Slow?


#1

Hello,

I’ve been trying out DreamHost for the last few days and there is a LOT that I like about it. However, I have one big problem and that is speed. All of the temporary domains I created so far are very slow to load and when I click on a link it takes several seconds of ‘Waiting for…’ before something happens. I installed ActiveCollab on one of them and it can take up to 10 seconds before a page loads (and there is hardly any info on them, no pictures or anything). The two Joomla sites are a bit quicker but still very unresponsive. So my question is: am I just unlucky or is this fairly common for a DreamHost site? I would love to stay with DreamHost but right now it does not seem suitable for serious work.

Regards,

DB


#2

The same happens for me.
Latency is very high :confused:

And I signed up without much of research, on the months-old experience with a few other sites hosted here - they were very fast to load :o

Cheers,
Paziek.


#3

Is it only certain apps? How is performance on static pages? I’ve never had a problem (other than the occasional DNS problem) with my static pages.

My Gallery site is almost always slow unless I configure full page caching. My MediaWiki site is almost always “not so fast, but always acceptable”. My WordPress sites are almost always fast.

I think there’s an aspect to tuning these one-click install web applications. They’re almost always out-of-the-box configured to their most dynamic state where aspect of every page is dynamically generated and it takes a while to figure out which features you’re using and what level you of caching you can turn on to optimize your site’s performance.

That said, I think that there are some problems right now which are just intrinsic to either shared hosting in general or to DreamHost’s architecture in particular.

In summary, I sympathize with your experience and hope that you’ll be able to work out better performance or find out whether there’s something wrong on your server.

One other thing that helps make me feel like I’m more in control is running top on a shell session while I hit my pages to figure out what’s taking so long! :slight_smile: Next I want to see what I can find out via cpu logging.

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#4

Hey. I’ve been a dreamhost customer for about two weeks now and I just finished deploying a rails application on the server coffee. I too am getting the “Waiting for…” messages - often for ten seconds or more before the server is contacted and the page loads.

I agree - its totally unacceptable for serious work. I get the feeling some of my visitors are leaving before the first page even loads. I’ve contacted dreamhost support and we’ll see how things go. I’d say this is a fairly common problem.


#5

Its not about page being dynamic or not.

I had to wait 2-3 secs for a blank page to load. This is ridicule :smiley:

[also on coffee server]

ps. Its not like site is loading slow, its just slow to respond for request. When it actually does respond it usually is rather fast, though not always.
And I’m sure its not my ISP, since other sites don’t do that :slight_smile:


#6

Anyone bother to check the load average on coffee when it’s doing this?

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#7

Is it for over cpu usage? I’m not experienced with these,cause i still don’t have a site here. Thats why i’m here to know… But i think because of the DH’s marketing policies the sudden customer increase is also responsible. Maybe DH should increase server resources very soon for better performance to face the huge upcoming customers and to please existing customers. Otherwise my and many guys’ dream to host on DreamHost may not come true. :open_mouth: Wish DH will resolve all these very soon for all of us. I think resolvemet would be more quicker if all customers having this problem complain to DH. So they can feel the problem more quickly.

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#8

I read in the DreamHost blog that complaints per customer stayed the same from before they started overselling to after.
Despite this, everyone started blaming DreamHost’s marketing policies and so they decided to slowly reduce the starting disk and bandwidth until people stopped attributing the problems to overselling.

Interesting, eh?

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#9

Yes,its interesting. But when the present amount of host are suffering existing customers then a little increase is also like a pain to them(existing customers). I already mentioned my thinking that DH should increase server resources to resolve whole the problem. Yea the steps they taken are good,ofcourse and i appreciate. But thats not a long term solution and again people using promo codes get the old quota,you know better than me. What you think about all these?

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#10

Very interesting. My Gallery 2.2. sites are also slow but acceptable. Joomla is so-so. Drupal is fast, but WordPress is dead slow. How did you make your WordPress sites run fast?

I’ve tried to enable wp-cache in WordPress, and it seemed to just make matters worse. At the moment, my WordPress sites usually time out the first time I try to load them, or maybe load after 1-2 minutes. If I give up, close the browser and try once more, they might load pretty quickly (2-10 sec.), but might also slow totally down again.

