SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

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blades1000
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SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by blades1000 » Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:04 pm

Hey Guys,

Firstly want to thank everyone as I'm fairly new at this and have been able to solve most things by searching my way through these forums :)

However, I recently received this message from my hosting company saying we were killing their servers. It's a massive read, but if anyone can help I'd be very grateful as they are about to pull the pin on our forum :(

I really feel they are giving me the run around and it feels like pulling teeth to get info or help from them.
Dear Ben,

The SiteGround website performance specialists have been monitoring your website and recently noticed that it is constantly utilizing increasing amount of CPU time.

As you know, your account is hosted on a shared hosting server and thus sharing the resources of the web server with other customers' websites. As a result your website uses more CPU time than the shared server limit and affects the performance of the whole shared server.

We would like to explain the difference between CPU and bandwidth. Bandwidth is an account feature. The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is a shared server resource. Therefore, when there are too many requests made to your site (including but not limited to many visitors and/or slow queries), your account makes excessive requests to the server which consumes an abnormally high amount of CPU.

We have prepared a graph for you illustrating your website's performance during the last week compared to the normal server usage. Please, click on the link below to proceed to the graph.

http://australianinvestigators.com/03-1 ... rs.com.jpg

For your convenience, we have prepared a useful article that will help you understand the graph more easily:


http://kb.siteground.com/article/CPU_re ... ained.html

As you can see from the graph, your website server resource usage is well above SiteGround's maximum allowed server usage per hosting account which is much higher than the standard normal usage. This means that your website requires more powerful hosting environment.

Websites like yours are normally hosted on a VPS or Dedicated Server. Unlike shared hosting servers, on a VPS or Dedicated server, your account will be the only hosted account and can use all server resources at any time. Thus, the VPS or Dedicated Server solution will meet your growing business needs over a long period of time.

In order to offer you the best solution for your hosting account we have discussed your case with our system administrators. They have recommended that any of these 2 dedicated options will serve your website needs:

1. Main option - Atom Dual-Core 330 Managed Dedicated Server

Your website repeatedly/constantly goes over the allowed number of executions (and CPU) usage and because of that we do believe that this dedicated server will most suitably accommodate your business. With this hosting solution you will enjoy a great freedom in managing and accessing your account and most of all you will have all the resources that you need at your disposal. Additionally the dedicated server will offer you plenty of room for growth.

2. Alternative solution - Professional VPS account

The alternative solution will accommodate your website for the time being and will offer you the resources that are required for the moment. However if you plan to further develop and expand your website, we strongly advise you to choose the main option that our system administrators suggested.


SiteGround is experienced in providing dedicated hosting solutions and we are happy to inform you that as an existing and loyal SiteGround customer, we will offer you a beneficial upgrade package including:

-No set up fees
-Free website content transfer from the shared server to the dedicated machine
-No website downtime during the upgrade

The upgrade process is simple and straightforward and you can order your dedicated solution upgrade immediately. To do that, please log in your SiteGround User Area -> Order section-> Upgrade to Dedicated Solution option.

In case you have any additional questions or comments, you can reopen this ticket at anytime and our dedicated server specialists will address your concerns shortly. If you prefer to discuss your questions via the phone, just call us at +1.800.828.9231, ext. 102. You can also leave via the ticket your phone number and convenient time to call you and our team will get in touch with you. Please, mind that if you do not respond to this notification or take any actions regarding your account within the next 48 hours, we will have to suspend it.

Our team would like to thank you for your cooperation and timely response on this matter!

Best regards,
Ivaylo Todorov
The SiteGround Team

Replies:
2008-11-03 05:01pm by austral7 -
Dear Ivaylo,

This is very interesting. Based on your graphs late in the week the server slowed down to the point of taking up 3000 ticks to process scripts that were activated through our site? Unfortunately I fail to see how this is then shown to be a fault of our user account, as the second graph shows no abnormal spikes at the same time.

In regards to the second graph, according to that, we hit almost 4000 executions / hour! Could you please explain exactly what a visitor to our site would have to do to accomplish this? I have read your knowledgebase article and it explains what the graphs are, but does not what causes them.

Comparing the "normal usage" to our usage on this account shows we are consistently using up to 100x the normal?!?!? I really am stunned by this, due to the fact that our account is made of up a VERY basic website containing about 10 static webpages, and our forum.

