Cron failure and other oddness system wide?


I work with five different accounts on Dreamhost. One of them is a VPS. Some of them are shared hosting. Some of them are 501c3 free-for-non-profit hosting.

I noticed the other day that all my crons stopped working. For all accounts, system wide. Some of these accounts had crons created through the panel. Some had crons created using ssh. When I crontab -e at ssh, I get the request to create a new cron, as if I never had one to begin with.

All my previous crons are erased, if they were created using ssh and non-functional if created in the panel interface.

They’ve been out for months. I like to keep a daily backup of a couple crucial websites, and drupal requires an hourly cron. Some of my drupal installs are multisite installs.

All of them are no longer working with cron.

While I was doing this, I also realized that there are a number of other problems system wide. Mysql has slowed to a snail’s pace. On the one site that’s a VPS, when I do:

I get 11 requests per second. Yet my load is almost zero and my actual memory usage (not including cached memory) is less than 25mb average out of the 633mb allotted. With cached memory the total is almost always less than 100mb. I’m well within my usage needs.

But when I use the administrative interface for drupal or even wordpress, caching isn’t done, so I get speeds that are terribly slow. It’s almost impossible to edit a page. Reports are now showing gateway timeouts.

I don’t really know a way to measure the load or the memory usage on the mysql server. The only thing I know to do is an apache benchmark. 11 requests per second seems really slow. I can only conclude the problem has to be something to do with mysql being on its own separate server.

Also the vps and non-profits are not able to do apache benchmarks, nor can they do traceroutes, but my shared hosting clients accounts can. The vps and non-profit accounts are supposed to be better than the shared hosting accounts, so I don’t understand why appropriate tools like ab and traceroute are unavailable to these types of users while any of the shared hosting users can access these tools as they please.

Anyway, these are the things I’m seeing. I’d like to know if anyone else has seen any of these things too.


Astonishingly slow, and I’d tend to agree with your conclusion.

It might be a good idea just to implement an alternate design where you can (sqlite).


Thanks for confirming, sXi.

I’ve got a support request in.
It never used to be this slow.

I’m not very knowledgeable about this, but I have to wonder if they have a bug in their mysql server cluster software.

I wish I could implement sqlite but drupal 6 isn’t very friendly with sqlite, and attempting to transfer all of these sites to that platform is a nightmare I wouldn’t get paid to do.

I’m assuming none of your crons have been deleted or hampered. I’d be curious to know if my cron experience has been the case with anyone else.


I don’t have any active crons here at DreamHost at present so can’t be of any help there.

I think most of the forum regulars have multiple crontabs. There were recent reports by one or two concerning not receiving cronjob emails, but that was later assumed to be a problem with over-exuberant email spam filters as opposed to actual job failure… or erasure. Maybe one of the regulars will drop by to offer comment.


I have one active cron on a shared host, it has mail() output on one condition but always exits silently (i.e. no output via cron). I’ve not had any problems with it, other than occasional mail delays, and it’s definitely still running.


Thanks again for your replies. Apparently this is only affecting my client accounts. Weird. All of their passwords have been changed since the “Great DH Password Change” in january, and all of them have the most recent versions of wp/drupal/etc., so I’m pretty sure my clients’ accounts have not been compromised. I’m waiting on a response from DH for a trouble ticket with one particularly good example broken cron on one account. I’ll post when I get their feedback.