Site down 24 Hours. No Response



Dreamhost suddenly decided to disable our site when a Stumbleupon traffic spike caused increase CPU usage.

Now 24 hours of downtime later, there is still no response to 4 tickets also. Good support response is essential for any hosting service, and I am surprised Dreamhost takes this attitude for long time customers.

How can you reduce the load if they do not let you login to wordpress and disable some plugins, get in some caching or reduce php calls or identify what the problem is. I will get PS if I need to, but such long downtimes are unacceptable.

Fortunately I maintain a status blog just for this purpose and can redirect its feed as the feedburner source feed to let readers know.

I hope someone is listening at Dreamhost…

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Did they disable your site or did they disable your account?

So viewing this constructively, let’s say that your site was hammering the server and every other site on it into oblivion. What’s the best procedure for recovering from this state?

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All sites on the account are 403. I can login to FTP.

I fully agree with you that when a site is “hammering the server”, it should be disabled, as otherwise it compromises other sites on the server. No problems there. :slight_smile:

What I want is a response thereafter on how to fix the issue, or at least activate the site to let me fix the issue by optimizing the site or upgrade. You cannot keep websites disabled for days, with no response, just to let the traffic dry out.

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I have not seen your ticket (or your message from DreamHost informing you about your disablement), so I’m just guessing here, but it seems to me they likely just set up an .htaccess file to forbid traffic until you can fix it.

“Logging in to WordPress” to disable plugins, or implement caching after the site has crippled a server is “too little, too late”; the time for those kind of fixes is before a server is hammered! Turning your site back on running WordPress during a crippling traffic spike will just subject other users on your server to more damage.

I cannot answer for the support staff who answered your ticket, and I don’t have full access to the details of your circumstances from my location here. What, precisely, did they say when they informed you of the disablement? If you still have FTP access, and the site is disabled via an .htaccess file, have you considered just renaming your domain’s web directory (that is holding the WordPress installation) to something else, and then creating a NEW directory for your domain and just placing a static HTML version of your page there till the traffic dies off? You could then re-enable your WordPress site and prepare properly for the next time (or make other arrangements like a PS server, etc.).

A “stumbleupon” wave of traffic should not cripple a static site … just saying!

You could probably get a cached copy of the page from Google cache, or your own browser’s cache, if you don’t already have one, and place that there so your “post” still gets read (and add a note to it explaining it is a “temporary” site/post to keep your server alive until you can get things fixed). That way your visitors could still see the content they came for, and you could “survive” the rush!

–DreamHost Tech Support


rlparker - Firstly I would thank you that you took the time to repsond. It is gestures like these that keep me with DH.

  • I checked the .htaccess file - and it seems to be the usual wordpress rewrite at all folders.
  • WP-cache has some problems working on our server which DH could not fix in the last downtime. It freezes when a certain number reaches, so we had to disable it a few months back. I am keen to try wp-supercache now. I agree that it should have been activated before, but I can give it another try now.
  • I guess the stumbleupon traffic spike is gone now and I can go online now.
  • The .htaccess files all seem ok, so that does not seem to be the issue. The domain folders are also not renamed, and all domain names on this user are showing 403 errors, so I do not know exactly how to re-enable these sites.

Here is what they sent me

I’m contacting you regarding recent high loads on the shared web hosting server “xxxx”. During the investigations I identified the scripts you’re running from the xxxxx user where the majority of the excessing load.

Some CPU data…

To put these numbers in perspective, a normal user utilizes under 75 CP, a heavy user utilizes 75-100 CP, and normally problematic users utilize 100-150 CP. You, are utilizing well over double CP minutes as a problematic user would.

It looks like your site(s) have outgrown the shared hosting environment You should look into upgrading to a Private Server ( ) ASAP. Or if possibly find out what is making your code over utilize so much resources ( ) and put this to a stop before re-enabling your sites.

Please respond to me in regards to this issue, so I can verify that you’re taking a pro-active approach to solving this problem. If you re-enable your sites without writing back, you may be in danger of forcing me to disabling your hosting account.

Robert R.

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I’m just hoping to give you some help while you are waiting for your ticket(s) to be replied to, and maybe suggest some temporary things you can do till you get it all sorted.

I would be VERY CAREFUL about going back “online” until you have done something to manage the CPU usage … and for now, I still think that is a “static” html version of your site. :wink:

if your directories have not been renamed, and the .htaccess files in your domain directory do not have “Deny from all” in them, look above the domain directory for an .htaccess file … :wink:

Additionally, I find that “” is still up - is that running under a different user?

Certainly wp-super-cache is a better solution, though it may not do everything you need … at some point an extremely popular WordPress blog will outgrow a shared server no matter what you do (as the tech support staffer pointed out).

Whatever you do immediately, watch the server load very closely and if it starts to climb again, be proactive and curtail your own site so that DreamHost does not do it for you. That “StumbleUpopn” traffic could spike again, and if you have re-enabled your site and that blasts the server again, you will be in an untenable situation - a static “placeholder” would greatly decrease the chances of that happening. :wink: .

–DreamHost Tech Support


I’ve attempted to send you a Private Message, but I cannot as you are not accepting PMs (that is set in your “profile” on these forums).

–DreamHost Tech Support


if your directories have not been renamed, and the .htaccess files in your domain directory do not have “Deny from all” in them, look above the domain directory for an .htaccess file .

None of the above is there. No htaccess at top level also.

  • is hosted on tumblr and has a A value changed in DNS.

  • I have no issues with creating a static front page in index.html which I will do now. But that will not start up the sites.

  • I checked my stats and the stumbleupon spike just brought in a 1000 more pageviews only before it went down.

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I have enabled PM. :slight_smile:

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Thanks a lot rlparker. You gave the best tech advice over PM ever. I really appreciate it. And my sites are up…

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You are welcome, and I’m really glad you were able to get your sites back online! Hooray! :slight_smile:

–DreamHost Tech Support