Website Refreshed

by | Apr 3, 2023 | Uncategorised | 0 comments

photo of website

I’ve been spending the last few weeks updating the website and fixes a multitude of issues.  Hopefully it’s running faster now!
Still a lot to do, and pretty sure I can make it even more fast, especially for people like me, with an intermittent internet connection (the downside of living in the sticks).
I’d encourage you to sign up to the mailing list as well, as I’ll be using that on a regular basis to deliver offers and codes!

For anyone who wants a summary of what I did, please do carry on reading…

To cut a long story short…
I had a website built for me some years ago.  It was all singing and dancing and I loved it.
The guy who designed and maintained it, then couldn’t!!! Eeeek!

He trasferred me over to my own server, which was great as I could host multiple site, including a few friends websites.  He assured me I had the skills to do this!
I do usually have the mindset of yes, I can do this, but it was just the time factor of learning a new skill!!
Which brings me to 4 years later.  Having done the very minimal amount of updating (becuase I was a scaredy cat), and paying for bits and bobs to be done, the website was so slow it was pretty unusable.  
I checked my score on GTMETRIX and it was depressing.. and F, and site was sooooooo slow.  

I optimistically thought this might take an afternoon to sort out.  That was Monday… by Friday I had finially got my speed down to A, but was yet to do any real updating of the site.  But yay it was functional.  I’m still working on it now, and will continue to do so.  I always wanted shopping with Goblin Dreams to be an experience, but the broken website made that experience not so good!

Steps taken

I’ll now go over some of the steps I took.  Hopefully they will be helpful.  Some of the following does contain affiliate links, which means, if you click on it and buy, I get some payment.  It doesn’t affect you, but does help me to jusify finding the time to write these posts (every little helps).

I’d like to post a full step by step, but to be honest, the week was somewhat of a blur…
In all honesty, it probably would have been better to start deisgning from scratch, and to upgrade my hosting plan to stop the server limits being used.  However, I was set on fixing things, rather than a sticking plaster, and I learned so much along the way.  Finiding issues is depressing, but finding solutions is epic! 

Initial investigation:
Lots of research was done – thank you google. I also was to-ing and fro-ing with my hosting company, tmd hosting

They suggested using cloudflare. So I sorted cloudflare, and it made a small difference but not much.

I then went onto to install wp rocket, and also imagify to optimise my images.  These had both popped up on my radar so thought it was worth a shot!

wp rocket actually made things worse at this point. So I realised that there were other issues, but at that point didn’t have the knowledge to even diagnose.

Info form the hosting was that that server speed was being throttled, as was using too many resources…  I knew enough to know it shouldn’t be doing that and wanted to find out why.
I saw on WP toolkit that they suggested i should reinstall core wp files… I did and the whole site went boom… crashed, no access. Off to hosting again, really sorry but can you fix – they rolled back to the backup the day before.

Moving on:

Still to and for with tmdhosting, to see if they could delve deeper.

In the meantime I was checking everything was up-to-date, and noticed that the divi theme originally installed was not updating, as it had been edited. So i switched to the standard divi theme. Things started feeling a bit better.

Then I had an email from the hosting company to say that they had further investigated and found that ajax and the malware plugin I had were conflicting and causing the server overload.
So, I switched plugin to wordfence, checked speed. Instantly better. It was running fast, but then would still slow (server throttling), so there was obviously further things wrong. 

I checked again for updates, and tried to update divi, only to find that there wasn’t a key and it was unlicensed and couldn’t update… sigh… so off to get a license I went.

I also used a media cleaner to seek out old product photos etc, as I hadn’t realised they don’t delete with product.. doh! nearly 2000 redundant files!

More problems:
Updated Divi – yay!
Website crashed – boo! Divi wouldn’t work – boo!
It was eating resources again. Back to google, to research.
Checked PHP, was massively out of date. Started back up, before updating. Backup crashed everything.. le sigh… Back to host, they manually backed up for me. Changed php.
PHP then wasn’t enough for divi, back to tmdhosting again.. they sorted it for me.
Divi still not working.. sob!
Now to plugins… Deactivated and activated all pluggins… and low and behold, the last one I clicked (it was always gouing to be).. was the issue.

But yay! It was actually working…. ish….

Front end:
Now my front end was messed up. Nothing looked right. Spent hours trying to de-crap it all and work out what was going on – in hindsight, would have been quicker to rebuild, but I did learn loads.
I did try rolling back at one point to see if that helped, but it just slowed everything down, and started crashing again. So I was at the point of no return.
I then realised that I had no global themes…. which was why nothing seemed to be easy to fix…. why I was struggling so much. At this point, I’d over run the time allocated by 2 days, and had to get on with stuff. So I did a quick cramming on research on divi, and sorted my product page global body, and made a start on others.
I still have a lot to do. but know I know what to do. I know why things weren’t working, why the website was slow, and how to move on going forward. The whole reason for me sorting the website was to update it, work on seo etc, but that will be for another time now, once everything else is sorted.
So… yes, Divi caused a whole load of issues. Was it the fault of Divi? no… It was a combo of no license, no updates, and having no one doing regular maintenance.

It caused me a whole load of stress, but I suppose after 5 years of little maintenance, that’s what you get. And now, I am confident, if i get someone to do work, I know what they should be doing, and what to check for afterwards.

I am now excited about using Divi. I have been meaning to do a second website for some time, and been putting it off, as it was overwhelming, now I’m itching to start it.

I’ve also done, and still doing a good tidy up of disk space on my server, deleting old emails (I had over 8k in trash!), deleted old files and photos, optimising everything.

Did wp rocket help? Yes, I tried with and without.  It’s definately a keeper.

Did cloudflare help? again, yes, and it syncs with wp rocket too.

Did imagify help? Yes, optimising images helped massively, though was super slow, and it’s still running now.

Would I do it again. YES… I lost a lot of time (hence money), but I have learned so much. Relying on others to do things, when you don’t fully understand is dangerous. I had paid people to do updates etc, but they’d done the basics, and moved on.
There’s likely lots I’ve missed out as the 4 days spent on it were a bit of a blur, everytime I thought I had it cracked, i hadn’t lol!
Speed up your blog performance, lightning fast blog hostingo0ui5lyo10?a aid=642ae69a44b8b&a bid=30bf8a77


TMD Hosting have been my hosting provider for since the birth of the website.  It was originally all set up by the guy who ran the website, but he transferred it over for me, when he could no longer commit.  
I have to say, they have been very helpful, not to mention patient!
I don’t have a huge amount of knowledge on the back end of hosting, and I had even less in the start.  They are super quick to reply to support tickets, and have always done their very best to help.  

They have been super helpful over the last 2 weeks, helping me identify issues, and what could be done to speed the website up.   I highly recomend.
I’m currently signed up with business cloud, but will be upgrading to a VPS once I start growing the website and blog, to ensure everything runs super fast.

The major pros are:
Cost – Their shared hosting is far cheaper than signing up a pre-made solution such as shopify (not that shopify isn’t great, I’m sure it is, but you may want more control)
Daily Backups – If you are a bit of an idiot like me, you can rest assured, they do daily backups and will roll it back for you on request.
Support – as stated above.. Lightening fast support, and most helpful.

Really the only con is, that it’s not all done for you (though they do have paid options to set things up).  you will have to do some backend admin, but believe me, I can do it, you can too!!!

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