I'm participating in a web project. It's a Joomla web page and it's gained a lot of visitors in the past months. Actually we are receiving donations each year to pay site's hosting and domain. The concurrence now is extremely high and we don't really want to use advertisement as business model 'cause a philosophy matter. We can not afford a dedicated server 'cause we are a non-profit community. So my question is: Is there any way to solve 503 issue because of the high concurrence without migrating to a more expensive hosting plan ? Can I place the site in different hosts or something cheaper ?

Thank you very much.

2 Answers 2


It's a tough one to answer since you may need better hosting no matter what you do due to the sheer amount of visitors you have at once. But just like a car if you want to make it faster you throw out things you don't need which add weight to the car, by removing the weight you go faster.

So you really want to focus on reducing requests on your server by optimising the pages and reducing requests (1 image = 1 request, 1 Javascript = 1 request, reduce these and you should get more performance).

A few things you can do

  • Use PNG Sprites on the template images
  • compress your Jpegs and PNG files using lossless compression (Smushit.com)
  • Ensure GZIP is enabled (mod_deflate)
  • Enable a cache of 2 weeks on media files (mod_expires)
  • combined and minify css and js files
  • ensure your only loading JS on the pages that are using it. For example if you have a gallery page which uses a gallery javascript then you should only load the JS on this page if not used on any other pages, this will lower the amount of requests.
  • Optimise your Database: Joomla has a few plugins that you can optmise your database (ensure you do a backup)
  • Consider using a CDN network for your media files, template images, javascripts, template css etc. this lowers the requests on the server and is very cheap (Rackspace for example 12p per a GB - Pay as you go)
  • Constantly test your website thoughout the optimising process and use Google Pagespeed and Web Page Test as some indicators what you can improve on.

I could go on and on but your best Googling and finding out exactly how to do each task as well as finding out even more on the subject. Treat your website like a car and you need it to go faster, more you throw out the window the faster it should go - to a certain threshold.

  • Its scary how much we think alike when we answer a question at the same time. +1 for you bybe. :-) Feb 19, 2013 at 15:23
  • Ya lol... I just noticed the time on response lol ;) Feb 19, 2013 at 15:29
  • Thank you both. Those are grate advices to think about. I will take all of them. Feb 19, 2013 at 15:37
  • If you have an image heavy website, the CDN is a really good idea. We moved to using AWS Cloudfront and it stopped our website from being an inefficient file server. Applications like Joomla need all the processing power that can be pushed their way. Mar 11, 2013 at 4:24

The good news about a 503 Service Unavailable is that the server is not too overloaded to respond. Often a a server has capacity available and can be configured to accept more requests. If you are using Apache, you could try increasing the MAX_CLIENTS setting in the configuration file. The reason that there is such a setting is that too many requests may just grind the server to a screeching halt, increasing the load average so much that you can't even log into the machine to adjust settings.

You could also investigate making your website more efficient. You could try:

  • Reducing the number of images on each page
  • Combining small images in the page template together into "sprites"
  • Combining Javascript and CSS files
  • Moving images, javascript, and css onto a subdomain which could be moved to another (cheap) host or CDN
  • Enabling mod_gzip page compression, making downloads faster and freeing up server resources
  • Changing how php is served to make it more efficient. For example by moving to mod_php from mod_cgi.

The other solution to this type of problem is to put advertising on your pages. Advertising usually makes enough money to pay for hosting. As part of a non-profit community, you may have constituents that are opposed to having advertising on the site, but I would make the case that money generated by ads that will keep the site/project going, is beneficial to the community.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.