News Ticker

BBH Feature: What to Do When Your Shared Hosting WordPress Site Goes Down

what to do when your wordpress website on a shared host is down

One Thing You Can Do When Your Website Goes Down

Having a website is great – until your site goes down!

There are many reasons your website could go down, so I can’t go into all of them.

Instead I want to focus this post on one main reason: What do you do when your shared hosting WordPress website goes down, because your site is consuming too much CPU space?

I’ll explain how to fix this problem in just a minute, but I first want to tell you a story…

The Wealthy Illiterate Church Janitor

I came across a story that Somerset Maugham, the English writer, once wrote about a janitor at St Peter’s Church in London.

One day a young vicar discovered that the janitor was illiterate and fired him.

Jobless, the man invested his meager savings in a tiny tobacco shop, where he prospered, bought another, expanded, and ended up with a chain of tobacco stores worth several hundred thousand dollars.

One day the man’s banker said, “You’ve done well for an illiterate, but where would you be if you could read and write?”Well,” replied the man, “I’d be janitor of St. Peter’s Church in Neville Square.”

The moral? You can either let unexpected problems hold you back or you can let them catapult you to the next level. 

That what’s this church janitor did. He didn’t focus on the problem. He looked around for other opportunities.

We had a problem recently with this website.

And instead of letting it hold us back, I am going to use it to catapult forward as we enter into 2017. How?

By sharing what happened and what I learned so that you, our faithful readers, can know what to do to stop this from happening to you.  And/or so you can know what to do if/when it does happen to you.

That way our problem becomes your benefit.

When Your Website Goes Down at the Worst Possible Time

After almost five years, our website went down for the first time ever on November 17, 2016 – right before I was set to leave on a Thanksgiving vacation.

I found out that the website was down because we use a shared hosting plan and our host said our website was using too much CPU space on the server.

If this was you, what would YOU do? Below is my advice to you.

(*NOTE: My first three pieces of advice apply when your website goes down for any reason.)

My General Advice on What to Do If Your Website Goes Down

1st Piece of General Advice: Don’t Panic!

That’s my first piece of advice. If your website DOES go down, don’t freak out!

It’s not the end of the world. You will survive and your business will survive.

Because of the time of year and my family’s planned trip, I didn’t have time to deal with this or to have someone else deal with it. So I let our subscribers know the site was down and then I went off on vacation.

If you don’t believe me that you shouldn’t panic, then listen to Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts: “If My Site Goes Down for a Day, Does That Affect My Ranking”

2nd Piece of General Advice: Find Out Why Your Website Is Down

I contacted customer support and found out exactly why our website was down.

And that’s when I found out our website was over-consuming CPU space on our Shared Hosting plan. (*After almost 5 years of posts, pics, infographics, videos, etc. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised!!)

The customer support then gave me advice and links with information on how to fix the problem.

I then read the information I was given and “Googled” the problem, so that I could discover what the actual problem was and what was the best way to fix it.

3rd Piece of General Advice: The Wisdom of Others

I’ve been involved with websites and digital marketing since 1999, so I know a lot about how websites work.

But there is still much that I don’t know. And I am not afraid to admit that and ask others for help.

I was pretty frustrated about the situation and I wanted to just change hosts. So I asked Thomas Petty, one of our contributors here at BBH, how to do that.

He gave me some great advice on how to move a WordPress website from one host to another.

That was my plan, until I decided to ditch the idea of switching hosts (at least for now) and try a simpler solution.

My Specific Advice on What to Do When Your Shared Hosting WordPress Site Goes Down

All of my advice so far can be applied any time your website goes down. But the rest of my advice is just advice for those of you with this specific problem:

  • You have a WordPress website
  • You have a  “Shared Hosting” plan
  • Your website has been taken offline because it is using too much CPU

Ok? Now that you understand that, here’s what to do…

STEP 1: Get your webhost to allow you access to your website

If you don’t do this, you’ll have no way to fix this problem. To do this, they will need your IP address, so that they can give only you access to your website.

If you don’t know your IP address, then go to “Find Your IP Address Tool:” to find out what it is.

Contact your host and ask them to give your IP address access in order to fix the problem.

STEP 2: Test your website’s page speed.

If you’re going to fix your problem, then you need to know what your website speed actually is. (You should figure this out NOW, before you ever have any problem with your host!)

Google has a tool called “Pagespeed Insights” that you can use for free to do this.

Just go here:

STEP 3: Install a WordPress plugin to help you reduce your WordPress CPU load time and bandwidth.

I found a great, free plugin that you can install and easily fix the problems by choosing to do several things such as:

  • Enable page caching to decrease the response time of the site
  • Enable object caching to further reduce execution time for common operations
  • Reduce server load and decrease response time by using the cache available in site visitor’s web browser
  • And much more.

The plugin is called “W3 Total Cache.” You can get it here.

(Again, I’d suggest you even do this now, before you have any problems.)

STEP 4: Inform your host that you’ve solved the problem.

Let your host know you’ve fixed the issue and then tell them what you did to fix it.

And then ask them to put your website back online. Then sit back and wait.

STEP 5: Your back in business! Now tell everyone! 🙂

Once your website is back online, inform your subscribers and customers!

You have just conquered your problem and you can now get back to seizing opportunities! (That church janitor would’ve been so proud of you!)

I hope this lesson from our problem has been a help to you. (And I hope it saves you from ever going through this problem in the first place, now that you know how to test and fix your website’s speed.)

If you’ve found this post helpful, then you can:

  1. Leave a comment
  2. Share this post
  3. Do BOTH! 🙂


About Scott Aughtmon (1864 Articles)
I’m author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. I am also a regular contributor to and I am the person behind the popular infographic 21 Types of Content We Crave. I’m a business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist, and speaker. I’ve been studying effective marketing and business methods (both online and offline) since 1999. ===> If you would like to see ways that we could work together, then please click here to learn more.