Intermittent site issues (504 gateway timeout)


So I have been trying out dreamhost for several weeks and almost everything seems to be going smoothly, but occasionally my (shared hosting) websites just refuse to load and eventually timeout with a 504 gateway timeout error. This morning they loaded but it took several minutes for a page refresh - and this includes a parked website (just has the generic dreamhost “Upload your website to get started.” message).

After several minutes it eventually works again. What is going on? Does dreamhost overload their shared servers? Is there some way to monitor server load?

I checked the error logs and everything seems fine on my end.


You could use uptime or top to monitor the load on the server and user:


ok, good advice. The cpu average load is VERY low:
08:04:33 up 113 days, 7:03, 1 user, load average: 1.41, 2.03, 2.30

and when I browse my website the highest I can get the %CPU to peak is 2%, and only when I click items very quickly. I cannot get the %MEM to even register past 0% using ‘top’.

As I mentioned before, this problem even impacts a parked domain. The next time it occurs I will try the uptime command, but if the load is abnormally high there is unlikely anything I can do on my end, except change hosting.

Again, everything was working like a champ, and suddenly the sites became molasses-slow. No chron jobs exist, and .htaccess blocks everyone excepting me since the site is not finished.

Would a VPS “fix” this issue? It seems like overkill in my case, but then how many domains does dreamhost put on a single shared server?


It is odd you’re seeing a 504 on a parked page, which is just a static page (AFAIK). Is it possible the domain is being served by a CDN, like Cloudflare? Network issues between the CDN and DH could cause 504s…


Thanks for the help (and sorry for my delay in responding). I am trying to figure this out and I was hoping to “catch it in the act” so I could collect some data.

The parked page is literally just dreamhost’s generic page for new websites, so no CDN’s involved.

My suspicion is that one of the hosts on the shared server was doing something that was taking all the server resources. As I mentioned, this has happened a few times. I just signed up for uptimerobot for the parked domain, this will serve as my shared hosting downtime canary.


I use a shared SQL server via dreamhost and have been having similar issues. Months with no problems, but started running into some performance problems about a week ago. Today I haven’t been able to log into the server at all - often with the same 504 error.

Have you contacted support? I did and they got back to me after a few hours telling me that there’s an issue and they’re working to resolve it. It’s possible that my shared SQL server runs on the same block of machines as your shared hosting.


This issue is always happens in my account. anyone find any solution?


Today I was hit with glut of 524 errors. This occurred both on my primary site and on a parked domain (both on the same shared server). It was down for about 10 minutes. When I SSH’ed into the server, everything appeared to be fine.

The attached image is from Cloudflare. Basically it says they cannot reach the dreamhost server.


OK, this is getting ridiculous. The site was so slow today I was able to make coffee while waiting for the page to load. It timed out with an Error 524 (like before) as I hit the “brew” button.


Well, unfortunately I have yet to figure out the root cause. I thought that using a downtime monitor would help at least catch the error, but it hasn’t.

I have been so damn busy recently that I haven’t had time to pursue this further. I want to write my own custom downtime monitor where the DH server responds to a post query from my computer, but if I am not actually watching it happen live, it proves nothing.

What WOULD make me feel better is if DH support chimes in with some suggestions.


This morning the site was on the brink of 524 timeouts.

For about 45 minutes every page on my main site was molasses slow. I timed a simple link and what normally takes a fraction of a second required 32 seconds to load. Right now everything is “back to normal”.

It seems that things have gotten worse since the 90 day trial period ended.


Is this also intermittent?

524 indicates that the remote (Dreamhost) server is taking too long to respond. It’s possible that this problem has the same root cause as the 504 error.

If you haven’t tried to contact support, I’d suggest you give it a shot. I’ve never had anything but positive experiences with the Dreamhost support folks. I know that shared hosting can have intermittent performance, but that’s the nature of sharing resources on a single box. Could be this is something that endemic to shared hosting with DH, but it’s also possible that there’s a loading issue that’s compromising the performance of your site.

I contacted support a second time a couple weeks ago for a similar issue and they moved me to another database server. Performance improved, but I still get hit with intermittent outages when the server is under heavy load.

I just bit the bullet and upgraded to a VPS. Have a commercial site that can’t afford the downtime. We’ll see how that fares vs the shared solution.


That would be my guess… another site on your shared server that’s a resource hog. I’d ask support to look into it, but you’ll need to get a support person that actually will investigate and not just give you lip service.


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