Once disabled the load times were down to a more reasonable level, although they have crept back up according to Google Webmaster Tools. As far as I can tell it’s images causing the load times. It was a good exercise for me to understand load times but it was a change made completely on Google’s part that caused the loss in traffic. The site not only got the traffic back but it increased a little. Also, when the traffic did come back the site had a significant increase in comment spam, so much that I had to turn off comments for certain posts.
Meanwhile, I took a much need break from the blog and completely ignored everything (except approving comments) and missed that TechCrunch linked to one of my pages. Causing a nice spike in traffic.
Last night around 11 pm MST greginthedesert.net went into a “500 Internal Server Error” state. The main WordPress page or admin pages were unresponsive. My first real issue since going with real web hosting about 3 weeks ago. Even though I hadn’t messed with WordPress since the morning, I assumed it was something I did or it was a plugin that failed.
I logged in via FTP and copied everything from the plugin folder to my hard drive then deleted them from the server. Still no response. Determining it was late and I needed to work in the morning, and that my blog was not mission critical, I sent a note to support about the problem and went to bed.
MacHighway support responded about 2 am with the following:
Your site should work now. It looks like a glitched PHP binary (part of the PHP scripting system) was causing a problem. I recompiled PHP and things are working now.
That’s a quick turn around and a great response in my opinion.
WordPress ran since 2 am this morning without plugins. Once I copied them back over via FTP they started working again without issue. Only 1 spam managed to make it through without the Akismet anti-spam plugin running.