Site Issues

If you noticed general slowness and or occasional outages in the last few hours I apologize. I was busy eating a late lunch at work, which included a salad that contained lethal dose of garlic. Seriously, I could totally slay a vampire with my breath right now. That is if we are talking about a universe in which vampires are vulnerable to garlic. So White Wolf’s World of Darkness is definitely out. Were vamps in Buffy affected by garlic? I don’t remember. Anyway, assuming that vampires hurt by garlic, my blood would probably be lethal to them. The salad, despite being a tad too garlicky was not that bad.

So while I was doing that, the server started acting all kinds of wonky. When ssh’d over and ran top, I noticed that the average server load was waaay over 200. Now, depending on your number of CPU’s and cores per CPU maximum acceptable server load may vary. But on modest hardware with 1 or 2 CPU’s you really don’t want to see that number being above 10. If your server load is a two digit number, it usually means you are having a bad day.

Server load over 200 means that this machine was pretty much dead (and possibly on fire). It went down few seconds later. Since the reboot, the load dropped down to much more acceptable 20. Two digit system load seems to be a norm around here. :(

I guess you get what you pay for. Thanks Dreamhost! I really appreciate that you are overselling the shit out of your resources.

Anyway, if you guys have suggestions for good hosting companies please post them in the comments. I need:

  1. LAMP – cause fuck windows, and fuck IIS and fuck ASP
  2. Full shell access (cause I’m not gonna fuck around with web panels)
  3. Cron jobs, and similar goodies.
  4. Decent amount of space, and no silly database quotas
  5. Not too expensive

And I do realize that decent hosts who do not oversell won’t give me the as much space and bandwidth as dreamhost. I’m just looking for something roughly comparable. I’m actually thinking about trying virtual hosting so that I can reboot my own machine and have root access. Anyone has a good host who offers this kind of services?

[tags]site outage, site issues, problem, slowness, dreamhost sucks, server load[/tags]

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9 Responses to Site Issues

  1. I have two recommendations:

    1) For slightly more-expensive access with a great track record for not going down, Downside: It’s a non-root account on a FreeBSD box; there’s some stuff they won’t install.

    2) For incredibly inexpensive access, Highly recommended for techy folks. They have a really cool grid custom-built that should keep your site up regardless of the status of any individual server. (IE they automatically shuffle instances between servers for fault-tolerance and load balancing.) Downside: Had some downtime recently during a migration to another data center. NFSN has the approach that you’re only billed for storage and bandwidth that you actually use. No monthly cost at all.

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  2. Fr3d UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Actually you don’t want the load average to be any higher than the number of physical CPUs and cores – see Wikipedia entry on Load Average ;)

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  3. Ian Clifton UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    @Fr3d: You want the lowest number possible, obviously, but it can be somewhat “artificially” inflated by NFS, which is one of the reasons Dreamhost servers see numbers anywhere from 1-2 up to 800+!

    I’ll be keeping an eye on suggestions here though, because I’m definitely ready to move on when my contract is up.

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  4. Aaron UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    I’m running on and have never had an issue in the year or so I’ve been hosted by them. You won’t get 500 GB of space, but they are big on not overselling and I have never noticed an issue with the tech end of my website and they have always provided prompt service.

    They fit into all of your criteria and run on LAMP (Litespeed), have shell access*, Cron jobs, and access to your DNS records.

    * I’m not 100% sure if it is full access or not because I have never needed to use it.

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  5. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Well, being on dreamhost I’m happy whenever it falls down to single digits. Double digits is almost universally bad even if you have a beffy machine with oodles of CPU’s, NFS and etc..

    Thanks for the tips! Keep them coming. :)

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  6. Craig Betts UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS Terminalist says: . . .

    I have been very happy with this host. Travis has had good luck as well.

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  7. Tummblr UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    For shared hosting, I’m a big fan of NearlyFreeSpeech.NET. They have a cluster backend like the much-hyped MediaTemple, and place a lot of emphasis on redundant systems. But their most special feature is the payment model: you pay for exactly what you use, no more, no less, no fixed fee. So they can be *extremely* cheap for smaller websites. Here’s a nice review:
    Unfortunately, NFSN doesn’t have cron. You’d have to use something like

    For $20/mo, you can get state-of-the-art performance and features with a virtual private server at Slicehost. The downside is that since Slicehost does not oversell at all and buys new servers each week depending on signups, there is currently a waitlist. You also need to manage your own server. Slicehost’s performance is better than any shared web host can possibly offer. Quite a few times, I remark at the speed of a medium-sized site I visit, and after I look them up I discover they are hosted at Slicehost.

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  8. Adam UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:


    Great shared hosting, straightforward pricing, and fast service in my experience.

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    Trust me, its well worth it… and if for anyreason you need ANY kind of support you will have a reply to any question within 15 minutes of ticket.. almost guarenteed.
    Honestly its the best webhosting the internet has to offer… A slightly higher price but you get what you pay for. check that out

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