Now maybe our forum is the reason?!? Unfortunately I don't think so. It is secure, with a total of about 80 users who have access to it. Of those 80 users, we have had approximately 24 log into the forum over the past 4 days, which is about normal usage for us, with about a maximum of 4 logged in at any one time. So based on your graph, those 4 users would be responsible for at the minimum level, 700 executions / hour and peaking out at 4000 / hr?

As I'm sure you understand, I fail to see how our account could be creating more than 100x the normal usage with an average of 4 people using it an hour?

So before we talk about upgrading, please provide the following, so that we can make an informed decision:

1. A full explanation of what causes the incredibly high executions.
2. Graphs as previously supplied, but weekly, going back for the last 3 months.

As a professional service, I would expect you to check your logs for any suspicious activity that may point towards hacking of our account, or attacks on our forum.

Speaking of which, we were attacked several weeks ago by a bot trying to register new accounts on our forum? Maybe this caused it? To try and stop this, we increased the security measures needed to register on the site. Once we did this, the new account requests stopped.

But as your message says, "dedicated server specialists will address your concerns shortly", I would expect that a check of the recent period, would show a massive drop in executions if this was in fact the case. Please investigate this matter and provide the best solution, as upgrading to a dedicated server because of a hacking attack it a poor, knee jerk reaction that is not acceptable.

Regards
Ben.

2008-11-03 05:01pm by system -
Dear Sir/Madame,

Your update has been submitted successfully!

All issues in this category are handled by our Senior Website Performance Specialists. Please allow one business day for your ticket to be reviewed.

Best regards,

SiteGround Support Team
http://www.SiteGround.com

2008-11-04 04:51am by Dimo -
Hello Ben,

I will gladly shed some light on why this case was opened and how it may be closed :)

The statistics for each account's server resource usage are generated on a quite complex principle. The graph you see at:

http://australianinvestigators.com/03-1 ... rs.com.jpg

shows that your account uses more CPU resources than the shared server allows and executes many processes. This has an impact on the CPU performance on the server and this in turn endangers the overall performance of all accounts hosted on the same server.

Alas, it is very hard to say exactly which part of your website consumes so much CPU resources.

However, we do have a log showing your account's executions. You can check it at:

http://australianinvestigators.com/usagelog.txt

Here is an explanation of what the log actually shows:

info - Shows the User/Group of, as well as the full path to the executed script.
stat - Shows the statistics for the script. The stats you see show the following information:

- The username of the account which the script belongs to.
- real - Shows the combined user and system time for the whole execution of the script. (the red line in the "CPU usage" graph shows the real time since this is the most important statistic)
- user - Shows the execution time for scripts executed by the account UID.
- sys - The system time for I/O (read/write) operations.
- wall - Shows the real time but in different units.
- % - The percentage of CPU resources used by the script.

The way statistics are generated is asynchronous. This means that a stat line you see directly under an info line does not necessarily show the statistics of the script in the info line.

Judging from the log, the reason for your account's high resource usage is indeed your forum.

>>>Graphs as previously supplied, but weekly, going back for the last 3 months.

Unfortunately, we don't have statistics going 3 months back. We can show you a graph showing your account's resource usage for the last month. This should be more than enough. You can see the graph at:

http://australianinvestigators.com/01.1 ... rs.com.jpg

To reduce the amount of CPU resources your account consumes, you can try to optimize your website.

Please optimize your website as much as possible, allow a few hours for the changes to take effect and then update this ticket so that we can check your account's resource usage again.

Of course, the much better option would be to take advantage of our special offer and upgrade your account to a dedicated solution. There the resources will be dedicated solely to your account and the services it runs :)

Best Regards,

Dimo
Senior Support Team
SiteGround.com

2008-11-04 05:50am by austral7 -
Hi Dimo,

Thanks for providing this information. The new graph that you linked to showing the usage over the last month appears to have the dates blanked out at the bottom, can we please get a link to the original graph.

I am still confused as to how our usage can have sky rocketed so much. According to the log file you supplied, we had approximately 1850 executions on our forum today?! I can understand this is what the log says, but we simply don't have the users to create that kind of traffic. We only had 15 users log in today in TOTAL. That's not all at once. By my calculations that's 120 pages loads EACH. As much as I'd like to think that the forum is interesting, there is NO way they doing that many pages loads. A more appropriate figure would be about 20 each, if that.

So this points to the fact that there is a problem somewhere.

