Random 500 Errors - It HAS to be an issue with Dreamhost

This has been happening for a year now.

I’m about to leave dreamhost due to this issue, but thought i’d post here before i did.

I’ve investigated this issue, and firmly believe there is a problem at dreamhost, with their server, or their server configuration.

But Wait! I hear you protest! Trust me, i’ve heard it all.

It’s not my plugins.

it’s not my websites.

it’s dreamhost.

Where’s the evidence?

For a start - it’s completely random. An action like updating a plugin, or saving a post, or uploading media will result in a 500 error, or a 404 time out (depending on the php version i use)

Performing the same operation again, it works. Just like that. Nothing has changed.

Unfortunately this makes managing wordpress sites frustrating and time consuming. I often have to get in to FTP and delete files, delete the wordpress maintenance files, as upgrading plugins gets stuck at a point, and the website becomes stuck in maintenance mode, or the plugin doesn’t fully update.

Check your log files i hear you say. Been there, done that.

Premature end of script headers: php55.cgi

A string of text that’s all over my websites error logs.

That’s it. That’s the common error.

It must be a permission error i hear you say.

No, it’s random. Why does it not work, throw an error, and then when i hit back, do the exact same operation, it works?

Something is seriously broken. it’s not my sites.

I have about 10 wordpress sites, all with different themes, different plugins, etc.

I’ve seen this error occur on a fresh wordpress install.

But here’s how i know it’s dreampress…

I’ve investigated two other hosts, both around the same price point as dreampress. I’ve migrated sites over to them. These sites are exactly the same - it’s a mirror duplication.

The errors disappear on the other host, NEVER to be repeated.

Not once has the same wordpress install, moved to another host, EVER thrown an 404 or 500 error. Not once. I’ve been testing it for months. Same PHP version, and yes, i’ve tried them all on dreampress. 5/5/6/7. All throw errors. 7 seems to be the most stable, but it’s not 100%. Still same problem.

Yet my sites that are still on dreampress, it’s a regular occurance.

Same sites. Same plugins. Same database.

I can’t help but see all these other people reporting 500 / 404 errors and think it has to do with some bug within dreamhosts systems - yet people arn’t been given answers. They’re being told it’s their plugins. It’s their websites. It’s their responsibility. When really, it’s dreampress.

Short of a miracle, i’ll be migrating away from dreampress before my yearly renewal. 5 years of hosting, and i’m moving away. Due to this instability.

For everyone else seeing 404 / 500 errors that are random, try another host.

In all fairness, they are not exactly the same, since they are on different servers, with different configurations, different php installs, and different mysql installs.

Did you see this post by Ipstenu? https://discussion.dreamhost.com/thread-147032-post-188544.html#pid188544

Sorry to hear about your issues @antek. DreamHost people do their best to keep things running for all customers but unfortunately the possible combinations of things that can go wrong is infinite. What we try to do always is to make up for issues like yours. Thanks @kjodle for pointing out the post by Ipstenu, as that’s a good starting point.

@antek: can you please clarify where these sites run? you mentioned dreampress, but i’m not sure you mean the custom VPS provisioned with WordPress by DreamHost or on shared hosting. How did you install wordpress (if these are on shared hosting)? Given how long your post is, I assume you have already tried fixing the permissions. Can you provide a list of all the plugins you run on the sites affected? If you prefer not to share these publicly, please open a ticket or email me directly.

SO, after talking with support, it turns out it’s all down to something called PROCWATCH. There’s technically nothing wrong with my sites config, it’s dreamhost killing the processes. I streamlined all my wordpress installs, they use as little ram as possible, yet dreamhost shared hosting simply will not tolerate the memory 7 wordpress sites use.

Basically, if my sites are using more resources then dreamhost have room for, a process is killed, and we get a 404 / 500 error.

Funny how nobody on these forums has EVER mentioned that. Alongside many others who had this problem. So, we’re sent on a witch hunt to try and fix our sites, when it’s dreamhost all along, killing processes.

I’m migrating all my sites away to another host, where for the same money, they can run my sites without interruption.

Dreamhost are obviously overselling here. I had 7 wordpress sites operating, with about 300 visitors a day max. Clearly shared hosting on dreampress isn’t designed for this. Other hosts do it, no problems at all.

It would be worth letting people know that their 500 / 404 errors, if they are random, are probably due to this, thus saving everyone some time.

That forum thread you point to : I bet you $10, most people are being effected by procwatch: https://discussion.dreamhost.com/thread-147032-post-188544.html#pid188544.

I don’t recall it mentioned ONCE within the 100 posts there. We’ve been told it’s our plugins - it’s our .htaccess - it’s our wordpress installs. All the while, it’s been procwatch. Were you guys not aware of this?!? It seems insane nobody actually pointed it out.

