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5GoDaddy Review soon30$5.99/mo10 GB

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Because most hosts allow between 15 and 25 concurrent database connections, we decided to set the cut-off for what constitutes an above-average DB connection limit at 25.

Should beginner webmasters worry about database connection limits?

Not at all!

If you are launching your first website, or if you are running an established website that serves less than 1,000 – 2,000 visitors a day, you do not need to worry about database connection limits.

Even the lowest limit around will be more than enough for your website.

So there! Beginners can stop reading right here and go about selecting their web host based on price, overall service reliability, and support quality. See our cheap web hosting page for specific recommendations or refer to our hosting rankings page.

If you are an advanced user and know for a fact that database connection limits might be an issue for you, then please keep reading.

Web hosts with the highest database connection limits

#1: DreamHost (300 simultaneous connections)

DreamHost leads the way with a staggering 300 concurrent database connections limit. They also offer one of the cheapest hosting plans around, as well as a 97-day money-back guarantee.

In our tests, DreamHost’s servers performed very well under heavy traffic loads, which is surprising considering how affordable they are. You also get a free domain if you buy an annual or longer plan.

Plus, Dreamhost is on our list of hosts with free backup restorations (most hosts charge a fee for restoring your website from a backup).

Basic plan highlights:

  • Starting price: $2.59
  • Websites allowed: one
  • Storage: 50 GB
  • Bandwidth: unlimited
  • Control panel: custom-built
  • Money-back guarantee: 97 days
  • Live chat: 5:30 am to 9:30 PM PT
  • DreamHost shared hosting review

#2: HostWinds (150 simultaneous connections)

HostWinds has a very high limit at 150 concurrent database connections.

Their cheapest shared plan comes with unlimited websites and unlimited server resources. Website load times are excellent, and the free domain and free website migrations are a big plus. See our HostWinds review for more.

Additionally, HostWinds offers one of the longest money-back guarantees you’ll find in hosting. They are also on our list of the best hosts with free malware detection and removal.

Starting plan highlights:

  • Starting price: $2.35/mo.
  • Concurrent database connections: 150
  • Websites allowed: unlimited
  • Storage: unlimited
  • Bandwidth: unlimited
  • Control panel: cPanel
  • Money-back guarantee: 60 days
  • Live chat: 24/7
  • HostWinds WordPress hosting review

#3: InterServer (75 simultaneous connections)

Interserver is more expensive than the previous options (if you’re going for a 3-year plan), but if you run a money-making website and high server uptimes are a priority to you, you can’t go wrong with them.

If you are a student, you’ll be happy to know that Interserver is on our list of hosts with student discounts.

Plus, they offer one of the cheapest annual hosting plans around.

Starting plan highlights:

  • Starting price: $4/mo.
  • Websites allowed: one
  • Storage: unlimited
  • Bandwidth: unlimited
  • Control panel: cPanel
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days
  • Live chat: 24/7
  • InterServer shared hosting review

#4: A2 Hosting (35 connections)

A2 Hosting is one of the few hosts that offer pro-rated refunds and also one of the providers with the highest Inode limits in the business.

Starting plan highlights:

  • Starting price: $3.92/mo.
  • Websites allowed: one
  • Storage: unlimited
  • Bandwidth: unlimited
  • Free domain: no
  • Control panel: Plesk
  • Live chat: 24/7
  • A2 shared hosting review

#5: GoDaddy (30 simultaneous connections)

30 concurrent database connections may not sound like much, but it’s still better than what the majority of web hosts offer.

GoDaddy is a bit expensive for the quality of service. Website load times are good, but server uptimes are slightly worse than competitors’ (around 99.95%).

GoDaddy is also the only provider on this page which belongs to the small group of hosts with negotiable prices.

Basic plan highlights:

  • Starting price: $5.99/mo.
  • Websites allowed: one
  • Storage: 10 GB
  • Bandwidth: unlimited
  • Control panel: cPanel
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days
  • Support: 24/7 live chat

Simultaneous database connection limits at other popular hosts:

Do all hosts limit the number of simultaneous MySQL connections?

It seems so. We’ve reviewed dozens of hosting providers and we are yet to run into one that didn’t limit the number of concurrent database connections.

This also goes for web hosts that advertise unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage.

Does a database connection limit signify how many users can browse my website simultaneously?

Luckily, this isn’t the case.

Some webmasters mistakenly think that if their host allows a maximum of, say, 30 concurrent database connections, then their website can only serve a maximum of 30 visitors at a time.

In reality, most database connections are only established when a user requests new content (e.g. loads a new page). A connection is often terminated in less than a second, and the visitor can spend minutes or hours browsing the requested page without occupying a connection slot (until they decide to request new content).

So you could theoretically have hundreds of visitors browsing your website simultaneously with a DB connection limit of 30 or less.

Connection limits can become a problem if too many users attempt to request new content at the same moment. For example, if 50 users follow a link to your website at almost the exact same time (to the second), a 30-database-connection-limit probably won’t be enough to support them.

How do I find my host’s DB connection limit?

This limit is never displayed on a host’s sales page, so you’ll have to do some digging to find it. There are three ways you can do so:

  • By contacting live chat support or email tech support. Note that pre-sale support agents won’t always have this information as it may be considered too “technical.” Try speaking to a technical support agent if possible.
  • By browsing your host’s terms of service – which, if you are running a website large enough to make database connection limits a concern, is something you should probably do anyway.
  • By reading our hosting reviews. We always list the limits there.

What happens if the connection limit is exceeded?

If a user tries to access your website’s database at a moment when all connection slots are already occupied, their browser will display the familiar error message:

Error: too many database connections

The user could then mistakenly assume that your website is down and leave, when in fact a simple page refresh might have loaded the website for them.

What causes “MySQL too many connections?”

This may be because:

  1. Too many users are attempting to connect to your database simultaneously, or
  2. Existing database connections are not being disconnected (released) quickly enough.

The second one is the most common reason and usually happens due to bugs in a website’s applications. Generally, an app should disconnect a database connection as soon as the user has finished retrieving information from the database.

In a poorly designed app, however, what happens is:

  • The application opens a database connection for the user
  • The user finishes retrieving the required content from the database
  • The application, instead of terminating the connection instantly, performs some additional operations that do not require an open DB connection

The result is that database connections are open for much longer than they need to be, increasing the odds that you’ll run into your host’s concurrent connection limits.

What is MySQL pooling?

MySQL pooling It’s a database-engineering optimization strategy that involves creating and keeping a cache of database connections that are frequently established by website visitors.

This leads to new connections being established quicker, therefore resulting in shorter average database connection times. As a result, more users can access your website’s database.

For instructions on how to enable MySQL pooling in WordPress, see this short StackExchange question.

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