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Performance and Miva. Dedicated server worth it? Other options?

136 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  reiyou
I've been selling clothing for a number of years at conventions. Recently I've started trying to implement an online store. It is not live yet, but already the performance is very slow (it varies depending on the time of day).

For a number of years I've had several basic HTML pages and email hosted by Valueweb/Hostway. I got my account through Costco, and it is $15 per month. I've been happy with their services up until now.

My Costco account includes a free shopping cart, Miva 4.23. It is on a shared server via Hostway. Last week I've started configuring it, but both the admin screens and the storefront have been slow. In addition, I purchased the OpenUI and an Inventory Module from Viking Coders (about $189). The reason for the inventory module is to track inventory at the options level (i.e. colors, sizes), and prevent the sale of items if they are out of stock (by color, and size). I installed these last week, and now both the admin panel and the storefront are even slower.

Here is a link to my storefront (the store is not linked to my homepage and I haven't gone "live" yet, and it has a ways to go):

If you go there and navigate around, does it seem slow to you?

I called tech support at Hostway, and they said they could not do anything, and that moving me to another shared server wouldn't help. They also partially blamed me installing OpenUI, and that this is causing the slowness, at least in part. I said that I'm sure many other Miva users use it, and asked that shouldn't I expect that their servers be able to perform with it, and he didn't answer the question except maybe to uninstall OpenUI (however I need it, in order to track the inventory in the way I want to). He said the only other thing might be to get a dedicated server.

They transferred me to sales, and they quoted me $99 per month for a basic dedicated server, and I would have to buy my own Miva license, which is about $500. Apparently the free license offered through Costco is just for the shared server license.

So, I need to make a decision. The first is to continue with my current route, and hope that the online store isn't too annoyingly slow. The second is maybe to try a different hosting company and perhaps a different shopping cart (such as Cubecart). I've been reading the various threads in this forum and learning what I can about this option. The third is to go with a fully dedicated server, either via Hostway or another host, and buy either Miva or a different shopping cart. My concern is the cost, plus the admin time required to maintain a dedicated server, and the technical knowledge required to move my files and get everything configured.

After reading some of the various threads, I am thinking about switching to a host such as lunarpages, buying Cubecart (or maybe using the free one), and following the reasonable budget Rodney suggested in one of his other posts (I can't find it now). From what I've read I expect Cubecart (or zencart or some of the others positively discussed in this forum) would serve better and be more cost effective than a new $500 Miva cart.

However I'm also upset with Hostway. It seems reasonable to expect decent performance, especially if they offer a 'free' shopping cart.

The good news is, I'm not live yet.

If you were me, what might you do at this juncture?

As for dedicated servers, are they worth the cost and time commitment to maintain them? For me, I feel it is overkill, as I am just getting my online store going and won't have a lot of customers for awhile. However I'm curious about this concept.

Thank you for taking the time to read my situation, and offering ideas and suggestions.

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I've used miva shopping cart before, and I liked the functionality. It's not a bad cart.

I don't think you need a dedicated server. Seems like overkill for what you are trying to do.

When going to your website, it does seem a bit slow. But it's not like the images are loading slow, it's like before anything happens, before any of the page loads, it's loading slow.

To me, that sounds like a problem with the database server running slow (server could be overloaded, could be a misconfiguration some where, could be a dozen other reasons), or it could be a DNS problem.

When I visit the pages of your main site at bodkini.com, the pages load much faster, which rules out the DNS issue, and makes me think it's definitely a database loading slowly problem.

I'm on DSL and while it's not "painfully" slow, it's more like an "uncomfortable pause", like you aren't sure if it's working. Like you want to click the link again to make sure it's loading.

There are lots of web hosts out there that are more "geared" towards miva. If you like Miva, I would suggest just finding a better shared web host that specializes in Miva and start a trial hosting account with them.

If you have the time and desire, you could also go the lunarpages/cubecart route, it just depends on how much work you want to put in to get things up and running.

You definitely don't need a dedicated server though. Just a better web host.
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Rodney, thank you for taking the time to review my sites and offering your analysis and suggestions.

Yes, I'm definitely ruling out the dedicated server route.

I've had a friend try my online store, and it seemed slow to her as well (she has broadband). I might end up staying with my current route and finish adding my items and configuring the other things. If I feel I'm losing customers or am getting a lot of complaints about the slow performance, then I'll move it to a faster hosting company.

I started with Miva only because it was free with my account. After putting some time into it, I've gotten used to it.

I've done other steps such as packing the data files, and making sure my images are reasonable in terms of file size.

Something that annoyed me earlier today is that the Hostway tech guy I spoke with is that he doesn't regards loading to be too slow unless it actually times out (not a good answer for to me). I really feel I should expect better performance, especially if I am the only one using it.

Later today I plan to call Hostway again, and try and speak with a manager about moving me to another server that has less traffic and/or fewer accounts on it, and lean on them the best I can.

Thanks again, Mark.
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