BuddyPress and Shared Hosting
This looks like amazing software, but I have a question that I could not find when going through the forums… I did try.
How far will shared hosting take you with buddy press? or is it really not even recommended to use it with shared hosting.
I appreciate any help on this one.
I don’t agree that this is just a WPMU question. Getting bbpress and buddypress to ‘talk’ to one another to use the groups plugin is an issue for shared hosting, which may not be resolved in the WPMU forums. A few hosts have been mentioned on this site but it would still be good for this issue to be aired with those not using dedicated servers.
Perhaps, in terms of scalability it is different but for those starting out how far shared hosting will take you before shelling out for better hosting is valid.
Buddypress will be picked up and used by a lot of ‘hobbyists’ (I use the term in quotes not to offend) and shared experiences in this forum is surely what it’s all about.
As for me, I’ll be starting out using shared hosting, but am still at the testing on home server stage so not yet positive enough to say how it will pan out.
The reason that the specific question of the OP is a WPMU issue is that he was asking whether a shared hosting account will be sufficient to run BP. Since BuddyPress is a WPMU plugin, what matters, then, is whether WPMU can successfully run on a shard hosting account.
I provided several links for him to begin his education.
In short, of course you can install WPMU + BP + bbP on many shared hosting accounts. But, whether that will provide a desirable user experience or support more than a few 10s to 100s of active users depends on too many variables to be discussed here. The underlying functionality of WPMU is paramount to the overall site functionality. If your site’s access to server resources is too limited, you will have issues quickly.
Perhaps once BuddyPress supports single-user WordPress, the options for hobbyists, as you call them, will be better.
Your analysis in the paragraph above outlines exactly what users can expect or aim to acheive with shared hosting. The fact that it can be installed and operated is one thing, providing a desirable user experience is another.
The restrictions on shared hosting though may allow for a WPMU installation but not provide enough flexibility for some BuddyPress plugins to work, but as you say too many variables to be discussed here.
If BuddyPress does end up supporting single-user wordpress I’m sure that the net will undoubtedly widen.
How much of a difference should we expect to get when using WP single user (when this is an option in future)?
And if it is significant, why is this the case? And is it also true for WPMU with a single blog, or is the difference that people are expecting a WPMU installation to have multiple blogs?
There is more overhead with WPMU, but the biggest issue is whether a site allows its members the option to create blogs and how many active blogs the site has. So, running single-version WP could help reduce the load in theory.
But, BuddyPress can also be a bandwidth, memory, and harddrive-space intensive plugin suite. It all depends on a site’s user activity and what additional BP-dependent plugins a site installs and activates.
For instance, if a site uses a media plugin that allows users to upload photos, mp3, and video files, then a low-powered hosting account could get swamped even if it is “just” running single-version WP.
Okay… so what might be some example of server recommendations for different installations? For instance… I have a dedicated server but it’s not exactly high-powered. The specs are:
– 3.06 Ghz Celeron
– 80GB HDD
– 512 MB RAM
– 1000 GB Traffic
– 10Mbps uplink
Nothing fancy! But I’m only serving half a dozen small blog sites now with very low traffic. Mostly just small personal sites. It’s awesome for that and being dedicated allows me total control and I don’t have to worry about my ‘neighbours’ getting my IP blacklisted… etc.
Now… let’s say I launch a public BuddyPress site with 250 registered users, pretty low traffic from non-registered users, the bpPicture plugin, chat plugin, bbPress and NO personal blogs allowed (just the main blog). Is it gonna go boom? This client can probably afford to pay more for hosting if needed.
I have another potential BP project which would probably also be a low traffic site… but where the client wants users to be able to create blogs. It will be a true community site. It could have… let’s say 20-30 blogs. It would also have forums, photos and chat. This client is a friend. It’s a simple pro bono thing with no custom theming or coding. Problem is, she has no money for more ‘iron’. Not a cent.
I know this is all very hypothetical and hard to judge… but even a rough idea of server recommendations for a few different scenarios would be extremely helpful.
As you say:
I know this is all very hypothetical and hard to judge…
So, given that as a premise, this is just my opinion. It seems to me that your current setup should be fine for what you’ve described. The physical memory seems low for a dedicated server, but you more than likely have sufficient virtual memory allocated to help alleviate some of that inadequacy.
The server’s physical HD space is not an issue since I assume that you have unlimited storage space with your dedicated hosting account. After all, hard drive space should be cheap.
When WPMU sites get to 1000 active users or so (or fewer very active users), many people find that they need a dedicate VPS or even dedicate server to handle just that single site. But, as I’ve said above, it depends on too many variables to accurately provide a detailed set of guidelines. One site may have little issues with several thousand users whereas another has issues at 500 users.
Thanks for that Jeff. Disclaimers noted
p.s. I got the server in a clearance sale… so the RAM was pretty low and there wasn’t an option to upgrade anything (as-is sale). It’s only $29/month though! Hard to beat for a dedicated box. And more than sufficient for the sites I’m hosting (so far). I don’t have unlimited disk space. All I have is what’s in the box… no upgrade options. That could be a concern if the WPMU users start uploading media files… but we’ll see. My freelance work may go full time within the year… so if that happens I’d bite the bullet and upgrade to a newer box anyway… and my client base would cover the costs.
I’ll be honest to say that I have seen 1and1 home hosting packages in a shared environment hosting BuddyPress with 250+ users without any gripes from anyone. That’s like less than $10 a month btw, but don’t expect ludicrous speed or anything.
Does anyone know how much (server) memory is used by a single user visiting an integrated bbPress+BuddyPress installation (assuming standard installs and themes)? This could be a big impact on the ability of the system to scale to many users and lots of traffic.
I remember _ck_ (moderator on the bbPress forum) saying that it would be about 1MB, but that was before BackPress integrated a lot of the overlapping functionality.
How would one measure something like this?
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