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Bluehost have been a pain, but it is all over now.

Written By: - Date published: 4:59 am, June 30th, 2009 - 33 comments
Categories: admin, crosby textor, scoundrels - Tags: ,

Sysop

Sysop

Ok. The new server is up and running after a few painful days with the system being suspended, and then after moving it to a backup and having a partition run out of space (yesterdays problem).

The ostensible reason that Bluehost were suspending my account was because the processing usage on their CPU’s was exceeding their (unspecified) limits.  Bluehost thought that suspending the account manually and sending me a e-mail after they’d done it was an appropriate way of handling the issue. The way that this was expressed to me was that there was likely to be a rogue process running on my account.

I wasted considerable time looking for problems in the code and processes. This included staying up most of the night on Friday morning because all they could show me were some evidence of zombie processes from the day before. So I started looking at the server processes at the time that the issue was apparently happening the previous night. Eventually I went to bed. Half an hour later the dipshits suspended the account again. The ‘evidence’ was from when I was watching the site. The only CPU usage was from spiders, crawlers and other ‘bots scanning the posts and comments for the day.

My other thought had been that the site was being targeted in a denial of service attack. However there is no evidence of that either. A careful run through the logs shows that there was a substantial increase in traffic going on. Over the last 5 weeks, there has been close to a third increase in traffic on the site and not much from the ‘bots. The rise in traffic is largely in page-views of the front page and an increase in RSS feeds. Looks like the Mt Albert by-election, Worth, super-city, and other issues have been ramping interest up in political commentary. Hardly surprising as this government seem to be descending into a defensive cycle of  governing incontinence.

About the time I’d figured all of this out, the arseholes at Bluehost had cut me off in their usual version of ‘good’ service. I’d come to the conclusion that Bluehost simply didn’t like sites with growing traffic. Bluehost had been fine for the last 5 months while the site grew back from the post-election and holiday drop in traffic. Now it is up to election month levels, which is obviously more than they care for. Mind you, I can understand why.

Over the weekend I shifted the site to a backup server. It was slow and unfortunately a bit short of disk space. The latter I found out after I went to work on Monday and the database went down while I was reading the mobile version on the bus. Turns out that the log files  grow pretty fast these days and while there was a lot of room across the hard disks, there was very little on the disk partition running the database. But what was interesting was that even on the weekend the site traffic was showing interesting graphs of CPU usage and traffic – like averaging 30% CPU on the relatively quiet weekend traffic. I did some optimisation which should help on the new site, but I’ve got to seriously look at how to channel the site growth so it stops blowing out our servers.

Now we’re back on a server far from Crosby Textor and their habit of using litigation to hide their nasty political tactics. Fools like that, along with the costs, was the primary reason for shifting offshore. It makes it harder to use money as a gagging tool.

This time the server is with a technically orientated company rather than one looking at cost-cutting. Hopefully we’ll now get another 12 months before the site growth forces another crisis.

My apologies for the break in service. But The Standard is a site run on the smell of an oily rag with a lot of volunteers who have jobs and lives outside of politics. And on that note, I’d better hit the sack so I can code in a few hours.

G’night

33 comments on “Bluehost have been a pain, but it is all over now.”

  1. infused 1

    Overseas sites are slow zzzz. Should have put the word out for some discounted hosting, im sure many would have helped rather than shifting it overseas.

  2. infused 2

    btw, site is really slow.

  3. infused 3

    some info for you. From home, cable connection. Takes 15-20 seconds for a page load.