The website hasn't changed in months, so the traffic can not be created by that. But on a side note, I would expect the site to handle 1000+ hits a day without ANY problems.

This then leads us to the potential situation of a bot attacking our forum? Or an error somewhere within the forum, that is causing consistent executions?

What are your thoughts regarding that possibility?

There is no way we will be upgrading our service to the dedicated solution based on 40 users on a forum. There is obviously a problems somewhere!

2008-11-04 06:50am by MartinV -
Hello,

Thanks for providing this information. The new graph that you linked to showing the usage over the last month appears to have the dates blanked out at the bottom, can we please get a link to the original graph.

The dates are not blanked out. They are overlapping due to the fact that this graph is not designed to generate statistics for the whole month.

I am still confused as to how our usage can have sky rocketed so much. According to the log file you supplied, we had approximately 1850 executions on our forum today?! I can understand this is what the log says, but we simply don't have the users to create that kind of traffic. We only had 15 users log in today in TOTAL. That's not all at once. By my calculations that's 120 pages loads EACH. As much as I'd like to think that the forum is interesting, there is NO way they doing that many pages loads. A more appropriate figure would be about 20 each, if that.

The log Dimo provided was for the period 05:33 on the 3-rd of November to 04:57 on the 4-th of November (this is server time GMT -6).

The total count for 24 hours period is about 1030 executions. I have checked this.

Looking at the statistics for the 3-rd of November for your forum: 135 visits 1211 pages opened and 3374 hits this seems normal.

If you check cPanel -> Awstats for your account you could review more detailed statistics foir the accessed web pages etc.

The website hasn't changed in months, so the traffic can not be created by that. But on a side note, I would expect the site to handle 1000+ hits a day without ANY problems.

Yes, generally this should not be a problem at all. However, currently your web site is generating 4000+ hits a day. Again it is up to the web site itself how much load those hits will cause. Generating active script (such as .php) executions is what is causing the high load.

This then leads us to the potential situation of a bot attacking our forum? Or an error somewhere within the forum, that is causing consistent executions?

Looking at the statistics for your web site that does not appear to be the problem. The forum is being accessed from various places and there is no particular host that is causing abnormally high number of connections.

There is no way we will be upgrading our service to the dedicated solution based on 40 users on a forum. There is obviously a problems somewhere!

It is absolutely up to you how to proceed in this matter. I hope the explanation above makes sense to you and you will be able to come up with the best possible solution for your needs.

We will be looking forward to any further questions or comments regarding this issue. We will be more than happy to assist you with anything within our reach.

Best Regards,

Martin
Senior Support Team
SiteGround.com

2008-11-04 07:45pm by austral7 -
Hey,
>Looking at the statistics for the 3-rd of November for your forum: 135 visits 1211 pages opened and >3374 hits this seems normal.
>
>If you check cPanel -> Awstats for your account you could review more detailed statistics foir the >accessed web pages etc.

I logged into the cPanel and had a look at our stats. They are through the roof! Which is good, but doesn't solve our problem. The stats say that we've had 415 visits, coming from 184 Unique visitors, so a lot of those are repeat visitors.

The other thing I noticed was the pages being accessed. The page : /forum/ucp.php appears to be the #1 accessed page, with almost 1400 views this month (4 days). This seems unusually high. If you could offer some advice on this, we have the forum locked so members must log in to access the forums. A "guest" can see the registration forum which only has one post giving instructions on the registration process. The members that do log in, would then be able to access their User Control Panel. But it seems that of the 25 users that have logged into the forum, they would have to have accessed their UCP's 25 times each? I know that the only time I access mine is to get my messages. I am fairly confident that members aren't accessing their UCP's that often. I personally know nearly all of those 25 users. So that can't be the situation. Can you think of some way guests could be trying to access that page?


>The website hasn't changed in months, so the traffic can not be created by that. But on a side note, I >would expect the site to handle 1000+ hits a day without ANY problems.
>
>Yes, generally this should not be a problem at all. However, currently your web site is generating 4000+ >hits a day. Again it is up to the web site itself how much load those hits will cause. Generating active >script (such as .php) executions is what is causing the high load.
>
>Looking at the statistics for your web site that does not appear to be the problem. The forum is being >accessed from various places and there is no particular host that is causing abnormally high number of >connections.

