A couple of weeks ago when I was having hosting troubles I was trying to find ways to cut down on the amount of CPU resources that might be used by my sites. I updated my plugins and got rid or some that I suspected were eating up CPU.
So far every things been going well on my new host. I’m keeping my figures crossed. Of course it’s summer and there’s been a small dip in traffic across all my sites in the last month or so as well so I guess I won’t really know if I’ve cured my CPU resource problems until everyones back from holidays or back to work and school and using the web the way they were before summer got in the way.
Andy Beard had suggested that I try using the FeedSmith plugin for Feedburner. He found articles on other blogs that seems to infer that bots, feed readers and visitors constantly hitting a sites feed could be a substantial drain on CPU resources.
I’ve always been pretty good about checking my site stats and keeping track of what’s been happening with my sites as far as traffic goes and I’d already noticed that my feeds were hit more than even the main index page of my sites. So I decided to try using the FeedSmith plugin in order to see if it helped cut down on resource usage.
The plugin is very easy to use. Just download the FeedSmith plugin, upload it to your WordPress content plugins folder and activate it. All you need to do after that is create a feedburner feed for your site if you haven’t already. Once you’ve done that you can go to your WP dashboard, click options and then go to the admin panel for Feedsmith and input your feedburner feed for your blog. You can also create and list a feedburner plugin for your sites comments too.
What the Feedsmith plugin does is consolidate all of your sites feeds into a feedburner feed. As you probably already know, your themes header lists a variety of feeds that can be used with your site. The most common are rss1, rss2 and atom. You might very well have subscribers for each of these feeds. How can you keep track of how many subscribers you have when they are all subscribed to different site feeds? Funnel them all to your feedburner feed.
Now when a bot comes along to read your feed, or someone accesses your feed via a feed reader they’ll be directed to your feedburner feed.
In theory this should take some of the load off your site, or that’s what Andy and the articles that he pointed me to presumed.
Looking at my stats for this domain and my main domain feverishthoughts.com it does look like hits to my feeds have gone down substantially. Now the month isn’t over, and I haven’t blogged that much on this site this month so the stats on hits to the feed for this domain might not mean all that much.
At this point it looks like hits on this sites feed have been cut in half. Hits on my busiest website, the main blog on feverishthoughts.com are down by two thirds! Again, the month isn’t over and traffic has decreased a bit this month, but that’s my busiest site and there’s been a marked decrease in hits to that sites feed. So the plugin must be working.
A nice side effect of using the FeedSmith plugin is that it is now gathering better stats for all my subscribers so when I visit the Feedburner site I see that the number of subscribers listed for each of my sites has gone up.
I mean UP. Like 300%.
I knew that some of our sites had a lot of feed subscribers, but because they weren’t all being picked up properly by feedburner I realized that the numbers I’d been seeing were low. The new numbers that I’ve been seeing since I installed the plugin are much more believable.
I’ll check on the feed stats at the end of the month to see if there really have been less hits to my feeds thanks to the plugin and I’ll also check on them at the end of September which I expect will be back to normal traffic levels.