    Tracing route to thestandard.org.nz [69.55.236.241]
    over a maximum of 30 hops:

    1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms 192.168.3.1
    2 * 12 ms 14 ms ****
    3 11 ms 11 ms 11 ms ge0-0.v4wlg0.acsdata.co.nz [202.21.136.193]
    4 21 ms 19 ms 21 ms ge0-0-35.v4akl1.acsdata.co.nz [202.61.3.2]
    5 20 ms 20 ms 19 ms Gi1-0.415.gw1.akl1.asianetcom.net [202.147.41.2
    5]
    6 177 ms 175 ms 174 ms po8-1.gw1.sjc1.asianetcom.net [203.192.185.50]
    7 146 ms 149 ms 246 ms ip-202-147-50-250.asianetcom.net [202.147.50.25
    ]
    8 * * * Request timed out.
    9 185 ms 188 ms 188 ms 72.165.184.6
    10 159 ms 160 ms 160 ms ge1-2-6509-a.castleaccess.com [69.43.169.112]
    11 160 ms 161 ms 161 ms 69.43.129.84
    12 160 ms 159 ms 160 ms 69-55-233-164.in-addr.arpa.johncompanies.com [6
    .55.233.164]
    13 160 ms 162 ms 159 ms 69-55-233-153.in-addr.arpa.johncompanies.com [6
    .55.233.153]
    14 159 ms 160 ms 161 ms virt12.johncompanies.com [69.55.227.70]
    15 * * * Request timed out.
    16 * * * Request timed out.
    17 * * * Request timed out.
    18 * * * Request timed out.

    From work citylink

    1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms *****
    2 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms ******
    3 2 ms 2 ms 2 ms dts-slx-gw.dts.net.nz [202.68.80.1]
    4 4 ms 4 ms 3 ms 172.24.5.97
    5 * * * Request timed out.
    6 12 ms 13 ms 13 ms 172.24.5.105
    7 12 ms 15 ms 11 ms Gi1-2.gw1.akl1.asianetcom.net [203.192.167.173]

    8 138 ms 139 ms 141 ms po8-1.gw1.sjc1.asianetcom.net [203.192.185.50]
    9 166 ms 166 ms 166 ms ip-202-147-50-250.asianetcom.net [202.147.50.250

    10 * * * Request timed out.
    11 299 ms 308 ms 299 ms 72.165.184.6
    12 153 ms 153 ms 155 ms ge1-1-6509-a.castleaccess.com [69.43.169.80]
    13 154 ms 152 ms 152 ms 69.43.129.84
    14 152 ms 153 ms 153 ms 69-55-233-164.in-addr.arpa.johncompanies.com [69
    55.233.164]
    15 183 ms 156 ms 152 ms 69-55-233-153.in-addr.arpa.johncompanies.com [69
    55.233.153]
    16 151 ms 152 ms 154 ms virt12.johncompanies.com [69.55.227.70]
    17 * * * Request timed out.
    18 * * * Request timed out.
    19 ^C

  4. lprent 4

    Yeah I’m puzzled about that. I can’t see any obvious slowdowns.

    But it is definitely slower. I just pulled the YesVote as being the one thing that isn’t cached

  5. infused 5

    Here is the load times… ;)

    http://iforce.co.nz/i/r3b3j2jg.jpg

    very, very, very slow… Cheaper isn’t better.

  6. Maynard J 6

    4:59 am? To classify as ‘a few hours’ sleep you need more than two – I am not sure you would have got that. Thanks, as always, for the work you put into this site. Category seems very appropriate fror Bluehost.

    • lprent 6.1

      Lyn dragged me out of bed after I had about 3 and a bit hours. I usually only sleep for 5 or 6 hours anyway. However this site is seriously cutting into the reading I promised myself after the by-election

  7. Andrew 7

    Site seems to be slower than it has ever been :(

  8. Hmmmmm… my hosting is with Bluehost and I haven’t had issues – though I guess I don’t have anywhere near the traffic levels of here.

    The site is very slow for me too so far this morning.

  9. lprent 9

    Fixed the speed issue (I think). Apache was set to some very sub-optimal levels for accepting clients

  10. jarbury 10

    Yeah definitely faster now.

    Back to normal, I might even say. (Touch wood)

  11. lprent 11

    I’ll have a look back in a couple of hours. Have some code to dig through now.

