I help maintain a site for a friend who is somewhat less tech-savvy than me (and I ain't all that). He keeps getting those "packed on a few pounds" emails regarding his virtual private server -- maybe a dozen over the past year.
I've looked into the stats in the VPS > Manage Resources page, and the numbers seem low. I understand that the finest resolution they offer is a 5-minute average, so spikes are diminished, but at around the time these emails go out, the 5-minute averages seldom go over 12% capacity, and the daily averages hover around 2% capacity. This is not a high-traffic site.
Based on a couple of other threads in here I've disabled Analog statistics, the Jetpack plug-in in Wordpress (and actually all WP plug-ins except for NextGen Gallery and Dreamhost Announce List GUI). I also haven't found that the emails are being triggered at consistent times, which would indicate an automated server-side script.
I've run a few of the diagnostic scripts on SSH listed here: http://wiki.dreamhost.com/VPS_Troubleshooting but the results don't mean a lot to me.
I also tried adding an .htaccess file to block some of the higher traffic visitors.
I'm a little frustrated that Dreamhost doesn't supply a simple way to confirm their claims about these spikes, and I'm wondering -- do these numbers seem consistent with a site that is at risk of crashing its VPS? I'm not convinced this site even needs a VPS, and wondering why the owner is stuck paying these additional monthly fees. I can't seem to find it now, but at some point I recall seeing a thread in here indicating that DH doesn't let you step down from a VPS unless your traffic stops spiking over a period of some weeks, but how can a user without supergeek skillz ever demonstrate this?
Any advice is welcome.