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Sure, you have a nice simple site, you sell a book or a few bottles of vitamins. Nothing big, no monster site that should cost anyone a fortune to host.

But wait.. that site just got turned off? W.T.F.????

These are interesting times for designers. Tools like Wordpress make it much easier to create a relevant site with less effort than ten years ago.

But at what cost? Really? Must EVERY avenue paving the pursuit of simple... bring with it a cost?

Godaddy, 1 on 1, Hostgator and several other hosting firms have now posted “Blacklisted Wordpress Plugins” lists with varying degrees of reprimand. Lists of comments from angry clients are tethered to notices of their crimes committed and usually the site owner had NO IDEA they had done wrong.

Peppered among the other complaints are a number of arbitrary shutdowns. In the case of HostGator also complaints about being forced to buy "SiteLock" as what is described as a punitive measure. 

I would love to say GoDaddy is mean, but the truth is they’re right. Sure a bit too arbitrary for our liking, and I can't say what happened with Hostgator there, but turning off one site with bad or hacked software saves 100s from downtime. 

This Now a "thing" >> Many plugins suck, they really do suck. There, I said it.

A lot of crap is out there, and people are installing it without knowing it's crap. The list grows longer by the week; lists banning plugins that mean well but are either horribly resource inefficient or vulnerable to hacks. Either way the little innocent site becomes a massive risk to all sites on the shared server. Thanks to a counter? A form? Yes, it can be avoided. 

Resource intensive plugins have tick boxes that seem like dandy ideas to have “on” but use over 10 times the resources allocated to the average site. Do you know what you're ticking on and off?

Vulnerable plugins get hacked and are then used to spam.. which also sends resource allocation into a tail spin (nooooo your site probably doesn't need to send 34,000 emails per hour on Viagra).

This is exactly what starts the ball rolling. 

Why can’t sites just have more resources for their hacked or high plugin resource use? Why are resources allocated this way?

The price of the space dictates the resources allocated to it. 

Shared Hosting: Lower allocation. Works for 95% of all sites today. All you have to do is keep it clean. 
Enhanced or Pro hosting: Higher allocation. Better for high traffic, or high resource usage. A busy store for example.
Private Virtual Server: Very high allocation and expandable on the fly. Think successful auction sites for instance. 

But none of these higher resource programs should be the result of using poorly set up or poorly programmed software. That's just not right for you, the site owner. 

I’m going to be painfully clear. Wordpress is the worst offender. Bar none.

But there are ways to avoid having to shell out more funds for higher resources.

  1. Vet your plugins for resource requirements and potential allocation hogging
  2. Vet your plugins for quality of programming and support
  3. When configuring.. pay attention to what the features are. Often they either duplicate what your server is already doing or are simply in orbit with regard to poor programming. 

How can you be responsible for this as a site owner? What can you do? Here's a good start.

  1. Look at banned and blacklisted lists via google. So many lists are out there we don't even need to post one!
  2. Google plugins, looking for clues. "Plugin name you're considering, issues with resources" is a great search
  3. Go to the developer site, find out how old it is. 5 years is a tidy amount of time to be well rounded and reliable.
  4. Check for updates. Has it had any? If none, then this is a bad plugin. No one makes a plugin that's perfect for 5 years.
  5. Check the forums on the Developer site. See any issues there? 

These are just some of the skills we put in place to vet our own software and the very skills YOUR webmaster needs to take seriously in order to earn your trust (and pay). They cover vulnerable hackable software and resource heavy software. 

We're not as arbitrary as GoDaddy; we work with clients. But the inevitable is the inevitable, if nothing gets fixed. 

If there is time, we contact our client. We let them know the situation, we offer to help; even log in and update/configure the software. We outline what must be done if our help is not wanted.

If there is imminent danger, then the site poses a risk to everyone and allows for two choices on our part:

  • We can move the site to a Pro Account and bill accordingly
  • We can turn it off till the developer present and working on it while keeping us apprised.

We call our client first to let them make this choice (and in the case of a hack, higher resources is not really a good one).

Be it a hack or a resource runaway, the onus is always on the site owner to make sure these items are taken care of. A good webmaster already knows this stuff OR is more than willing to learn when the first instance arises. A bad webmaster will become defensive and suggest a move, and as you can see by GoDaddy’s rules.. that move could be right into a more heartless lions den.