f-ed up all day, now I'm locked



out of my shell account - dreamhost doesn’t reply to support requests - what do I do when every page on my site is an internal server error? It suggests I contact the webmaster but he doesn’t have ssh access to try to fix it - what a dumbass

hey dreamhost - please call my phone number on file - please - the only day in history that my website gets any traffic and it’s a total fiasco - this is so ridiculous - apparently one can’t run a wordpress blog on shared hosting - and they don’t tell you your account is being locked out - and they don’t respond to support - I am so pissed my anger is angry - and this is from someone who’s always loved dreamhost and told them so - turns out they’re happy to serve your site as long as no one comes to it - the day you get traffic - SOL!


man, look at that - front page of - a budding humor site can’t do much better than that

oh and look,
sportsillustrated/ - I bet that might bring in a few people

maybe they’d subscribe to my feed - maybe they’d bookmark me and come back - maybe they’d read some of my articles - maybe one or two would click an ad?

you know what would be the BEST way to take advantage of this great exposure - have the site (a foo blog) broken all day - then, when those links are gone tomorrow and traffic goes back to nothing maybe Dreamhost will fix things - maybe that’s the ‘dream’ part - tomorrow I can dream about how great it would have been for my website if it had been online when people came to it - I can dream about how my readership would have grown - and I can dream about support replying to my emails too or helping out - not things like:

Ok well it looks like the permissions on your home directory were set to
600 instead of 751. I corrected that and the site is back online. I’m not
sure exactly how that happened. I don’t see any notes about your site. It
is possible that a tech was working on this and forgot to set it back to
the proper settings, though that is pretty uncommon.


Sorry but we can only do so much to keep sites alive that are being
pounded by traffic. I’ve already had to powercycle (meaning reboot) the
server you are on because you ended up crashing it with too high of load,
and right now it still has 212 load. We’ll try to do what we can to keep
it alive, but to make it better withstand the flood:

If the site does continue to crash the server, we may need to throttle or
disable the site. We can’t allow one site to cause all customers on the
cupcake server to have slow or inaccessible websites until the traffic
flood stops.

fun - so, yeah, dreamhost is a dream of a host just as long as you don’t get a single text link to your site from popular websites (not slashdot, not even digg or reddit)

I’d take this all offline but dreamhost doesn’t believe in phone support - another dream I guess!


Did you buy phone support?

Also, did you do load testing of your site? If you don’t highly optimize a high traffic WordPress blog, being slashdotted is a surefire way of taking a server down. And we’re talking a full dedicated server - it wouldn’t matter if you were on dedicated hosting rather than shared hosting. If the traffic from your site is taking down a dual processor dual core 4GB server, I don’t think it’s shared hosting that’s the problem. The solutions to the problem involve either optimization or clustering of some kind.

That said, congratulations on your fame. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to have all this traffic bring your site down. BTW, if you remember those old IBM commercials about dynamically adjustable hosting based on server demand - a bunch of my buddies worked at a company bought into it. It worked but their hosting bill was like $4 million a year.

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I just came from the blog and saw this there… the exchange that’s going on between Brian and Jeff has really raised my concern and I will be very interested in finding out more about what is happening.

Having to throttle or shut down a site I can completely understand, but I will be anxious to hear what’s going on with the lock out stuff.

I saw mention that several permissions were changed… that seems to me that it could be from either Dreamhost, or perhaps the version of wordpress that was being used had security vulnerabilities and was hacked by one of Brian’s new visitors. If it was Dreamhost techs, I will definitely want to know what was done and why, because I must admit that this whole scenario is a little scary… I would personally not enjoy being locked out of my account for anything non-malevolent.

Please keep us posted as this sequence of events completes itself.


Hey dwr, I wouldn’t be too afraid:

I’m sure I’ll be reamed out for being judgmental, but it seems to me to be hypocritical to on the one hand complain about not getting help and on the other hand complain about being locked out. I’ve been asked to stop doing stuff to my DreamHost PS server because it was being worked on by the professionals in Technical Support. When all hell is breaking loose because of server overload and you’re the tech guy in there trying to keep the site up while one of us self-admitted newbies (no offense intended) is in there editing files and screwing up the database at the same time, my first instinct would be to shut him out while I tried to pick up the pieces.