  12. Chris S 12

    lprent,

    I don’t know much about your setup, but if you want to host overseas I suggest investing in VPS’s.

    You can get a few… one with a bunch of RAM to run your database, one or two to run your webservers and get the host to backwire them with private networking so it doesn’t count towards your cap.

    I don’t know what you’re paying for your colo but 3 vps’s will be < $100usd/mo by a lot and you get full root access to your slices.

    Try http://www.linode.com/ some good specs and good prices. If you do, provision them in the Atlanta data center (I get get a solid 1MB/S+ to my vps although latency is higher).

    Feel free to email me if you want a hand… I do this for a job and would be more than happy to help out :) chris@nevermind.co.nz

  13. infused 13

    VPS are crap. For one reason, disks. They can be shared with like 10 users. Try running a database on raid 6 or 10 with 10 or so other ‘servers’ on it. Doesn’t work. Been there, done that.

    • Chris S 13.1

      With the relatively small amount of data used by a blog, the database can keep most of it cached in RAM.

      • lprent 13.1.1

        It does. Most of the 3000 odd posts and 100k comments aren’t accessed except by search-bots and people finding results off them. The bulk goes on 30 posts at the front and the thousand or so comments on those.

        However generating pages is a big exercise on a site that keeps having comments and posts added.

  14. SeaJay 14

    Your efforts are much appreciated Standards.
    Who knew so much goes on behind the pages huh?

  15. The Baron 15

    Nope, still ultra slow on pretty much every device I visit on.

    • lprent 15.1

      I’ll keep tuning it. Only finished shifting it at about 3am. Too many damn graphics

      • The Baron 15.1.1

        Yeah, good luck – substantially improved over the last couple of hours.

        Was hanging on the blackberry and on desktop +firefox, now almost back to normal.

        • lprent 15.1.1.1

          Bit more tweaking to do. I managed to stop the services when I logged in on the web console. Guess I’d better play with that later. Besides I can do everything ssh

  16. jbc 16

    I’ll second Chris S in that VPS are definitely worth investigation if you ever look to re-home again.

    Like everything else there are good ones and bad ones, but a well-managed VPS host will generally offer far better “bang for the buck” than just about anything else (including a bare-rack colocation service). For one thing: you don’t have to worry about managing the metal 10,000 km away.

    The most important thing by far is how clueful the people are who run your service (as you have discovered).

  17. lprent 17

    This one is a VPS – they just have a different name for it. The site was also on a VPS from Feb 2008 to March 2009 in NZ with a memory upgrade on the way through from 256MB to 512MB RAM.

    It got moved offshore because of cost (web hosting was about 10x cheaper than the NZ VPS and far more capable than any webhost I could find here). A secondary reason is that makes it harder for someone to use the threat of litigation to shut down the site. It forces the expenditure of bigger bucks up front by the litigant to force the host site to topple.

    A website really doesn’t do much database activity, it is maybe 10% of CPU, and little gets done on the disk. Most of the ‘cost’ is generating the pages from the data and compressing them before transmission.

    Unlike the webapp I wrote for campaigning. Now that has some serious database usage.

    infused: most of the VPS’es I was looking at had separate HDD’s per client.

  18. felix 18

    Hey Lynn, just noticed that when I click a “recent comment” link to a comment on the currently loaded page, the whole page reloads instead of just jumping to the comment as it used to.

    • lprent 18.1

      I’ll add it to the buglist (Anita keeps updating it). But not tonight…

      • felix 18.1.1

        Yes, her attention to detail can be staggering :)

        I wasn’t raising it as a user bug as such, just thought it might be a (small) waste of your data and/or cpu cycles.

  19. George Darroch 19

    Bluehost have a worsening reputation for doing things like this. They’re also likely to pull your site at the first sign of a cease and desist letter, or any such legalese. See this example regarding Zimbabwe blogs

    I’m glad you’re away from them, and wish you trouble-free hosting!

