HELP ME! Dreamhost can't

Maybe some of you can help me diagnose this problem, since Dreamhost hasn’t been able to. For the past 8 days, my websites have been down or so slow to be useless for at least 4 hours a day. The worst time is always between 10 AM EDT and 3 PM EDT. I get about 1500 visitors a day, which shouldn’t be anything that would crash the server. Most of the sites are Wordpress 1-click installations. There’s little, if any, multimedia or anything else that would cause any problems.

Initally, Dreamhost told me it was a problem on my end with too many scripts. When I removed the few scripts I had, they said my scripts were poorly written. I then removed all scripts not provided by Google or Dreamhost. They then told me that my domains were all running off the same FTP account and that I needed to spread them around. I did this. Same problem, like clockwork, on a daily basis. I deleted a few one-click installations that I had set up and wasn’t using, optimized the MySQL database and blew out my PC with a can of compressed air for good measure ; )

After that they blamed it on their Apache installation, a hard drive failure and other misc. server problems. Now they’ve said they’ve totally replaced the hardware and yet I’m having the same problem ever day. I’ve asked to be moved to a new server as a last resort (I’m currently on Fanta) but so far they’ve not been forthcoming with that.

So any suggestions before I waste my weekend finding and moving to a new web host? My websites are:

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

I have all of my domains under a single user, and I have no problems. Your sites are definitely slow. If you have access to the shell, try checking out your server load to see if that is the problem.

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Has Dreamhost been able to verify the on going 10 -3 problem from their end? And or have you tested site speed from more than one computer?

By looking at your site logs are there a flood of people accessing your site at that time? By looking at your logs (and I’m very disappointed that DH support didn’t do this) it should be a very simple matter to determine if it’s your “scripts” or not.

One other thing to consider is that by default wordpress does not cache pages - and if you’ve got 1500 visitors a day and your server and mysql server have to work to render each and every page for those visitors that could be a huge tax on the server and indeed cause it to slow down. But perhaps you’ve already set up WP to cache pages?

And lastly… WOW, your sites are slow as molasses from my computer. Molasses in the middle of winter, outside in the snow. I’m surprised that the sites are even loading - I half expected to see them time out.

Before considering moving to a new web host I would pressure DH a little more to either give you proof that it’s your scripts or move you to a new server.

–Matttail - personal website

It’s very hard to do proper performance analysis on shared hosting, so I sympathize with your situation and applaud you for trying so hard to figure this out civilly.

There are a couple of things to try that might help pinpoint the problem:

  1. Create a few of benchmark pages or sites. I use a simple static html site, a one-click WordPress installation, and one kinda challenging one-click install like MediaWiki.
  2. Compare the performance of these sites off-peak and on-peak.
  • Depending on which one is “slower than you think it should be” and whether it’s slow only on-peak or both on-peak and off-peak, you can rule out a few problems.
  • In the situations where it is slow, analyze both the performance of individual scripts and do a real-time analysis (for example, with “top”) of what’s going on on your server when your script is slow.

There are obviously more steps after this and, of course, detail left out. It’s much easier to give more specific direction when some of the data is in!

I know it sounds crazy, but you may have to disable some of your sites to figure out whether it is in fact your site that is slowing down the entire server, but actually you may not have to do this if you do the above and can determine that the problem isn’t server-wide (whether it’s caused by you or not).

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Lensman had some good ieas, and along those lines, you might consider temporarily disabling the google analytics and feedburner stuff (that can often impact a page load considerably, particularly during “peak” times), and see if that makes anyh difference.

It might not, but it can only help DH in diagnosing the problems.


Dreamhost has never verified the exact timeframe of the problem from their end–what usually happens is that I notice the sites are down about 10 or 11 and report the problem. They give me their fix/rationale of the day several hours later, the sites start coming back up and working better around 3 or 4. Support assumes that the problem has been fixed–and in fairness to them its hard to diagnose a problem that isn’t happening at the time–and I cross my fingers until 10 AM the next morning when the process starts anew ; )

Thanks for the responses and the great suggestions. Posting here was sort of my last resort and I halfway expect nothing but smart ass troll comments in response. You’ve given me some excellent ideas and I’ve got a few ideas about what to look into now. I’m going to mess around with a few of these concepts this weekend and I’ll update what I find out. Thanks again for taking the time to respond :slight_smile:

BTW, I know there are a lot of other fantastic monitoring sites, but I happen to use this free one:

It measures my uptime and response time every half hour.

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No problem, and good luck with your research over the weekend. I hope you are able to at least narrow it down and can find the source of the problem. :wink:


No problems at all on Saturday but the same old same old today…I’ll update later :frowning:

Actually my sites were down because DH was moving me to a new MySQL database server. They seem to be working fine now–I’ll update later today as to what I ended up doing that resolved the problem. Stay tuned ; )

Have you enabled CPU monitoring for your hosting user? Maybe that can tell you more. (It may also be interesting to fire up a shell session to “top” while things are bad to see if you are the only cause of the problems.)

Glad that you’re getting something useful - sometimes we are full of piss and vinegar, but apparently we can be adults sometimes too!

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