Anyway, as I said in an earlier post, I mean no offense and I apologize beforehand if some of the things I’ve said here have hurt anyone’s feelings. In this case, I feel obligated to try to stick my neck out and give an alternate viewpoint in the (perhaps vain) hope that through understanding that if the OP couldn’t optimize the site after 12 hours of work and the site’s combination of performance characteristics and load continued to threaten the stability and usability of the server, that there was going to be no good outcome short of hiring a $25-$50 an hour web consultant to optimize the site.

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guys, some day I will try to write all of this up - it will be an article 10x longer than any currently on my website - twists and turns and all sorts of stuff - and in the end (end? I think/hope) dreamhost comes through - at least you can go to my website now and it exists - and I still haven’t slept (24 hours in a few more and then my new day starts at work - where I still am - hah), but hey, sometimes you have to do what you have to do - which is part of the story though too

anyway, very briefly, a couple of quick points:

wp-cache wasn’t enabled b/c I hadn’t come to understand it yet - when the site was destroyed and I couldn’t get in, well, I couldn’t correct it - finally get in and click the activate button (after who knows how many timeouts) and believe it goes through - but nothing is fixed and then, later, I can’t get in my site (locked out)

what happens I see is that even though I activated wp-cache, it didn’t take b/c not having it active before, I had the other checkbox ticked to do gzip - wp-cache doesn’t allow that - only after the site was destroyed and who knows, 20 hours later after jeff’s intervention led to a tech getting in touch with me and letting me back on, was I able to go into the admin, check the wp-cache, see the error message, go to uncheck the gzip box, then go back and ACTUALLY activate/enable wp-cache

the times I wrote that I had deactivated all plugins, I had, wp-cache included, but even when I made it the only one ‘active’ from the plugins page (and it was the only one active) it was not ENABLED and hence didn’t help anything - get it?

I wish I had gotten wp-cache before all of this (obviously) but I had tried it off and on at times and found that it made the dynamic parts of my site not dynamic - since I never had much traffic before, it was fine - the day I got traffic, well you read what happened, and then as I’m assessing what’s going on I get locked out and then, well you saw :slight_smile:

let’s see, I am so tired - ok, so now working with cache, understanding it better (turns out that was only possible once I saw what happens with/out it) and some day (not today) I will start trying to figure out how to make my site like it was but with the dynamic parts dynamic and the rest wp-cached - I’ve seen some tutorials, even in depth ones, and it apparently is quite a beast of a task - so, that might be a while

um, I know I had other details to write - oh, so I was not mistaken, I really was locked out of my account (ssh/ftp) but not because anyone banned me - apparently to deal w/ the out of control traffic, an admin did an unconventional thing of putting a kill loop on all my processes (?) - anyway, that meant that anything that started on my site would get killed in milliseconds - that is an effective way to keep a site causing problems from causing problems - Glen, the tech who followed up on what I can only imagine was Jeff’s tip/suggestion/whatever, discovered after some back and forths that this had the unintended but perhaps hard to notice effect of killing my ssh/ftp sessions milliseconds after I initiated them - so, yeah, I really could not then go into the site and try to fix things - I hacked as much as I know how to hack (not much) by coming across the dumb luck thing of getting, within those milliseconds into the backend of my site (reloading hundreds of times), getting to the .htaccess file through manage > files > other, and changing it to get back my static site - not bad for someone who doesn’t know this stuff - I just had to load the page until it loaded, make the changes, and keep submitting to have it go through before my process was killed - this worked to get back the static site BUT I wanted to try to further figure things out and kept making changes to the .htaccess - one time my update must have gotten killed midway through, the data was messed up, and that led to any request to my site NOT going to my static page, NOT going to my wordpress (and then dying), but just going to like - that is when I finally was through - nothing else I could do - you see that as my response to jeff because, genuinely, I appreciated his helpfulness/politeness and I just had no more options (going from like, as close to no options as you can get before that but still trying)

so … glen went back and forth with me on email, replied to ALL my outstanding service requests first (so like it was all the progessively more frustrated emails I wrote coming back to me at once, with polite/detailed explanations of what he could best surmise was going on) and not just that he was sorry things weren’t working (although apparently my site was killing the server for some reasons he outlined - again, the no wp-cache thing) but that he really liked my article and wished my site success - so

as I wrote before (not sure on the blogs or just in service emails - some day maybe I’ll publish this whole tale) I was always a big fan of DH before today but I guess never really had to use them much (was just a fan of how they helped out with my little things) - then this happened, I got destroyed/ruined, and it really was an all day giant cluster-f that came when for the first time ever my site was being tested - and it sucked - horribly - and it cost me tons of great benefits - so I was pissed - and unable to get anyone to respond to me - so I got creative - so, the morals?

