some caching tools, such as wp-super-cache, include the ability to do this using the plugin.

Keep track of your CPU minutes

Visit the CPU minutes article for details.

Throttling/Disabling

If for whatever reason your sites increased traffic causes problems for the server, it may be necessary for support to "throttle" your site (restricting the number of simultaneous visitors or maximum throughput, or the like) or possibly even disable it. This is done in fairness to the other customers on your server.

Note2 icon.png Note: Remember that you're on a shared hosting plan and one customer cannot jeopardize the operation of the server for all of the other customers. DreamHost support offers optimization suggestions to help your site remain up and running, however it’s ultimately your responsibility to make sure your site does not negatively affect other users.


If it is necessary to throttle your site for some reason, support will contact the owner of the account with the details. If there is a problem with your site that you can resolve, make sure to notify support with details of what you did to fix the problem. Then, support may remove the throttle in place.

Upgrade Options

If it’s not possible to optimize your site any further, it may be necessary to upgrade your hosting plan to a VPS (Virtual Private Server). This is an add-on to your existing shared hosting plan which gives you your own ‘virtual machine’. The VPS plan allows you to allocate the amount of RAM necessary to run your site. You also have root/sudo access to the server allowing you to optimize the server environment as well. Even in the case of a spike in traffic, your site will not affect other users on the server.

Visit the following articles for further information:

See also