In this article, I’ll discuss why inefficient coding of your website could lead to problems with the level of your account’s resource usage.
What is inefficient code?
One of the best ways to think of computer code is as a set of instructions, or even a recipe, to get to the expected end result again and again. That’s why computers are great at repetitive tasks, because they can be given instructions to do a certain task, and then they will follow those steps exactly over and over again.
The set of instructions the computer is going to follow is provided by a human, and typically for web hosting, it will be in a scripting language such as PHP. There are many ways to end up at the same result when coding, and just because you end up with the correct result, doesn’t mean it was the most efficient way of getting there.
For instance with most dynamic CMS (Content Management Systems) like WordPress, they are going to have a database back-end where information is stored. Then each time a visitor comes to the site, the PHP scripts interact with the database to retrieve that information. In this case WordPress builds up an HTML page to hand off to a web-browser each time one is requested.
Now if don’t get very much traffic at all, or you’re on a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or dedicated server, the default way that WordPress or another CMS like it operates might be efficient enough. However if you’re on shared hosting, and you get a decent amount of traffic, continually regenerating the same HTML page again and again for each visitor’s request can be very inefficient.
Resolving inefficient code
If you’re using a popular CMS like WordPress you can typically use a caching plugin to reduce the resource usage required from having to regenerate the same content over and over again. For more advanced WordPress users your could read about optimizing WordPress with W3 Total Cache plugin or for basic WordPress users about optimizing WordPress with WP Super Cache plugin.
You typically would also want to look at reducing the amount of active extensions, modules, or plugins that you have active. Certain plugins can be known to be more resource intensive than others due to the way they are coded.
If your website is custom coded and isn’t using a CMS or other type of back-end, you’d want to make sure that your scripts can run in a timely manner, typically under 1 second execution time each. The more you attempt to do in each script, the more potential it has for causing a large amount of resource usage. So if you have a script that does a whole lot, you typically wouldn’t want that to be one of your scripts that is accessed very frequently such as your front page.
A script with inefficient code in it could eventually lead to an account suspension in extreme cases, especially if there are bots or a large volume of people accessing it. So ensuring that your scripts are coded as efficiently as possible can help safeguard you from this.