I don’t know - well, maybe I have some, but I’ll sleep on them (saturday?) plus look at the whole thing with some perspective - it is a very strange series of events that took me from loving DH to hating DH to appreciating them again but still not being satisfied with how this, my first ‘real’ day online went - a lot could have been done differently but then again it’s hard to say that it should have been from any perspective other than my own because, apparently, the site really was trashing my - it’s certainly a pickle - short term consequences mean keeping a keen eye to the site (as best I can) to make sure it doesn’t start getting choked out again and reducing plugins if it does (they are already reduced/changed, but now that I’m caching working my way back) and longer term learning how to configure the site for wp-cache and the other load-optimizers so I can get back my currently gone functionality, so I can run the site I want but so that it still GETS run and doesn’t ever lead to this kind of situation again

again, it’s a tricky story and one I still haven’t quite yet processed


oh I missed:

no phone support - apparently I could have at some point but I didn’t know that (and had no need) but now I can’t? I don’t know - no phone support is really bad

as for the permissions changed - I don’t know - that explanation didn’t make any sense - it was the first one of the day - regardless, I DIDN’T change any permissions - I was asleep when the site went down - seems more to me that the site getting hit with traffic did something or perhaps they have a process that automatically changes permissions so files can’t be accessed if they are crashing a server? maybe something like that - anyway, that in the end was neither the cause of the problems nor much more than a red herring, I believe - and the site wasn’t hacked, that was just my first thought when I looked at my page and there was no page - just too much traffic or at least too much traffic as that traffic was being handled


blah blah blah …

I quit caring when you made an ass out of yourself on the DreamHost blog. Repeatedly. Like a fool.

You didn’t know what you were doing, your site couldn’t handle the traffic you got, you went off half-cocked in public, and you ended up looking stupid and juvenile.

Jeff is a prince, and you got a lot better than you deserved.




and yet that brings us to one of the heretofore unmentioned morals - what does one have to do to get help when no help is given?


Pay for it, like everyone else. The help you received from the staff here was well beyond what any other shared host would have normally given you. In most cases, they would have shut your site off completely and either told you to upgrade to a dedicated server plan or go somewhere else.

Seriously - if you know that little about what you’re doing, then complaining about it and asking for other people to help you when it’s literally killing a server other people are likewise on, is the worst thing you could possibly do. I feel sorry for you in due consideration of the fact that you have no real knowledge of what’s going on and how to fix it; but again, it appears you’re a “button-clicker”: where pushing buttons and turning things on and off is the farthest extent of your abilities as a webmaster. In this regard, your complaint about support not helping you is completely unfounded and laughable at best. Do your research next time and actually put some effort into WHAT it is you’re getting yourself into. Ask questions and seek help BEFORE creating the situation you’ve found yourself in here. This IS a shared host after all and you can’t possibly expect such a server to handle such load without having first been properly optimized to do so. From what it sounds like, and I may be wrong, you weren’t expecting this to happen at all and because of that, and that alone, I do feel sorry for you.
I can only imagine how much of a surprise this has all been.
Blaming other people however should not have been your first approach to this situation. Working WITH others is the best possible way to handle such things, not the opposite.

That said, I imagine a good deal of people here on the forums would be overly glad to assist you in discovering better methods of optimizing your site, and all for free. Outside of help here, hiring someone who actually knows what their doing would be your next best option. I personally always try to plan ahead, imagining what the “worst” that could happen to my site would be, and then preparing for just that. I myself have very little webmastering knowledge in regards to optimizing a site, but I do ask questions and do some research on whatever it is I’m using in order to at least have a better understanding of what may or may not go wrong and (hopefully) how to fix it if things get out of hand.

I’d also like to take this moment to point out the fact that DreamHost has always offered “callback” support to all but the first (cheapest) tier of their plans. Outside of that, DreamHost has NEVER professed any phone support and, had you done your research before investing in an account with DreamHost, would have noted this fact and not even bothered to mention it. So please, don’t make yourself look like a bigger fool and just stop talking about something that has never existed and something you clearly had never bothered to research prior to purchasing an account. It makes me feel a lot less interested in helping you in the future.

Good luck with your site all the same - hopefully you’ve learned something from this experience and will apply the proper attitude the next time you handle it again. :slight_smile:

Chips N Cheese - Custom PHP installs and the like!


BTW, don’t despair at all the lost traffic. Most sites that leap from obscurity to front-page news go down under the pressure - even the ones that are on dedicated hosting. Many visitors understand this.

