Xx CPU minutes, how much is that?


#1

Hello,
I’m a potential customer for Dreamhost and I’ve been reading a lot of stuff about their (/your, depends on who you are) business. The CPU minutes things bothers me a bit because I had never heard of it before (I’m not very experienced and I suppose it shows).

The website I plan to host would come with a discussion board (which I coded myself) relying on PHP and MySQL. All those posts about MySQL and excessive CPU minutes make me wonder if my board is going to cause issues because I am not used to this measurement at all (so maybe my question is going to sound totally stupid).

Let’s say my discussion board is similar to phpBB (a bit simpler though), and that it gets around 200 unique visitors (users) per day. Would that run fine ?

PS : Excuse my poor english, this is not my first language.


#2

What do you mean by “the CPU minutes things”? As far as I know, Dreamhost does not have a set limit on the number of CPU minutes each account is allowed to consume. There’s just the case-by-case analysis of whether your site negatively impacts the server you’re on and also the ban against any single long running process.

200 unique visitors per day might be ok, but if your “simpler than phpBB” discussion board is very inefficient, it could run into trouble with 20 visitors per day. OTOH, if it’s efficient or if the visitors are spread out through the day, 2000 unique visitors might be ok. Well, actually I think 2000 active participants to a dynamic display board might be a bit much, I admit.

What kind of CPU utilization are you seeing on your current host? What hardware are they running?

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#3

What I call “the CPU minutes things” is that no hosted website should penalize other hosted websites by using too many CPU minutes per day. My problem is that I do not know how much it takes to be “penalizing other websites”.
“simpler than phpBB” was also supposed to mean “more efficient” since I do code clean things and that my forum is not bloated (unlike phpBB).

My current host (it’s a french ISP which provides “decent” hosting for free) doesnt let me know neither how much I use their CPU nor what their hardware is, but this doesnt matter much since my board isn’t open yet (I’m the only user so far).


#4

I don’t think there is a hard limit, or a specific quantity of processing time. The issue is whether or not the site interferes with other webmasters’ sites. I don’t think my Dreamhost sites have ever come close to any kind of limits but I had a similar experience one day that 17,000 digg users decided to show up on a Joomla blog I had hosted on another shared server.

Every five minutes they were shutting down my site for five minutes because of excessive CPU usage and I was able to stop that from happening just by de-activating an inefficiently coded addon-module (that I ended up getting rid of).

I guess it sounds like a good way to test your code’s efficiency? This is something almost impossible to predict, but its a good reminder why backups and redundancy are important.

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#5

Ah, I see. Thanks for the clarification.

So as independent says, we not subject to a fixed limit of CPU here at Dreamhost - either on the web servers or the mysql servers. This doesn’t mean that support doesn’t have a guideline for CPU usage that they use to target sites as having “impact” on other sites, just that this guideline involves their own judgment about the frequency of such impact and such.

Performance analysis is a complex and difficult undertaking. Most people aren’t up to the challenge. Heck, most developers aren’t up to the challenge and just code things the best they know how and deliver their applications to the operations department for them to analyze. :slight_smile:

There are certainly tools out there for you to determine the performance profile of your forum - especially since you’ve got the ability to add diagnostic code yourself since you’re the developer!

Beyond that, you can always contact pre-sales support using the pre-sales contact form to find out what their guidelines are for this sort of thing - they have much more experience with this than us customers. But you might also consider opening a trial account. If you use a credit/debit card or Google Checkout, you will have 97 days to do your performance analysis and still be able to get your money back should you figure out that your needs are beyond shared web hosting.

But speaking of which, what’s your alternative. I think all shared web hosts limit their usage to that which doesn’t impact other customers on their shared servers. The difference is that they are either case-by-case or have hard CPU limits. Generally, the case-by-case ones are more generous in their interpretation of the limits (but as a result I think they sometimes have more support calls due customers who are hosting stuff that way too much for shared hosting), but it’s certainly the case that the ones with hard limits have slight differences in their limits.

Beyond shared web hosts are the VPS and dedicated hosting options. In each case, you decide how much server you need and pay for it. Even Dreamhost has their Private Servers option in addition to dedicated hosting. With either of these types of hosting you can host stuff that’s beyond what you can host on shared hosting - and generally get better performance characteristics as well.

The only other option you have is home-based hosting. I find this to be:

  1. cheaper
  2. harder
  3. less reliable
  4. have lower bandwidth

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#6

Thank you very much to both of you, this board is more reactive than I thought it would be =)

I’ll probably sign up and do as much performance analysis as I can - I hope things will go well enough for me not to use the “97 days cancel” nor move onto a dedicated server.