Written By: - Date published: 4:59 am, June 30th, 2009 - 33 comments
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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.