One of these sites is a WordPress 2.1.2 standard one-click install with only K2 added. I’m puzzled why this site runs so incredibly slow, when I’m having other CMSs running OK fast, with plenty of content and modules, on the same server.

I’ve reported this to Dreamhost, but they see no problem with my WordPress sites. Forum posts mention odd stuff like being too far from the Dreamhost servers (oh no, I’m in Europe), and having to optimize the MySQL tables manually every two weeks.


#11

well, you guys are right about overselling, and their marketting campaign. Now they have to reduce the offer.

Personally, I have been with DH almost a year, because if I cancel, i get nothing. And i dont even use the account now.

but the 400GB / 4TB per month is very very nice. I signed up instantly. If my math is right, you divide that into 30 days you get about 133GB per day of bandwidth!!!

and especially they are on sale for half the price. Wow!
and the wise are right, offer too good to be true, usually they aren’t true!

So off I go, signing up for 2 years. It was very very good for the first 97 days, I used about 50-60% of my bandwidth. And a hefty 70% of my space. I was thinking this is heaven.

After 3 months, I get an email from support saying I have created server problem by too much traffic and consume server resources. and they disable my account until I can bring those traffic down.

I was like, that is cool, let me turn my traffic down by turning off my site, that will solve the problem! Well that is what I did, getting a dedicated server.

My point is, Dreamhost is overselling and their promises of that big space and bandwidth are just marketting. So if you think you can use all of the thing they offer. You are so dead wrong. And I can’t even get my money back because it’s after 97 days. Now think back, if they approach this problem earlier, I would cancel and got my full refund.

How do you expect to offer 4TB of bandwidth and not thinkin about the resources that traffic would cause? I am not even hosting any script, just files to download. (xxx of course)

Overall, I dislike dreamhost because If you guys hosting with them around september to november of 2006. (When I first started signed up) They have terrible down time. In a month I say about 5 downtime with over a few hours each! Also a blackout happened recently and they were down for a FEW DAYS! (yes, days! i think it was Friday to Monday since they can’t work in the weekend)

I do recommend dreamhost to beginner, because it’s quite fun and you can learn what NOT to do, like asking DH support a question. You get a question back.

And sorry to those slow traffic - if it’s between jan to feb of this year, then it’s probably me. But I was only using what they offer, 4TB of bandwidth! I got to 40% on the 21th of my cycle this month and they cut me off.

But seriously, If your web is a business site, please stay AWAY from dreamhost. but if you’re just hosting for fun, then join DH.

Best regard,
Ryan H.

Hope my review help, sorry for writing so long.


#12

simply put:

Dreamhost: hey you guys I am giving you guys 300 dollars allowance per month!
We: Yay!
Dreamhost: but you can only spend 1 dollar a day, kids.
We: Yay!..what?

this is pretty funny, but sadly a true joke.


#13

[quote]
Overall, I dislike dreamhost because If you guys hosting with them around september to november of 2006. (When I first started signed up) They have terrible down time. In a month I say about 5 downtime with over a few hours each! Also a blackout happened recently and they were down for a FEW DAYS! (yes, days! i think it was Friday to Monday since they can’t work in the weekend)[/quote]
It was down for about a day, if even that. My site was up and working after about 18hours of downtime (and I wasn’t even checking hourly, so it could been up before then). There were some other problems that occurred afterwards, but none that lasted very long, and DH was very prompt about informing all of us of the issues.

I don’t see any issues here. foo happens and their datacenter is quite piss poor (to say the least). They’ve likewise acknowledged that and it sounds like things may be in the works, from what I read from one of Dallas’ posts in the power-outage blog, to look into alternatives.

[quote]
I do recommend dreamhost to beginner, because it’s quite fun and you can learn what NOT to do, like asking DH support a question. You get a question back.[/quote]
Had that happen before, but it was because I didn’t give them enough information, or when they were asking if I wanted to move servers.
Otherwise, support has always been very prompt, courteous, and quite expedient in their dealings with my issues.