I know exactly what you mean about not being accessed from a particular host, but after a bit of research I found that bots that are used to attach forums etc cycle through different hosts to get around banned IP's. We went from 1 new account every week or so, to 50 new accounts a day when we got attacked. Once I improved the visual code tool that is needed to create a new account, this stopped and we are back to 1 new account request every week or two.

Looking at the stats, a large chunk come from the US, which is interesting considering we have no account holders based there. Is is possible to block and entire country by IP banning?

I've also just turned this option in the "Security Settings" area of the forum:
"Check IP against DNS Blackhole List:
If enabled the user’s IP address is checked against the following DNSBL services on registration and posting: spamcop.net, dsbl.org and http://www.spamhaus.org. This lookup may take a while, depending on the server’s configuration. If slowdowns are experienced or too many false positives reported it is recommended to disable this check."

We really need some advice and help on this, as there is some type of problem here with such a small number of members accessing the forum, the rest of the traffic is being created by another party. As much as I'd love to think that the world knows about our forum and wants to visit it, that's not the case. I believe there is still something amiss. Any advice?

2008-11-05 05:49am by MartinV -
Hello,

The forum/ucp.php file will be accessed upon login of existing user and registration of a new one. You do not need to be an already registered member to access it. As a matter of fact trying to access most of the locations on the forum will bring you through the ucp.php file prompting you to login or register. I would consider it normal that it has the highest number of hits.

Generally it is possible to block all IP networks from a certain country but I would not advise you to do so. This will render your web site inaccessible from the specified location.

Looking and the most used browser accessing your forum (Internet Explorer) the fact that most visitors are from the United States makes sense also.

I really understand your concerns but there is hardly anything that could be done when your web site is simply visited by a lot of users. Of course if you consider certain access not legitimate you can restrict it.

I am afraid there is nothing much that can be done on our side regarding this matter. It is absolutely up to you how to proceed in this situation.

Best Regards,

Martin
Senior Support Team
SiteGround.com

2008-11-05 06:07pm by austral7 -
ok, so that might explain another strange thing that I've noticed has been happening over the past few months. Users, including myself, keep getting logged out of the forum. It is like the forum will timeout your login after about 5 min. I've tried finding where I can increase this, as it has become a real pain. Even when posting something to the forum, if you take longer than a few minutes to type it out, when you go to submit it, the forum says you are no longer logged in and you lose the post. Any suggestions on what might be causing that? Could that have a bearing on why the users are always having to log in?

Unfortunately I disagree with "Looking and the most used browser accessing your forum (Internet Explorer) the fact that most visitors are from the United States makes sense also.", as I mentioned we have NO members in the US, and all the traffic is being created by the forum, not the Website as mentioned by the previous support person.

My suspicion is that the bot that was attacking us previously trying to create new accounts, is in fact still going on us. I don't see it has it has not been successful in getting past the visual test, but it keeps trying. The fact that it doesn't appear to be coming from the one host is due to the fact the bots cycle through hosts.

Banning an entire country based on IP address, is sounding like a good option to me, as we are aimed only at Australian Investigators, we are not worried by people overseas accessing the site / forum.

Is this step of blocking done on your level, or on ours? I'll have to confirm this step with the other admins before we go ahead, but it might be our only option.

2008-11-06 06:20am by Svetlio -
Hello,

We have checked your case. It sounds like a problem with the sessions time.

Please provide us with step by step instructions in order to see the problem at our end. Then we will try to find a solution.

Also, we will need the admin login details for your forum script.

About the blocking of the IPs, the traffic comes from many different IPs and we can not block all of them.

You can check the IPs and block these which are not Australian.

You can use the following syntax:

deny from IP

You should include the lines like the above in the public_html/.htaccess file.

For example if you want to block IP 1.2.3.4, you should enter:

deny from 1.2.3.4

Best Regards,

Svetlio
Senior Support Team
SiteGround.com

2008-11-06 05:50pm by austral7 -
Sorry, but I'm confused, when you say "Please provide us with step by step instructions in order to see the problem at our end. Then we will try to find a solution." what steps are you after. As far as I'm aware we haven't been able to do something from our end that causes the problem? Please explain your question and exactly what problem you are referring to.

adm acc.ss : XXXXXXXXXXXX

Please let me know what you find?

2008-11-07 05:01am by Svetlio -
Hello,

I have tried to log in your forum with the provided details, but I have received the following error message:

You have specified an incorrect password. Please check your password and try again. If you continue to have problems please contact the Board Administrator.

