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How Does Resource Usage Affect My Website?

On shared web hosting accounts, customers share resources and servers. While most resources are plentiful and likely won’t be negatively impacted by even the busiest websites, there are some resources that are more limited.

When one website consumes or monopolizes resources which are limited, it can negatively impact overall server performance, so we have usage limits for RAM, CPU, I/O, entry processes, and inodes for each account. That allows us to ensure the best possible performance for everyone on the shared web hosting service.

That said, some users will have to increase the limits on their account based on their specific needs. Let’s take a look at each type of resource and talk about when you should consider increasing your limit should you ever find yourself facing resource issues.


For our purposes, CPU refers to the number of central processing units that are available for your account’s requests. Requests can be a number of things, such as delivering content to site visitors, database writing, script processing, or loading RAM with data. The CPU is the foundation of the rest of your account’s resources.

Servers utilize a variety of CPU cores, so what we do is display the overall percentage of the cores that your server will be able to access.

Reasons to Prioritize Increasing CPU

If your website depends on scripts (PHP, for example) or uses a database, then increasing the CPU of your account can have benefits. Here are some other common reasons to focus on upgrading the CPU limit:

  • If you have a large amount of traffic.
  • If you have add-ons from third parties such as plug-ins or themes.
  • If your PHP is not configured optimally.
  • If your code is outdated or not written well.


RAM, or “random access memory,” can be a very critical part of your server. Some reasons to increase it include:

  • RAM is the quickest option when it comes to loading data for your website.
  • More RAM means less stress on your CPU when it comes to the amount of data it must convert from hard storage.
  • Scripts, such as PHP, will have much more time to work before running out of space.

Increasing RAM allows the server to handle more complex jobs and run faster.

Reasons to Prioritize Increasing RAM

When you increase your RAM, your account’s general performance will increase, so it’s good to upgrade your account’s RAM limitation if you want your website to run more quickly.

While your first instinct may be to increase RAM when running into 503 or 500 errors, it’s possible that those errors can be a result of engineering and not necessarily caused by exceeding limitations.

Often, overuse of resources can be caused by a script or a plug-in that hasn’t been properly configured. Simply increasing RAM may fix this temporarily, but the same problems could slowly work themselves up to the new limitation. If that is the case with your site, focus on fixing the individual elements before increasing the RAM.

That said, you may just have a very busy site. If that is the case, increasing RAM is the right way to go.


I/O, which means “input/output,” is essentially the speed at which your data travels when it’s moving from hard memory to RAM. So increasing I/O speed will make the process much faster.

Reasons to Prioritize Increasing I/O

This can be difficult to determine at first, as you can’t exceed the I/O limit the way you can with other resources. Rather than exceeding the limit, the site will wait for the information to pass from the hard disk to the RAM, which can cause lags or hanging.

Knowing the right time to increase I/O will require understanding how the website was constructed. The majority of websites that regularly need to monitor and increase their I/O include sites that deal with database records or live streaming. Essentially, any website that reads and writes a lot of data. Adjusting I/O can still be tricky, as simply increasing it is not going to resolve every issue that is related to lag.


When referring to file usage, we’re talking about the number of inodes on the account. It’s important to understand that an inode is a lot more than just a file; it’s a data point used to reference a directory or a file in Linux systems. The issue of file usage becomes more complex when you realize that a number of different inodes can reference the same directory or file.

The specifics can be confusing, but it’s accurate to say that the number of inodes will generally equal the number of directories and the number of files. One thing to keep in mind is that GreenGeeks accounts count each stored email message and email folder as individual inodes.

Reasons to Prioritize Increasing File Usage

If you simply need to increase the number of directories, files, or email messages on your account, then adding inodes is a way to fix the problem quickly.

But it’s also possible to use a plug-in or a script that creates too many directories or files in your account. If this is the underlying problem, then a simple file usage increase isn’t going to address the issue. You’ll have to identify and fix the script/plug-in directly.

Entry Processes

“Entry processes” represent the number of simultaneous connections your account can handle at any one time. It’s important to understand what constitutes such a connection, so let’s take a closer look:

  • Having data delivered by HTTP
  • Having data transferred by your hosting account through SSH
  • Processing a Cron job

It’s important to realize that these connections only count while they’re processing. Once they’ve been completed, they are no longer considered a process.

Reasons to Prioritize Increasing Entry Processes

While calculating and fully understanding¬†entry processes may be difficult, knowing when you need to increase them can be pretty straightforward. When you see 508 errors (the ones that say “Resource Limit Reached”), you’ll know it’s time to increase your entry processes.

GreenGeeks offers a wide variety of web hosting options that can be tailored to your website’s growing needs. Get in touch with a member of our sales staff, and we will be more than happy to help you make the required upgrades to ensure your website is getting the resources it needs.

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