Remember, your site is not a link farm. You don’t really benefit all that much from one-timers. Your bread-and-butter are return visitors who are genuinely interested in your content. This means that the people who are genuinely interested in the content described by sites you mention will know that your site has been hammered and will just bookmark you for a later return.

Who is this seemingly snide remark directed at?

If it’s DreamHost, it seems to me that they’ve given you a lot of help - in fact more help that I would have expected at this price/service level, as Mousee has pointed out. I’m actually reassured by your story as it looks to me like they really do their best in a bad situation to keep sites up rather than just shut them off when they’re “misbehaving”.

If it’s us, your neighbors, then it’s high time you learned that the world does not revolve around panic-stricken alarmists. I really hate that coffee cup that civil service lifers have that says “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on my part”. I think it is callous and unsympathetic, but I think there is a good lesson in it as long as you don’t apply it universally. Take the posters on this forum. I’m happy to help people who are in trouble with their sites or need help out of a programming jam they’ve coded themselves into. This is great when things work out. Everyone can pat each other on the back.

When things don’t work out is where the trouble can start. Even then, most of the time the individual needing help realizes that people are trying to help them out of their difficult situation - a situation of their own making.

It’s those cases where things aren’t going so well and the person you’ve tried to help turns on you when things get ugly. I don’t pretend to fully understand why this happens, but the pop psychology books I read lead me to think that people who are insecure or arrogant (yeah, both ends of the spectrum) will look to blame others rather than take responsibility for their own actions. To some extent, we are all tempted by this at one time or other - mostly because taking responsibility generally makes you feel really bad. But taking responsibility for my own actions, understanding that everyone is human and so not beating myself up for my mistakes, and turning my bad feelings into a conviction to learn from my mistakes and do better next time has led me to a much better place - both at work and at home.

Heh, sorry for the soapboxing.

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After reading your post EARLY this morning I’m good. Being shown a more full picture really helps a lot.

True enough! I was to some degree concerned that he “wasn’t getting help”, but it was really just my attention being focused on expecting that to mean a reply to a ticket. Obviously, getting help doesn’t have to equate to reply from ticket, as far as timelines go… what’s important is the actual help getting, which evidently WAS happening. So good point there!


Forgot to mention:
Very satisfied with the explanation of locking permissions by the tech to keep the user from tinkering while trying to be helped.

Much appreciated,

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain


will have to read these after I’ve slept, but while there were things I could have done differently, you guys are missing a lot here - after the site was shut down, I wasn’t able to make the correction to get it going again, then was left hung out to dry with what Glen called a very peculiar thing done to my site, this kill loop that no one notified me about and was not going to be lifted w/o me effectively diagnosing it w/o the tools to do it

and as for moral of the story, I was hung out to dry and no one was responding at all - the ONLY reason this was worked out was because I found my way to that blog and got people’s attention - that WORKED - apparently one can’t sign up for phone support - when you’ve been left prone and no one is responding to you and you can’t call or even pay $xxxx to get one time phone support, you have to improvise - I did - glad I did

so let’s see, my site runs fine for the balance of its existence - I get big traffic one day and hadn’t prepared for it b/c I never had any before by enabling a plugin that formerly wasn’t needed - site is so wrecked I can’t enable said plugin and give permission to those that did respond to enable it on my behalf - that would have fixed it - instead, things go from bad to worse until I can’t make modifications to try to correct things (and you will note, or perhaps would have to see the full customer support history, that I am discovering from without things that aren’t being diagnosed from within), and then someone puts and all-kill process on everything on my site without making any note in my file or telling any other tech so that as I’m writing to say I can’t get in I’m just ignored (perhaps still now if not for the blog posting), likely cast aside as someone complaining about some not true situation (it was true) that I could correct (I couldn’t - kill all cycle)

hmmm - then the blog postings, the nice help from Jeff, and someone helps me out, very pleasantly/professionally, but it would not have happened until … if not for Jeff’s intervention

And as for a button-pusher - f- off - I don’t profess to be a sysadmin but I graduated magna cum laude w/ a B.S. in computer science and am running/building this site in my spare time (or should be) - I was having to discover/pull all sorts of tricks to just try to be able to get in to make changes to try to get this resolved - I don’t think I care to, at least know I do not not, but the long story that is an interesting one and one in the end that wasn’t all bad (but was definitely some bad) perhaps w/ the complete support history and hijinks across this board and the blog, timestamps and screenshots, and some fun story telling it will be an interesting read - perhaps not

Still have not slept and am just enjoying having my site operational and growing - I’m not painting DH as the villain here - it is a story of some grays and I have that from some DH employees as well - maybe you’re auditioning for a part or something, but I’m not interested - I only came back to fill in some of the epilogue because poster(s) here explicitly expressed interest in reading it - I came to comply but don’t need to continue


From what we’ve just witnessed, that is a truly sobering statement. :open_mouth:



Hey, don’t worry rlparker, I’m a bit of a button-pusher myself and I have a similar background.