My intention is to try to recreate the problem with the logging out from the forum. In this way it will be easier to look for a solution.

Please provide me with the correct login details and I will proceed.

Best Regards,

Svetlio
Senior Support Team
SiteGround.com

2008-11-09 12:34am by austral7 -
whoops sorry, old pass. I've updated and that pass should now work.

Thanks
Ben.

2008-11-09 02:37am by MartinV -
Hello Ben,

I am afraid that at this point I am not able to login to your forum at all. Using the provided login details display a message for successful login and I get logged out immediate after that. It might be a good idea to revert all changes you have made recently as currently your forum seems not to function properly.

Best Regards,

Martin
Senior Support Team
SiteGround.com

2008-11-09 04:06am by austral7 -
Really? that's strange, as I am logging in fine. So are the other users, as I can see other users logged in and posting.

The only recent change I've made regarding logging in was to clear the board cookies and change the cookie path to /forum. This has fixed the apparent logging out issue, though we still have to login when we first go to the site, but it doesn't log us out after a few minutes, which was a problem.

Do you need me to change the path back to / as it was originally?

2008-11-09 05:01am by MartinV -
Hello,
Thank you for the update. No, no changes are required if everything is working fine for you. I presume it was a cache/cookies issue as I was able to login without any troubles now.

As previously discussed you can proceed with the desired changes to your forum.

Best Regards,

Martin
Senior Support Team
SiteGround.com

2008-11-09 05:42am by austral7 -
Hey,
I'm not currently making any changes, or had any planned. I thought you guys were going to login and see if there was a session problem that was causing the excessive executions that our forum is creating? This is the whole point of the ticket.

2008-11-09 05:47am by MartinV -
Hello,
No, Svetlio intended to test the login in order to checkout the logging out issue you previously described. Optimizing your web site for better performance is solely up to you. I am afraid we cannot be of any assistance regarding this matter.

Please optimize your website as much as possible, if you wish restrict access from specific location if you consider that this will help. Allow a few hours for the changes to take effect and then update this ticket so that we can check your account's resource usage again.

Best Regards,

Martin
Senior Support Team
SiteGround.com

2008-11-09 05:54am by austral7 -
oh ok.
Well as we've all discussed, the website isn't the problem, it's the forum, and as I've pointed out, we only have 40 or so active people on the forum. Of which only 25 have logged in this month.

So somehow, someone is creating a mass of executions on the forum without being logged into it. Which probably means they are only hitting the front page of the forum. And yes, I realise they are from different IP's, but as I'm also mentioned before, the bots that do these attacks cycle IP's.

So basically there is nothing you guys can suggest to help this problem?

2008-11-09 08:17am by MartinV -
Hello Ben,

Once again I would like to point out that hits on your home page will hardly cause any load at all. I have also checked the script executions for the last hours and from a total of 1435 executions only 285 are of the ucp.php file.

Also I have noticed that there area slow queries to your forum database. I will paste a sample below:

# Time: 081109 0:58:32
# User@Host: austral7[austral7] @ localhost []
# Query_time: 15 Lock_time: 0 Rows_sent: 0 Rows_examined: 0
use austral7_forum;
SELECT distinct(p.topic_id) , p.forum_id, p.post_time, p.post_subject, p.post_text, p.bbcode_bitfield, p.bbcode_uid,^M
u.user_id, u.user_email, u.username, u.user_posts, u.user_rank, u.user_colour, u.user_allow_viewonline, u.user_allow_viewemail,^M
t.topic_title, f.left_id, f.right_id, t.topic_replies as aantal_posts^M
FROM phpbb_2posts p JOIN phpbb_2users u on p.poster_id = u.user_id JOIN phpbb_2topics t on p.topic_id = t.topic_id JOIN phpbb_2forums f on p.forum_id = f.forum_id^M
GROUP BY post_id^M
ORDER BY p.post_time DESC^M
LIMIT 15;

This is the exact slow query executed each time.

Here is another statistic you might find interesting:

Total page requests from IP for 48h: 2487
Average page requests from IP per hour: 51.8125
Average page requests from IP per min. 0.863542
==============================
Top IPs that accessed australianinvestigators.com:
==============================
702 144.136.133.163
215 123.243.114.105
201 165.228.100.181
200 211.28.152.41
132 59.100.16.52
123 114.73.0.161
122 59.100.0.48
115 121.91.82.12
104 58.178.0.92

First number is the count and the second is the IP address. All of those IP addresses are Australian.

