Resourcing Issues: Timeouts meaning property updates do not complete

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Sadly it is the case that may WordPress hosting companies offer cheap hosting by putting hundreds of sites on shared servers and seriously under-resourcing memory and processor power as a result.  This is particularly an issue where we are performing complex tasks like processing property feeds which often involves large numbers of properties.  You may see behaviour where some of your properties are being updated but not all of them and in the feed processing tab you seen erratic or no entries in your processing log.  You can test this by clicking the “Force Refresh” tick box and updating the feed as this will force the feed to update there and then.  If you then see the page waiting to reload for several minutes and then fails finally fails with an error message, this is a sure sign that the server is under-resourced.  The error is simply saying that the process of updating the feed took too long so I gave up!  In this case ask your hosting provider what options are available to you to get more resources applied to the site.

We test all our feeds on a pretty lightweight AWS (Amazon Web Services) instance for performance and constantly tune our code to be as efficient as possible.  For instance, most feed types now use virtual media assets in the WordPress asset library so that we don’t have to download of process property images.  Processing a feed of around 100 properties should take no more than 30 seconds to 1 minute with a moderately resourced server.  Even this is longer than we would like but unfortunately to do things the proper WordPress way we have to adhere to the data-structures that WordPress uses and these are not well designed for processing large amounts of data (it was designed as a blog platform so we can’t blame them for that!)

Unfortunately the saying “you get what you pay for” absolutely applies to WordPress hosting and unfortunately sometimes the only solution is to pay for a better service.