I pulled this from the discussion about FJRforum; I wanted to give some insight on some of the challenges happening behind the scenes here.
I'm sure as I talk through this, there are I.T. professionals in the crowd that may have a difference of opinion; please know that I'm not an I.T. professional, and I'm working through this as best I can.
There has been random performance hiccups, which can be a side effect of a shared hosting solution such as the one we're on currently. There is a monthly fee to host the site, I pay this annually (for some cost saving), but it has limitations. In the past few weeks I've been working on a wordpress site with an e-commerce plugin with the idea of migrating the EOM and other event registration away from the Eventbrite.com service ( and cost). I've invested time and money to move down that path, and with my limited time and funding, I've hit some bumps in the road.
I had a chat discussion with support staff at the hosting company; he spent some time looking at configuration and server usage. They are telling me that I'm hitting memory limits on the hosted server, along with some optimization to look at. When the shared server has a lot of activity from various customers, performance degrades. We had a period last week with a minor outage, but it was resolved quickly.
I'm reviewing this with Tim and we're going to work on some more changes to ensure we're leveraging all the efficiency we can from the current hosting plan. The host service has other hosting options - VPS (edited, not VPN) - which offers some advantage but also comes with additional cost.
I've been monitoring site performance (load times) with the Google page speed tool; the load times vary, as expected, but the site is typically scoring fairly well. I'm not seeing the 500 errors, only slow loading at times.
I'm looking at options for accepting donations to off set the annual costs I've been absorbing to keep the site running. I'm hesitant to accept money as I don't want to get into a situation where I've got more than is needed or open myself up for things like, "I paid money to keep this site running, you can't edit or moderate my posts!" type discussions.
I'd just like to remind folks here - FJRiders.com is a free online community, it is a hobby and managing the site is not a paid position. I will continue to work on the performance aspect of the site, and am very thankful for the help that William provided, and now that Tim provides to keep this site up and running.