Absolutely agreed!
While DreamHost, in my opinion, offers great services and features for a low price, their reliability and support (issues with their datacenter aside) are not on par for running really any business that depends on such services and features.

As to your attempted usage at “all” of your allotted space/bandwidth - I find that a rather ridiculous thing to do, as I couldn’t possibly imagine what you might have been using that would consume that much bandwidth. Space I could potentially see, but bandwidth there is just NO way.
That is, I couldn’t see using it for legitimate WEB hosting purposes, as is what the TOS states you agree to host most of the content you serve as:

[quote]
The customer agrees to make use of DreamHost Web Hosting servers primarily for the purpose of hosting a website, and associated email functions.[/quote]
So I’m very curious as to what you may have been hosting, that could have consumed so much bandwidth.
Anyways, a dedicated server is definitely the way to go if you really need to host and store that much data. I’m pretty sure DH gives us so much space/bandwidth, so as to allow un-foreseen overages. Like if your site got slash-dotted or such. It just makes sense that way, so that we, the customers, aren’t getting screwed on some uber bill that we can’t afford to pay.

Not sure why they offer so much space though… that’s still beyond me. But it’s definitely what I plan to use a LOT more than the bandwidth…which I’ll never even scratch the surface of :stuck_out_tongue:


#14

I think that this is not totally unfair view of DH. I do think that the “beginner” reference is a bit harsh but it really does seem that there are insufficient resources to support the quotas they offer.

All it means is that if you play nice (and don’t get nailed by being too popular and can keep it smooth) you’re effectively unlimited.

Lucky for me like in High School, I’m not that popular.

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#15

Obviously there is no easy* way to serve 2TB of php, database driven, application generated text, even from a dedicated server. (* i.e. with no work by the web master) This has to do with the cpu and memory requirements of most php apps. You can transfer that kind of bandwidth if you are serving video though, which is really what huge amounts of bandwidth are aimed at. If you are trying to serve TBs of database driven dynamically generated text, you need to have the experience to optimize your own code.

Even our control panel which serves about 5 million page views a month doesn’t use 2TB of bandwidth, because it is primarily a text based site and bandwidth just isn’t the limiting factor. The real limiting factor is database performance on a database driven site. (hence, we are always upgrading our internal db servers, not the web servers) We have the panel running on a cluster of web servers for redundancy, but cpu and memory wise we could run it just fine on one of our shared web servers without crashing it. (We have run it for short periods of time on a single server less powerful then our current new shared web servers)

So when someone comes along and their site crashes a web server its pretty obvious that the problem is inefficient code. It really has nothing to do with bandwidth. Even though we try to give our customers enough bandwidth and disk space to be sure that they they are not limited by those things, the customer does still need to be an intelligent and conscientious web master.

It is not very realistic to expect the laws of computer science and basic program maintenance and optimization to go away just because we give out lots of bandwidth.

If you set up a programming loop for instance (such as a page that just does a remote call to itself or a program that just recursively allocates memory indefinitely) its pretty clear that the site should be disabled, and everyone would agree that the script is broken and should not be run. (this does happen)

In the middle you have software that serves a purpose but just has not been optimized. most poorly optimized software never becomes a problem because it is usually rarely visited. In the rare case though some inefficient software might get over crawled by a search engine or obsessive visitor, or be the victim of comment spam, in which case it is just easiest to put a stop to the outside abuse.

In the case where a website is truly popular but just has inefficient code, it falls on the web master to optimize the site to handle the traffic. This is true no matter where it is hosted, even if you are hosting it yourself on a cluster of servers. (as we are and as we have)

DreamHost has a lot of experience running popular websites, and we are here to give you advice on how to best optimize our website. I have seen a lot of good advice here in these forums as well.

We have customers that use very large amounts of bandwidth without crashing their servers. It is entirely possible, and we do deliver on our plans. We also put a huge amount of behind the scenes work into indexing customer tables in order to improve customer db performance. Any large (and especially growing) computing system has bottlenecks and as a system designer/administrator you spend your time detecting, predicting and removing those bottlenecks. This is a never ending process. (DreamHost has doubled in size in the last year and a half and so know this very, very well)

This all being said, the primary cause of machines crashing or loading slowly is bad code and database queries. If your website suffers from this (and you are pretty sure its not you causing the crashing), you should contact support immediately so that the offending code can be tracked down.

