Help: HostGator or Cloud Hosting or VPS for 1M pageviews site


This is my first post but I have been a lurker of this site for quite a while now. :wink:

I would really appreciate if you can help me out deciding which service to use.

I have a couple of sites on hostgator shared hosting (the unlimited bandwidth and diskspace plan). These sites though only generate like 3-4k traffic each month and so far I haven’t encountered any overloads.

Now, I am planning on setting up another website by the first week of February. Unlike my other previous sites, I have a feeling that I am going to get a larger audience this time. I already have an fb fan page for it that I started early last year with almost 300,000 likes.

The new site that I want to build is a humor site (like 9gag kind of thing).

I did a lot of research and actually went to flippa to look for the traffic/stats of related niche sites which are being sold there.

I expect that my site would have around a million pageviews in just a few months after it’s built and probably will have a lot of users uploading photos,gifs,etc. (The site will have a user generated content btw).

So my question is, with this kind of traffic and files getting uploaded to my site what is the best hosting service that I will need to use?

Is there anyone out here who has a site hosted on hostgator (or other ulimited bandwidth/diskspace) with the same traffic and have not encountered server overload?

Do I need to shift to Cloud hosting or VPS now? Pros and Cons to each?

My new site will be on a wordpress platform just like my other sites.

I am not really techie so I need all the help that I can get and would really appreciate your opinion.

Thank you so much.

You certainly have lofty traffic goals for a site that hasn’t even been finished yet. That said, there is absolutely no way any shared hosting plan is going to accommodate one million page views a month on a Wordpress-based site. If you read the HostGator Terms of Service you will see that the hosting packages are not “unlimited”. In fact, all of the hosts offering “unlimited” shared plans have terms that place limits on accounts.

I think your best bet is to launch the site on your existing shared hosting package and when your traffic starts to build then worry about spending money on a VPS. If your site is as popular as you think it might be, you might even require a dedicated server. Wordpress is a resource-intensive application. Using a caching plugin will reduce the amount of server resources needed and allow you to serve more visitors before your host makes you upgrade. If you are getting that much traffic, you should make enough money from advertising to pay for whatever you need. I can’t see any point in spending money for a VPS when you haven’t had your first visitor yet.

Hi corey85,

Welcome to posting at sitepoint; the first one is a good way to start!

I agree with @cheesedude ;'s perspective here, it can be (and most often is) a mistake to spend too much on your hosting when the market hasn’t arrived yet. Just because you have the facebook fan page doen’t mean that they will translate to your site or that bringing them may not be more complicated than you expect.

As you’ve been lurking, you likely have seen many threads about shared hosts that overload their shared packages to push people into the VPS or dedicated services, you need to find a shared host that is not notorious for doing this. Make sure that you can easily and without penalty transfer your service from shared to some form of dedicated package. While doing this, ensure that you will not have excessive penalty if you decide to transfer to another hosting service for dedicated packages. You may also consider using a free year at Amazon EC2 to see if your traffic warrants a more robust hosting infrastructure which will also give you time to research and find the right fit based on the first years growth.


@cheesedude and @ServerStorm, thank you so much for your answers.

Yep, the plan is very ambitious. My plan is to use sites like 2leep or mgid to syndicate some of the content of my “future” site. I will be getting a lot of traffic from them - probably. Also, I’ve contacted an seo company that is doing pure what hat tricks. I would most probably use them once the site is launched. So adding all that plus my facebook followers, it is only safe to assume getting that number of pageviews in a matter of months is possible. Well, I don’t really know but I guess this is my way to “think big-start small”.

Anyway, I’ve thought about buying the domain name on namecheap and then still use hostgator for the first few months and just transfer the site later to a VPS. But what worries me is just like what you mentioned ServerStorm, the issues that might arise when moving to a vps. I will take your advice though and contact hostgator regarding that matter probably later today.

On the other hand, I also have another account with hostleet. Not sure if you guys heard about them but I’ve been with with for one of my sites and I have not got any issues with them either so far. The plan that I got from them allows me to use up to 15 Gb diskspace and 150 Gb bandwidth monthly. I will also contact them regarding transferring my sites to a vps in the future.

Taking both your advice, I think it is better for me to use this account instead of hostgator so I can really keep track of my space and bandwidth usage.

I have a question though, how many pageviews per month do you guys think I can get for 150 Gb bandwidth?

Depends on your average page load, html, images, scripts, css. Check via an http monitor how much data is transferred from a selection of test pages, or just add up the file sizes. Remember that if you use any common scripts such as jquery or google analytics, these can be loaded from an external CDN to save you some bandwidth.

That’s my problem. I don’t think I can do all of that except if I hire someone to do that for me simply because I am not into such geeky stuff. lol.

Seriously though, the website I am planning to build will be on a wordpress platform.

Cheesedude mentioned a caching plugin for wordpress which I will look to it.

I’m not sure if hostgator has built-in bandwidth monitoring but you could look into the control panel to see what profiling tools they provide. Although not ideal, you can get a rough idea by adding up the images, videos, css JS, and any other liked resources for your typical or cross-section of pages. This will give you an idea of how much bandwidth your site will consume per page connection.

It is a good idea for you to start familiarizing yourself with monitoring scripts and tools. There are a whole number of them ranging from php/mysql solutions, shell scripts running as root, and even JavaScript tools. Under shared hosting if you are not provided bandwidth monitoring/profiling in your control panel tools then you would need to use a solution that does not require root access.

Also look at using a CDN to reduce page hits on your hosting - cloudflare is easy to use and has a Wordpress plugin, but systems like Incapsula and Cloudfront are also well known and trusted.

To get a feel of the traffic and focus on growing your website without worries just get a shared hosting first and then after few months you could switch for VPS. But yes you will definitely need to switch (not because of pageviews, but because of bandwidth)

You can always choose a provider that would not make you a problem to upgrade you from shared to VPS or even bigger VPS or dedicated server without any kind of downtime or problem… The big guys are not always good player when you need to ask them a favor… so choose some medium provider to make all your wish successful…