All of this I am pasting just to assure you that this is not an issue with a bot trying to spam your web site.

The thing is that there is heavy activity especially on the forum. As it iseems the scripts are not optimized in the best way as there are slow queries. All these lead to higher server load.

Best Regards,

Martin
Senior Support Team
SiteGround.com

2008-11-09 07:06pm by austral7 -
Hey Martin,

Thanks for this info. A couple of interesting things, the first IP address : 144.136.133.163 is by far the top IP to hit the website. However, this is not a registered user?! I am #2 at IP 123.243.114.105 and that makes sense, but that's a drop of 702 down to me at 215, the next IP is also another user on the forum.

So even though the top IP address is an Australian one, it is not a registered user on the forum, which means every time they execute something on the forum, they are in reality doing nothing, ie they aren't posting anything, or reading anything except the front page of the forum. Maybe I should start with blocking this IP address?

Back over on the AWstats page it shows our top hits and page loads coming from the US. With the top IP's being for the month of Nov:

194.165.42.103 - is an unreachable host in Saudi Arabia - BLOCK? 675 / 675
144.136.133.163 - a forum user - QLD Aust. - user Catzeyes
58.172.32.91 - a forum user - user Tiger
58.6.245.201 - not a forum user - located in Perth Aust. - BLOCK? 243 / 2060
200.63.42.147 - not traceable? - BLOCK? 216 / 216
78.157.143.206 - not a forum user - located near Russia - BLOCK? 175 / 175
79.143.177.3 - not a forum user - located near Russia - BLOCK? 162 / 162
194.165.42.67 - not a forum user - Saudi Arabia - BLOCK? 126 / 126

I've gone through an trace routed all of these, crossing checking them with users of the forum. The first number is the pages and the second is the Hits. I find it interesting that all the IPs from Europe / Russia / Middle East have the exact same number of hits to pages. When looking over the list there are a lot of instances where the Pages = Hits. After throwing these into a spreadsheet and working on it a bit, out of approximately 390 IP's, 233 have these matching numbers. Out of 31000 hits, 5000 are due to this IP's. Looking at the IP's a lot of them end in RU and other overseas domains.

My knowledge of scripts is zero. Basically I believe they are a set of instructions (program) that the processor is asked to execute? Does it seem strange that the slow process is always the exact same one? I can't tell from looking at what you've cut and pasted what that script does, can you?

Also I'd like to thank you for your time and patience on this :)

2008-11-09 08:07pm by austral7 -
Just to let you know, I've just added a mass of IPs to the htaccess file to deny.

I've basically covered countries like Russia, Latvia, US, Saudi Arabia. Probably not the best solution, but we don't want visitors from those countries, and the US alone makes up a massive chunk of the visits.

Will be interesting to see if there is also a drop in server load.

2008-11-10 11:10am by MartinV -
Hello,
Here is the graph of the executions and CPU usage statistics for your web site for the last 4 days:

http://australianinvestigators.com/aust ... 0-2008.jpg

As you can see they are still high above the standard for a shared server.

You can see the pattern. There is literally no load caused between 1:00 and 7:00 (server time GMT -6). At this point your web site is not accessed at all. The high load starts after 7:00-9:00 AM and gradually lowers until about 1:00 AM. This is not bot behavior.

The slow query I pasted is simply for generating a page in your forum. Nothing special. I have ran optimization for your forum database which should resolve this issue.

Still bottom line is that your account continues to generate heavy load. I am afraid that in this state it is not suitable for a shared server.

Best Regards,

Martin
Senior Support Team
SiteGround.com

2008-11-10 05:22pm by austral7 -
Thanks for running that optimisation over the forum.
Can I ask, would a normal forum with approximately 50 active users normally generate this kind of activity / server load?

2008-11-11 08:12am by Anatoli -
Hello,
>>> Can I ask, would a normal forum with approximately 50 active users normally generate this kind of activity / server load?

This really depends on what those users are doing and how your forum is configured. For example, if 50 users simultaneously are using the search function and your forum has a lot of threads, this will definitely overload any server.

Please let us know if we can help you with anything further.

Best Regards,

Anatoli D.
Senior Supervisor,
Technical Support Team
Siteground.com

2008-11-11 05:53pm by austral7 -
No, I was thinking more like no more than 5 logged in at any one time, doing basic things like reading the forum and some posting? Would this cause the server load we are seeing?