  20. I’m glad you are back – I did wonder what was going on.

    Sounds like you need to keep searching for another host though.

    I hate coding nightmares like that though – I really felt for you reading through it all. Our comments feed died just over a months ago and I have gone around in circles trying to solve the issue staying awake for hours and wasting time trying to get answers out of Blogger. I have now officially given up and we are going to be migrating ourselves to a hosted WordPress platform as a result – thankfully we have been donated free hosting so we shouldn’t have your issues.

    • lprent 20.1

      Have fun. WordPress is great – lots of flex.

      The problem in this site is that we get a hell of a lot of comments on a lot of posts. Therefore a lot of page views by both readers coming in from the searches and by the various search bugs.

      The front page isn’t too much of a hassle despite the updates from comment counts. It gets the majority of views, but caches reasonably easily. The speed that comments are added isn’t a real hassle.

      The pages getting commented on was why I put a time limit of about a month on leaving comments on the posts at the end of last year. That immediately reduced the load because those could be reported to the search engines as essentially being static.

      However the search engines are all over any page that has comments being updated. I think that googlebot is the most assidous readers of this site. There are a proliferating number of bot’s. They kind of provide a background noise for the whole site (but we ignore them for reporting) which is why our page views are down compared to some sites. We encourage it by having a sitemap plugin that actively tells a number of search engines about what areas are ‘hot’.

      However I think I’ll have to start discouraging anyone who isn’t a major SE.

      Then of course there are the RSS and Feedcatchers, etc. They are restricted to the last 15 posts..

      Anyway, the point is that the actual commentators aren’t actually the real issue. It all those observing them…. :twisted:

      Boots the traffic up pretty damn high as a base load. Looks to me like we’re going to have to look at some kind of dedicated systems shortly. That means it will move from the kind of penny-pinching that we’ve run it on to date.

  21. Noddy (used to be Dr.No) 21

    Classic. Full marks for introducing Crosby Textor references to an issue that is simply about your inability to manage a website. You guys crack me up sometimes…

    IrishBill: And that’s you on your first warning. Troll again and I’ll ban you for as long as I feel is suitable.

    • lprent 21.1

      It was relevant, If there weren’t litigatous fuckwits like Crosby-Textor around the local political sphere, then we’d just dig out some local sponsorship for the servers.

      However the hardware sponsors would be the first target for anyone wanting to use the courts to silence opposition websites. Just as they have tried with Media7 (read the link)

      It isn’t purely a technical issue.

      Anyway, I think you have the wrong name – should be Noddy. Ummm now it is…….. everywhere through the site. Generally it does pay to annoy a tired sysop :twisted:

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    Labour | 24-04
  • Honouring our Pacific soldiers
    Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson and MP for Mangere, Su’a William Sio, will pay a special tribute to the many Pacific Islanders who fought in the New Zealand Armed Forces during the First World War in a speech he is giving...
    Labour | 24-04
  • Government inaction on power and housing to blame for latest rate rise
    Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei says today's interest rate rise, that will hit home owners and businesses, is a consequence of the government's failure to get a grip on electricity prices and the property market, particularly in Auckland."The Green Party...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Rate rise not needed if Government was doing its job
    Today’s interest rate rise wouldn’t have been necessary if the Government had been doing its job properly and targeting the sources of inflation, Labour says. “New Zealand interest rates are among the highest in the world, putting more and more...
    Labour | 23-04
  • Real independence needed in food safety
    The Green Party are calling for a truly independent body to regulate our food safety.Food safety Minister Nikki Kaye has announced the establishment of a Food Safety and Assurance Advisory Council as part of the Government's response to last year's...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Another report won’t help the East Coast
    The Government has a critical role to play in regional development on the East Coast says Gisborne-based Labour MP Moana Mackey “The release of the East Coast Regional Economic Potential Study highlights a number of areas of strength and weakness...
    Labour | 23-04
  • Another interest rate hike will punish mortgage holders
    Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei says another interest rate hike on Thursday will cost home owners an extra $25 a month on a $250,000 mortgage, on top of the $25 dollars a month from the previous rates rise, and she...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Green Party launches Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill
    The Green Party has today launched the Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill, New Zealand's first ever Bill crowdsourced by a political party.Members of the public will be invited to shape the proposed law, which will protect ten basic rights and...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Sanil Kumar has to leave New Zealand tomorrow
    The Associate Minister of Immigration Nikki Kaye’s decision not to intervene means kidney transplant patient Sanil Kumar must leave New Zealand by tomorrow, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Rajen Prasad. “Kumar, a plumber and sheet metal worker, was on a work visa...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Time to do the right thing for our veterans
    A Labour government will adopt the Law Commission’s recommendation to ensure all war veterans are eligible for a Veteran’s Pension, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Veterans are only eligible for the pension if they are considered ‘significantly’ disabled, or more...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Public servant is owed an apology
    Nigel Fyfe is owed an apology from the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “The former MFAT official has now been restored to a position in the Ministry...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Laws for enforcing not trading off
    The idea that a Government department can give a nod and a wink to traders that it won’t enforce shop trading laws and for a Government MP to then claim it as grounds for a review of the law is...
    Labour | 21-04
  • Kiwis still paying too much for ACC
    Kiwis are still paying too much for ACC so that the National Government can balance its books, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “ACC Minister Judith Collins told Cabinet levies were too high but ACC’s proposed cuts would impact the...
    Labour | 21-04
  • Collins’ memory recovery raises further concerns
    Judith Collins sudden memory of briefing the New Zealand Ambassador to China about her dinner with a Chinese border official and her husband's fellow Oravida directors raises further concerns about exactly what was discussed, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. "This...
    Labour | 21-04
  • MP to attend progressive politics conference
    Labour MP Grant Robertson will attend the Progressive Governance conference in Amsterdam later this week. “This conference brings together Social Democratic parties from around the world to discuss how progressive politics should work in the post global financial crisis environment....
    Labour | 20-04
  • Storm fans fire service commitment
    Further damage from the huge storm that battered the West Coast was prevented by the great work of our volunteer Fire Service and locals will be extremely grateful, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our region has been...
    Labour | 19-04
  • Time for Ryall to fix mistakes and help families
    Families who won a long and lengthy Court battle for financial help to support their disabled daughters and sons are now facing a new battle with health system bureaucracy and need the Health Minister's help, Labour's Disability Issues spokesperson Ruth...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Time for greater ministerial accountability
    The Green Party has today released a proposal to introduce a ministerial disclosure regime in New Zealand to improve the transparency and accountability of government.The proposal, based on the system used in the United Kingdom since 2010, would require all...
    Greens | 18-04
  • Power prices soar on the eve of winter
    On the eve of winter as New Zealanders are turning on their heaters, power prices have soared sky high, Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says. “Energy Minster Simon Bridges claimed in Parliament that prices were estimated to rise 2.4 per...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Workers can kiss goodbye to Easter Sunday off
    The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. “The Labour Minister...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Businesses need to respect workers this Easter
    Businesses intent on flouting Easter shopping laws should face stiff penalties, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today. This Easter, at least one major garden centre chain intends to open on Good Friday despite this being in breach...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney's Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members' ballot. “It’s time the Government acted in the interests of families,” Sue Moroney says. “National has tried every...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the price for Genesis far too low in a desperate attempt to beef up demand....
    Labour | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Associate Immigration spokesperson. “In the past 12 months, temporary...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Since 2009 resignation rates among sworn staff have...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand to revisit its decision to evict an essential community organisation in Christchurch with only eight weeks notice.Yesterday at the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence support services the organisation...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand,