Dreamhost MySQL servers too unstable to host blogs

Support ticket, November 20, 2005:

My Wordpress blog at http://www.escapepod.org is giving me the following error:

"Error establishing a database connection

This either means that the username and password information in your wp-config.php file
is incorrect or we can’t contact the database server at db-escape-blog.extraneous.org.
This could mean your host’s database server is down."

When I SSHed into my account and tried to connect to the database via the command line,
I got:

“ERROR 2013 (HY000): Lost connection to MySQL server during query”

The database in question is “escape_blog” at host db-escape-blog.extraneous.org. Your
MySQL status page indicates that this database is hosted on your server ‘grizabella.’

This blog drives my podcast, which is subscribed to by thousands of people daily, and I
had essential maintenance I intended to perform on it tonight. Without the ability to
connect to the database I’m essentially paralyzed, and anyone coming to my site sees that
ridiculous error message, which loses audience for me.

Between this, the fact that the site was down for more than an hour on Friday, and shorter
site outages on a frequent basis, I’m really beginning to lose faith in Dreamhost’s
reliability. Please fix this IMMEDIATELY.

Support ticket, November 26, 2005:

Cf. support log #5646302 – my Wordpress blog is once again giving me a “Error
establishing datbase connection” message. And the status feed from Feedburner.com on my
RSS feed indicates that the site has been up and down since 3 PM, with a probable constant
outage between 3 PM and 6 PM.

This is the second time in one week that I’ve experienced a downtime of several hours. Every
site I host with you relies on MySQL, and my primary podcast site has thousands of hits per
day. This level of availability is unacceptable.

Strike two. If a MySQL outage of more than a few minutes happens again this year, I will take
all of my domains elsewhere and make sure that everyone I’m in contact with via my blog and
podcast knows why.

Support ticket, December 10, 2005:

Cf. support log #5646302 and log #5677306 – my Wordpress blog is once again giving
me a “Error establishing datbase connection” message. It’s been over an hour this time,
I’ve had e-mail from my users, and the status feed from Feedburner.com on my RSS feed
indicates that the site was also down for some hours early this morning.

The last time this happened, I asked you to move my most important database to a more
stable MySQL server, and supposedly that was done. Obviously it didn’t help. I also said
that if I experienced extended downtime for a third time this year, I would take all of my
domains elsewhere.

Well, this is strike three. I hate to have to do this, because your cost and features are
excellent, but Dreamhost has proven itself too unreliable to host my content. I have a
podcast with over 3,000 weekly listeners, and it’s growing. When people can’t reach my
Web site or my RSS feed, I lose audience. I’ve observed these MySQL problems for nearly a
month now and you don’t seem interested in fixing them quickly. Since you can’t keep my
site available, I’ll have to take it to someone who does.

That’s going to take a bit of time, however. In the meantime, how quickly you bring my
database back up and whether it stays up as I make my migration will determine whether I
make my bad Dreamhost experience public – on my blog, in my podcast, and on several
Internet communities.

Support ticket, December 17, 2005:

Once again, my podcast with 4,000 weekly listeners and more than 35,000 site visits per
week is dead because of a Wordpress “Error establishing a database connection.”

This is the fourth time in 40 days that it’s been out for a period of several hours. The second
time it happened, one of your support people moved my escape_blog database to a MySQL
server that was supposed to be more stable – or so he claimed. Obviously it did not help.

I am rapidly going from aggravated with Dreamhost to furious.

will post thorough and specific details of my site outages, including the error message and
length of outage, on the support forums at Wordpress.org, the Yahoo! Podcasters list, and
Webhostingtalk.com. I will do my best to make sure that everyone I am in contact with
knows that Dreamhost is too unstable to host blogs.

That’s not a threat. That’s accurate reporting.

My Wordpress is working perfectly fine on my blog - I have three Wordpress blogs for 3 different sites and they are all perfectly fine. I am using MYSQL for my fanlistings and they are working perfectly fine too :slight_smile:
Because of Dreamhost’s MYSQL being different (as in the localhost), some people make mistakes with the config.

I’ve given an example here:

define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘myname’); // This is the 'dbname@blog.domain.com’
define(‘DB_USER’, ‘myblog’);
define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘password’);
define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘blog.domain.com’); //It is NOT dbname@blog.domain.com

:slight_smile: You can move your own databases. Just delete the current one you have and set up a new database. It is likely to be on another server (You can check this in you cpanel). My databases are currently on three servers but I don’t choose the servers.

I hope this helps!

There’s no mistake with my configuration. My Wordpress blog’s been up since May and I haven’t altered the MySQL parameters since it was created. The several-hour downtimes I’ve experienced on November 20, November 26, December 10 and today were not due to any changes in my site settings. They are due to instabilities in Dreamhost’s servers.

I’m not going to play hopscotch with my database on the random chance that it might change servers; this blog database has already been on two servers, including one that was sworn to be high-availability. It didn’t help. For all I know I’d switch to one that was worse. The problem is Dreamhost’s responsibility to solve. Or else it’s my responsibility to switch to a hosting provider that can actually host, and let everyone know why I changed.

Those of us who have been at DreamHost for several years will not argue with you about that.

Probably a good idea, if your site is so “mission critical” and 24/7/365 uptime is required. As for having to “let everyone know” why you switched, I suppose venting is healthy. I suggest, however, that you be prepared to answer why you chose extremely inexpensive shared-server hosting for a site that can’t survive occasional outages, or you are likely to end up looking more than a little clueless :wink:

With the type of traffic you report, I should think you ought to be able to generate enough revenue to afford your own box, and I’m sure there are those here who could give you some suggestions on how to generate revenue from your traffic. Which, if your site(s) continue to be successfull and grow, you are going to have to do eventually because real bandwidth demanded by popular podcasting is likely to get expensive.

Keep us posted on your search for the magical hosting bullet!


Four downtimes of several hours each in the course of a month. This time it’s still out, making for almost 12 hours so far. Does that sound reasonable to you?

Revenue is not my problem. Bandwidth is not my problem. My MP3 files are offloaded to a service that specializes in that. This is just my blog, man. Are you telling me it’s unreasonable to expect Dreamhost’s shared hosting to handle a Wordpress blog that gets 5,000 hits a day?

As it happens I am moving. I said I would a week ago, when the third outage happened – but I haven’t moved yet and meanwhile my site is dead because the MySQL server was down for all of Saturday night. For the fourth time.

I ask again, is this reasonable? Do you really think I’m overreacting for being upset about that?

Yea, a lot of people who respond “well, if you need mission critical, go somewhere else and pay $500/month” are missing it completely. They think there’s nothing in between totally lousy service and perfect service. The amount of downtime you a describing is totally unacceptable. The only people who can tolerate that downtime are people who get 5 hits a day to their site.

And of course, you’ll get the chorus of people who say “well my service is working perfectly.” Like that helps you at all or somehow negates your problems.

The fact is, 5000 hits per day is not that busy of a site. It’s totally reasonable to expect much better uptime. I’ve only been with dreamhost a relatively short time, but I’ve experienced some of the issues you are describing. I’ve been a customer of several hosts in the past, and anecdotal, dreamhost is certainly near the bottom of that list in terms of reliability. The feature-set is impressive, but their ability to offer reliability at the price they are charging and the rate of growth they are experiencing is near impossible. With that said, other hosts are able to make it happen.

I hope everything works out well for you, though. You’re not the only one in that position. Merry Christmas/Happy holidays.

Was my advice or comment helpful? Then please click my referral link!

I get more than 5000 hits a day for my fansite but I’m not complaining about the downtime!

Yes I know that uptime is critical and I know how you feel. It’s the same thing with my fansite…when it’s down, I lose alot of visitors but that doesn’t mean that they will stop visiting your blog! :slight_smile:

A few months ago, I bought some hosting off Frozen Midnight and the fact is, they’ve been hacked 2-3 times and I lost all my databases all over and over again. Their uptime is much more worse than Dreamhost - that I can assure you. It was more like experiencing 10 hours of downtime everyday!

Good luck with your new host :slight_smile: Not all hosts are perfect.

You may want to create a simple MySQL connection page to try and figure out what the problem is. Upload this to your domain, and browse it:[code]<?php

// initialize database variables
$hostname = “db-escape-blog.extraneous.org”;
$username = “your username”;
$password = “your password”;
$database = “escape_blog”;

// connect to MySQL
$link = mysql_connect($hostname,$username,$password);
if($link) {
print “Connected to MySQL”;
// select database
mysql_select_db($database) or die ("Cannot select database: ".mysql_error());
} else {
print “Could not connect to MySQL”;
?>[/code]Let us know what you get.

Simon Jessey
Keystone Websites (business site) | si-blog (personal site with affiliate links)

No, it does not sound reasonale to me, and I did not mean to sound like I was trivializing your situation.

[quote]This is just my blog, man. Are you telling me it’s unreasonable to expect Dreamhost’s shared hosting to handle a Wordpress blog that gets 5,000 hits a day?
Again, No. I never indicated that I thought there was anything unreasonable about your expectations. I was only suggesting that the problem I have found is that it is easy to jump from the frying pan into the fire, and I was sincere in my request that you share with us the results of your search for new hosting…


I’ve been having the exact same problems with MySQL recently. This time, MySQL has been out for at least twelve hours. The script posted above says the connection is lost, and yes my login data is correct.

I understand that you get what you pay for, but having a critical service for many sites, like MySQL, down for so long in unacceptable. Even extremely shaky websites run by idiots like myspace.com seem to fix their problems faster.