2008-11-12 02:12am by Niki -
Hello,
Thank you for the update.

Indeed, it is strange that only 50 users could spawn so many execution, but the fact is that the problem exists a the present time. I can see from the servers log as well as from the Awstats, that most of the executions are of your User Control Panel script (ucp.php) of your forum.

I am afraid, that this is a problem with a third party software and there is not much we can do in order to assist you further. You need to find the problem and fix it. We will check your account usage again on Monday and if the problem continues to present, we will have to disable the web access to your account until the problem is solved.

If you have further questions, you are more than welcome to contact us by opening a ticket.

Best Regards,

Nikolay T.
Technical Support Manager
SiteGround.com

2008-11-12 07:44am by austral7 -
The fact is that 50 people are not creating these executions. We have no more than 10 being logged in at any one time, and usually it is only 2-5 at any one time. So basically 5 people are creating these executions, which based on the numbers discussed above, isn't reasonable use. So there is a problem.

"The forum/ucp.php file will be accessed upon login of existing user and registration of a new one. You do not need to be an already registered member to access it. As a matter of fact trying to access most of the locations on the forum will bring you through the ucp.php file prompting you to login or register. I would consider it normal that it has the highest number of hits." Martin.

Yes, it does appear that it is a problem with a 3rd party software application, BUT your service was chosen based on the fact that it advertisied itself as a great service with support for phpBB forums, which I might add, you guys installed for us.

However, no one has been able to give me a straight answer in regards to our problem. You point out that we have a mass of executions, but you can't tell me what causes them. We are lead to believe our users are the reason, but no one can explain why such a tiny user base can cause these types of MASSIVE loads. The last response basically dumps it on us. For a service that was selected based on phpbb forum support, you guys are not doing a great job.

So, what we are going to do is have a look over the next few days to see if the blocking of IP addresses makes any difference (if you guys are based in the US, would be nice if you could double check this for us).

We will also go back to the phpbb support forums and see if someone there can explain the ridicules server loads that are being generated. I will obviously be cut and pasting large sections of this ticket to show the forum users the steps that we've gone through thus far. I'm sure many will be interested to see how well your company has helped :/ (Having said that, Martin has been great).

Like I've mentioned before, we will not be going to a $100/mth dedicated server for a forum of 80 users, because our hosting company can't support more than 5 -10 users logged in at any one time. And also weren't overly helpful in figuring out the problem.

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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by Brf » Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:23 pm

blades1000 wrote: I really feel they are giving me the run around
There was no need to post that huge letter. It is a standard practice to try to get you to upgrade to a more expensive account.

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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by blades1000 » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:39 pm

Well I wanted to be thorough :)

So what are my options? Just change hosting providers? I actually paid for 2 years hosting with them. Interestingly enough, I received another update this morning after I told them I was going to make all the correspondence public, that our server load had dropped quite a bit. That hopefully it will continue to drop.....
Last edited by blades1000 on Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by barryoneoff » Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:23 am

I'm constantly having error problems with SiteGround lately , and mine is a very small forum. They have been OK for a year or so but have now suggested that it might be better to upgrade to a dedicated server. I have very few regulrly active members, and there's no way I can afford to pay $149 a month to come off a shared server. Why don't they simply improve their equipment?
My paid-for two years will be up soon. Anyone recomend another fairly cheap but good host that allows phpBB forums?
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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by blades1000 » Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:37 am

Hmmm I'm not 100% sure how much longer my 2 year plan has, but with the latest experience, I won't be staying with them :(

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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by blades1000 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:30 am

Well interestingly Siteground (www.siteground.com) have now said that our server load has dropped to an acceptable level.

We blocked some IP addresses including several countries. Those IP addresses are still hitting our site, but they are getting an error.

I personally am not sure if it was a scam by the hosting company, or bots causing the problems, but either way I won't be staying with Siteground when our payment has run out.

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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by barryoneoff » Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:30 am

I and my members still get the errors. Seems they can't be bothered anymore to me.
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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by SovietSteeds » Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:21 am

I am going through the same thing right now with SiteGround. I just received a similar e-mail from them.

I have a forum with about 1400 registered users, but not more than 100 of them are active users, and usually not more than 10 or so are on line at any given time.

I cannot comprehend how this small of a forum is overloading SiteGround's server.