Below there’s a couple of web reports that illustrate perfectly what’s going on. I had no issues with any of my sites until around the start of 2016, and i would have happily stayed with dreamhost, but this is a deal breaker. My sites didn’t change, apart from routine wordpress updates. Many people reported the same issue - no change in sites, yet 404 / 500 errors randomly, all the time. This leads me to believe dreamhost tightened the belt on allowed resource usage, or they just didn’t adjust to increasing memory usage of wordpress. I don’t know…

Dreamhost problem, RAM usage, VPS upsell? http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2429866 -

[b]"after 5 or so, “we’re looking into it” over the past week or so, the latest support guy mentioned that I should create a ticket, so they can “look into it”.

seems every time they’d mention they’ll look into it, and get back to me, they did absolutely nothing.

although the tech dude apologised for the “miscommunication”, i’d call it a complete failure."[/i][/b]

Dreamhost Unlimited MYTH : https://criticalmas.com/2010/11/dreamhost-myth-unlimited-domains/ - “My advice is to stay away from DreamHost. Their servers are overloaded and if you plan to host more than one WordPress account you’ll experience problems.”

At the end of the day, it comes down to dreamhost policy :

Unlimited is NOT unlimited : https://www.dreamhost.com/legal/unlimited-policy/

Why did procwatch kill processes : https://help.dreamhost.com/hc/en-us/articles/216540488-Why-did-procwatch-kill-processes-on-my-Shared-server-

Goodbye Dreamhost!

Can’t even edit any of the sites without getting processes killed. Their software is breaking sites and plugins because its stops in the middle of upgrades. We’ve been a customer since early 2000 so they move our account just so they can put us on restrictive rules that choke all sites purposely making the management of them unbearable.

Taking my complaints to their parent company and shareholders.

The things you’re running up against show the unfortunate limitations of “shared hosting”. Your sites are sharing the resources of a single server with dozens of other accounts. Processes are not isolated, they share the same disks, RAM, CPU, and network with other customers. This resource sharing is reflected in its relatively low pricepoint.

If one customer account puts 7 WordPress sites, with multiple plugins and such, even with a small amount of traffic on each one, that account will be using 7 times more RAM and CPU cycles and disk IO than one. Now, multiply 7 (very often there are even more) by the dozens of accounts that live on a given server and you should see why the industry (not just DreamHost) needs to put in place systems to prevent a shared server from slowing to a crawl for all its customers.

As a colleague wrote 10 years ago:

Shared hosting is like a gym: all those facilities are shared by many users. All stationery equipment at my gym has a “30 minute per user” limit, for example. DreamHost works hard to be competitive given the challenges of shared hosting and we like to think independent reviews of our service reflect this http://reviewsignal.com/webhosting (There are other reviews out there, Google is your friend :slight_smile:

Ranting here may feel good, but it’s not really helpful for any of us. If your site experiences multiple issues with procwatch and you’ve already done the troubleshooting steps suggested within our Knowledge Base, the most effective way for you to get help is to contact our technical support team directly.

Every member of our tech support team is fully empowered to assist you. (They’d be considered junior sysadmins at some of our competitors!) There are rare cases where the culprit is not your code, but a noisy neighbor or a faulty hardware: our tech support staff can help to track those issues down and provide a fix.

If instead tech support identifies the issues in your code, then there is nothing much that can be done within the limits of shared hosting. You may need more resources and isolation, offered by a VPS, a cloud server or a dedicated server.



You’re entitled to your opinions. DreamHost has thousands of happy customers whose websites are properly configured and run smoothless on shared hosting, managed VPS, DreamPress, and cloud. I’m sorry you had a bad experience that the combination of your skills and our tech support couldn’t fix.

Now that you have stated your opinion, please either have something to contribute to the conversation or move on. And please avoid YELLING on this forum: it won’t be tolerated.

I have this problem and random i have error server 500 and i my website Alexa Rank was on 340,000 and now 2,590,000 i changed plugins and so many things but not good result :frowning:

Please go up to post 2 in this thread and follow the link posted there.

You can only help yourself on this one, it’s not a dreamhost issue. You need to troubleshoot per above.

@elijah77a sorry to hear about your issues.

These errors are almost impossible to debug and solve on forums, especially when no details are provided.

If you see a 500 error, a ‘Premature end of script headers’ error, or references to procwatch killing processes in your logs, probably your WordPress installation is hitting a memory limit and therefore the php process is killed by DreamHost automation. please do the following:
[]Start by putting in practice the optimizations suggested on the Knowledge Base
] If you still have issues, open a Support ticket providing all the information to reproduce the error, screenshots, logs, what you have tried, what impact you saw. Include every possible detail that may help an engineer identify the root cause and give you a solution, or options.

I’ll close this thread to discourage people from piling up with a ‘me too’ message: If you have similar issues, please open a new thread and provide as many details as possible.

ME TOO!!! ON SEVERAL CLIENT SITES WITH THEIR OWN HOSTING!!! After many years I am moving off of dreamhost