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Overloading server on open day

Posted: January 28, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Evan McWhirter

January 28, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Everything was going amazing (loving Event Espresso), then 10 minutes before our events were supposed to Open the server crashed. We had 9 events due to open, with an estimated 4-500 (we were told later it was actually 1100) people waiting to hit Refresh at 7am.

To cut a long story short, after 12 hours of emails and investigation our developer can’t pin point the problem, the web hosts are saying it MUST be something with E.E. They said “I stand by my statement that we have seen the web site running happily with the word press site, it’s only until the EE component or something else has been added that issues have started with server loads and the choking of the Apache server”

This is an enormous problem for us and we need help urgently as we have hunderds of angry customers clogging up the inbox and phone lines. Please say you can help were desperate



January 29, 2013 at 2:16 am

Hi Terri,

Wow sorry to hear that you are having trouble. It sounds to me that the hosting is struggling to cope with a spike in traffic (as you say 1000 people trying to click all at once.)

You are on shared hosting (your server hosts roughly 120 other sites) so the performance from such servers tends to be less than a dedicated or VPS server.

I am not entirely sure what we can do to assist in this matter, as though the host says the site ran happily before Event Espresso I don’t think the site had a spike of 1000 visitors during that time to test the servers load capability.

Has the host upped the memory allocation to the site? What about the CPU resources? How many concurrent MYSQL connections can it have? Upping any/all of these will give the site a performance boost, though I doubt they will, more likely they will look to sell a dedicated or VPS server which isnt a bad thing as they are better.

From the site point of view, are you running any form of caching? (note certain pages of event espresso cannot be cached otherwise the plugin will not function correctly). Have you considered a CDN to help with image loads?

I really hope that you get the site back up and running but I think you need to look at the server setup and caching in order to do so.

Evan McWhirter

January 29, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Hi Dean, thanks so much for the reply.
Would it be possible for someone to get on to our site and have a look to see if they can see what’s going on?
Our developer replied to your questions with this:
The host can’t up the resources to our site as its on shared hosting. Like the guy here, and me, suggested a VPS would be better, but how much better, not sure.
We didn’t have any caching set up – didn’t know we needed it at this stage, and didn’t have time. CDN would help with reducing load on the server, again didn’t know we needed it till now

So thats what we have. We have rescheduled our registrations opening for 6 days from now so are really on a tight deadline.


January 29, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Hi Evan,

Yeah I cant tell you how much better a VPS would be either, but a server that is more dedicated to your site will always be an improvement.

Caching and CDN’s aren’t necessary but in general for any site they are useful and here it seems could be very important.

Feel free to send your login details and I can have a quick look to see if there is anything obvious here. If we need to do work though we would ask you to buy a priority support token.

Please send login details via

NOTE: login details need to be Admin level.

Evan McWhirter

January 30, 2013 at 12:33 am

Hi Dean

I have sent the login details through that link, please just let me know if there’s anything that needs done and I’ll talk to the other half see what we want do. Thank you so much.



January 30, 2013 at 12:45 am

Hi Evan,

Your login link is routing me back to the home page of the site so its impossible for me to log in. Is there a plugin active that routes users away from the standard login? Is there an alternative login screen?

Also, judging from the number of images loading up I would definitely look into caching and cdn.

Evan McWhirter

January 30, 2013 at 1:02 am

Sorry, Dean
Is that better?


January 30, 2013 at 2:07 am

Hi Evan,

Sorry for the delay in responding. Unfortunately no, I am still unable to get access to the login screen.

Evan McWhirter

January 30, 2013 at 2:21 am developer said to try that link. Sorry about all this hassle


January 30, 2013 at 2:42 am


Im in thanks, I should of thought of that wp-login, I must be too used to going to wp-admin!

Minor notes, turn off the EE Requirements Check and WP Importer plugins if not in use.

Your MySQL is also older than the current version, updating it may help.

I had a look from an EE perspective but there is nothing really out of the ordinary.

My gut feeling here is pretty much as mentioned, try and cache what you can (not the event espresso pages especially not the transaction, thankyou pages), other than that it is a server issue.

You may want to speak to a server manager at the host to figure out what is the best step to take as the shared hosting you are on obviously cannot handle a thousand concurrent connections without breaking.

Evan McWhirter

January 30, 2013 at 2:49 am

Thanks so much for doing that. Have forwarded the information on to both our developer and our host.
Really want to stick with EE so hopefully we can get some more testing done and try to sort something out with this server deal before tuesday.
Thanks again for all your time Dean.


January 30, 2013 at 2:51 am

No problem, let me know how things go.

Seth Shoultes

  • Support Staff

January 30, 2013 at 7:11 am

Evan I don’t think it is going to matter if you are running Event Espresso, or not, as long as you’re on a shared hosting server. These types of traffic spikes will take down most shared servers. As Dean pointed out, it is highly recommended that you upgrade to a VPS, or dedicated server ASAP. I highly recommend Hostgator dedicated or VPS hosting, based on their pricing and support.

Chris Reynolds

  • Support Staff

January 30, 2013 at 9:36 am

I would add to Seth’s recommendation that if you do go with Hostgator VPS, you need to get a Level 3 VPS or higher before they will provide cPanel access or extensive support to help you with your issues. I’ve got a Level 1 VPS with a client I’m working with now and they can only provide very limited support — it’s mostly for experienced sysadmins/webmasters.

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