I just had SiteGround upgrade my phpbb software from 2.0.23 to 3.0.6. (I also had them upgrade Coppermine and bridge it to phpBB). All in all I just paid them about $200 for the upgrades. Not to mention I paid for hosting 2 years in advance.

Is there anything I can do to reduce the CPU usage in v. 3.0.6? :?:

Would pruning the forums help? I currently have about 108,000 posts.

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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by barryoneoff » Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:34 pm

I emailed them back quoting their "unlimited" bandwidth promise. They tried to give me a load of bullshit, but eventually gave up. Touch wood, no problems since. I can't put my true suspicions on here, but I am still very dubious about their methods.
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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by SovietSteeds » Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:56 pm

barryoneoff wrote:I emailed them back quoting their "unlimited" bandwidth promise. They tried to give me a load of bullshit, but eventually gave up. Touch wood, no problems since. I can't put my true suspicions on here, but I am still very dubious about their methods.
I am wondering the same thing.

They advertise "unlimited bandwidth" but but after you sign up you find out that there are CPU and account execution limits (which seem minimal IMO), that they don't disclose in their advertising for the unlimited bandwidth account.

Link: http://www.siteground.com/hosting_features.htm

It seems akin to having unlimted money, but you can only spend it $2 a day. :lol:

Something doesn't seem right. I'm not sure how my small forum can be overloading their server.

I paid SiteGround to uphrade phpbb to 3.0.6, the latest version just last week.
I don't allow guests to post or even use the search function, only regisitered users.
I have reCAPTCHA installed and a custom field trick question to stop the spam bots from registering.
I have the forum set up so an admin has to approve all new users, no automatic membership.
I even turned off the spider bots in the control panel.
I don't have any MODS to the foums.
I've disabled the birthday function, guest listing and other non-essential features in the ACP Load Settings menu.

What else can I do to lower the CPU and account executions? :?:

Here are my CPU & Execution stats from the Cpanel: (used/allowed)

CPU usage: 1379.23/2000 - past 2 hours. 10843.65/10800 - past 24 hours.
Account Executions: 3888/1600 - past 2 hours. 33175/12000 - past 24 hours.

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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by Mick » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:10 am

SovietSteeds wrote:What else can I do to lower the CPU and account executions?
By the sounds of it you've done about as much as you can, have a look here Web Hosting Talk, they may be able to help you make your mind up. It's the 'Which' magazine of the hosting world.
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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by SovietSteeds » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:20 am

Mixstar wrote:
SovietSteeds wrote:What else can I do to lower the CPU and account executions?
By the sounds of it you've done about as much as you can, have a look here Web Hosting Talk, they may be able to help you make your mind up. It's the 'Which' magazine of the hosting world.
I've been with SiteGround for over 2 years (with few problems), and renewed for another 2 years not long ago and upgraded to their premium support beacuse I have been satisfied with their service.

I also just paid them to upgrade phpbb and coppermine to the latest version last week to the tune of about $200.

So I have some $$$ invested in it, but now I feel like I'm getting hit up for more with this server overload stuff.

What is an "account execution" anyway. Is that somone loading a topic or page? :?:

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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by Coert » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:36 am

I host my website at TMDhosting.com. We've had casualties in the past, but they are really good now.
For a 46 $ per year, and a cPanel. Also great support.

Leave that, find another host.

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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by SovietSteeds » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:24 am

Coert wrote:I host my website at TMDhosting.com. We've had casualties in the past, but they are really good now.
For a 46 $ per year, and a cPanel. Also great support.

Leave that, find another host.
I'm not usre I am at the point where I am ready to jump ship with SiteGround yet.

But I sure can't afford a "business class" or "dedicated hosting" solution for a small hobbyist forum.

I mioght not have an option... :(

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Re: SiteGround - Server Overload Problems

Post by djp2 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:58 pm

I had a shared hosting account with siteground as well. Each year I would get one of these emails and find something wrong that brought me back out of their sights. Finally though my phpbb forum and wordpress blog was too popular and I couldn't get away with staying on a shared server. I am on the cheapest business plan now that has twice as many account executions as shared with more CPU headroom too. So far the whole site is running better now.

They run a tight ship there, I was impressed with how well they are dimensioning their servers.

I just hope that now I won't outgrow the business hosting because it starts to get more and more expensive.

Just for comparison, I get around 90,000 unique visitors a month - and i guess that a shared hosting solution isn't really the best solution for that sort of figure.

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