Less than a month ago we wrote a post that mentioned a recent situation where a Zen Cart based ecommerce website was not allowing products to be added to the shopping cart in some instances, which is a big problem. The source of the problem was caching done by a web host we didn’t mention in the post. The same exact issue has come up with another website and this time we had access to the web host’s control panel, so we could better see what is going on with the web host, SiteGround, and things don’t look good.
When you go the settings page for their SuperCacher caching system, you are provided with this information about it:
SuperCacher services are developed by our server optimization experts to increase the number of hits a site can handle seamlessly and dramatically boost your website’s loading speed. There are 3 different caching options for maximum optimization of your websites. Our tests show that a website using simultaneously NGINX Direct Delivery & Dynamic caching along with Memcached can handle 100 times more hits than a regular website without any caching.
There is no warning that the feature can cause problems, like the one we have now run across twice in less than a month. Perhaps they don’t understand the implications of what they are doing, which is quite problematic considering the caching causing the problem with those websites is enabled by default.
Disabling Dynamic Caching
If that were not bad enough, while two of three types of caching provided, NGINX Direct Delivery and Memcached, can easily be disabled on the feature’s settings page, the one that is at issue here, Dynamic Caching, can’t. The tutorial for the feature, which is linked from that page, also doesn’t currently provide any information on disabling that. If you use the search function accessible on that tutorial, you also won’t find the information. There is a page on a separate part of their website, for some reason they have two different support sections, explains how to disable that using code added to the website’s .htaccess file.
Update – 4/16/2021 – SiteGround doesn’t provide a way to contact them through their website unless you are a customer (which is odd), but we tried notifying them through Twitter about the problem they are causing here. They responded, but the response wasn’t good, starting with them stating that performance is apparently more important to them than not breaking websites:
One of our primary goals is to ensure the best possible performance of all sites hosted on our servers and our caching setup plays a major role in the process.
The rest of it involved them ignoring the reality of the situation, so it doesn’t seem like they are a great option for a web host.