If the support tech is not helpful in solving the problem, I encourage you to rate the tech poorly in the accompanying survey and then reopen your ticket. We take all customer complaints very seriously and will work with you to make sure your website is performing adequately. And keep posting about any problems you have in this forum as I do check on them fairly regularly.

Here are some guidelines for what types of information to collect for submission to support:

The idea here is to turn up evidence about the following items in the website’s information path:

  • visitor network connection to the webserver
  • the webserver’s load
  • the load on the specific apache instance serving the website
  • the webserver’s connection to the filer
  • the load on the filer
  • the webserver’s connection to its mysql machine
  • the load on the mysql machine.

For file based sites you can test the webserver’s connectivity to its file server by copying one of the files in question to /tmp and seeing if the operation is speedy.

time cp /home/user/example.com/images/example.png /tmp

if this is slow send that info.

When optimizing the speed of a website I add timers to the code of the script and measure three times, SQL time per query / Total SQL time, Total scripting language time, and Print Time. To do this, don’t print anything within your code until the very end. Just put a wrapper function around your db calls to get the SQL time. To get scripting time look at total time until right before printing minus your SQL time and finally just put timers right before and after you print out your html to get print time.

If an SQL statment takes a long time to load, test it out directly from the mysql server via the mysql command line, if the query is still slow, then its the query or the sql server. Do explains on the query and make sure it is properly indexed and if everything is fine with the query itself then talk with support about your SQL server. If the query is fast on the command line, but slow from the script then it is likely the network between the web server and the mysql machine.

If you have a long script time, but fine SQL times, and your script time varies by time of day, it is likely a web server load problem. You can always check for a high load or swapping and report those.

If the print time is high, it can be the network anywhere between the visitor and the webserver, or even the speed of machine/browser of the visitor. Here traceroutes can be useful and downloading a file of the same size as the script output from other locations on the same and other networks can give good comparisons.

Any other tests you devise for these items will also be useful. There are a great many things that can affect each of the items above, so any narrowing of the possibilities is very helpful.

For items you can’t test from your user shell, you should ask the support person to check on the performance for you. Our support technicians are given instructions to test these very same things.
If you get a message from a support person that doesn’t address these factors please fill out the survey that comes with each support message as these make it to the eyes of the support managers. Customer feedback is very useful in complimenting our internal quality controls.

Managing a very busy website can at times be frustrating, but DreamHost is about as good a friend as you are going to find when it comes to helping you work through those problems.


#16

Thank you for the post Michael, a very interesting read, and it gives insight in to what you folks have to go through to keep things running quick.


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#17

My sites ran great for 98 days. Now they are ALL dirt slow. Support claims all is well, it must be me. I think I see a pattern. After you pass the refund period you get passed to network hell and hopefully you will leave.

It worked. No point having websites that run this slow. I am getting great bandwidth as I copy my sites to my new host.


#18

@.@
I hope it is not true that the hosting become slow after refund period…

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#19

DreamHost or any other hosting provider will never do such a process to make slower sites after the end of money back guarantee period. Because they know that customer satisfaction is the base of their business. Therefore on DreamHost new customer may sign up with only $22.4 bulks. So they don’t get any profit on the first year actually. They’ll get profit only if customer stay with them for long time. So ModWriters complain is not valid anyway. Sites maybe slow for extra server resource hunting contents used by him or his neighbors(people on the same server).

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#20

So says the shill.

Everything is slow as hell. Try reading this:

http://www.dreamhoststatus.com/2007/03/26/site-slowness/

I had sites that took over a minute to load 1 page. It isn’t new:

http://www.dreamhoststatus.com/2007/03/23/nfs-inflated-loads/

It’s been doing it longer than that. It took them 3 days of pounding on support to admit it. The whole time they told me everything is fine. This morning i got an email telling me everything is working.

Like I said, everything works fine at my new host.