They just didn’t teach webmastering back when I was in school. Heck, we didn’t even have email. Heck, the profs were researching whether you could solve any problems using more than one computer with communication and cooperation between the processes. :slight_smile:

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Good point, there! Your experience with formal computer science training kinda mirrors my own to a great degree. :slight_smile:

Controlling hysteria, basic social skills, and understanding the appropriateness of going off-topic in a blog comment to scream for attention and help (and then being “glad” you “did it” because “it worked”) are not the kinds of things most CS curricula spend much time on; one often has to learn those things in the “real world”. :wink:



oh my god, you are such a tool - what’s the point of this? of you? peace


And as for a button-pusher - f- off - I don’t profess to be a sysadmin but I graduated magna cum laude w/ a B.S. in computer science and am running/building this site in my spare time (or should be) - I was having to discover/pull all sorts of tricks to just try to be able to get in to make changes to try to get this resolved - I don’t think I care to, at least know I do not not, but the long story that is an interesting one and one in the end that wasn’t all bad (but was definitely some bad) perhaps w/ the complete support history and hijinks across this board and the blog, timestamps and screenshots, and some fun story telling it will be an interesting read - perhaps not[/quote]
Oh man that’s rich. I don’t care where or how you graduated - a piece of paper doesn’t say ANYTHING about your actual knowledge, other than the fact you know how to fill out other pieces of paper. If you had any clue as to what you were doing, you wouldn’t be claiming to have no idea what was going on, and you wouldn’t STILL be whining about no phone support. Your lack of prior work to optimize your site in preparation for such a hit further exemplifies this point.

And no, I don’t care about your lack of sleep. Go to bed and stop crying about it already. What a tool.

Chips N Cheese - Custom PHP installs and the like!


You have SOME apparently valid points. I can certainly understand being afraid, nervous and upset when something very exiting is happening for you and your site goes down, and you can’t get a timely dialog going with support, then you find that for some reason you can no longer get into your site via FTP or shell. You would pretty much have a couple of choices… just Zen it out, or allow your frustrations to flow, one of which would be profoundly awesome, the other… well understood (at least by me).

You were desperate and felt hopeless, and just wanted SOME word back as to what was happening and what to expect to come. I really do understand.

And I also understand Dreamhost’s view… your site was hammering the server and taking down everyone else on it too… they had to take action to save cupcake and the cupcakers! I myself would ask to be moved to another based on that name alone though… it doesn’t sound TOUGH enough to handle much! I would say “Hey, could you guys put me on railroadspike or somethin?”.

I also believe that if a Dreamhost tech were working on your server they SHOULD have left some brief notes as to what was being done so someone else could pick up where they left off if need be, and I would prefer that whoever started working on it stayed with it, or checked back in on it a little later or something. These, to me, are valid issues.

But perhaps your issue is a little deeper… maybe there was a degree of karma involved for things like this.

Now, keep in mind… I am very much a believer in free speech… and I fully support your freedom to express how you feel about the world, but think about it… the things that you are expressing in the blog post I just linked, and the way you expressed your frustration in the Dreamhost Blog seem to be following a strong pattern of fear, frustration and anger (and what did Yoda have to say about that?)… I think there is a clear possibility that your karma is bringing you into these situations so that you may face them, and hopefully learn to overcome them. This is an awesome opportunity,
is it not?!?!

I am not any better myself… we ALL have our issues to deal with, but I just happened to notice this one and I hope that we can all learn from it, each in our own way. That includes Dreamhost. There does indeed seem to be some spots within their service that was lacking in this instance, and no matter who was at the root of the issue, the entire thing allowed some weaknesses in all parties to surface… and there is nothing wrong with admitting our weaknesses… as a matter of fact, there is no other way for our world to survive and be fit to live in.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain


hey mousse - douchebag - go foo yourself - switch hands for variety - I’ve half skimmed a quarter of your words and every one of those indicates you’re hanging on every syllable of mine - good god - “dh smarty pants” - jesus