Report CureTinnitus.org Site Downtime — our host is Dreamhost

Here is a recent email exchange I had with Dreamhost, the host I chose for CureTinnitus.org. At the time of writing, I was a bit frustrated, because I had noticed site outages every few days. On more than one occasion, when wanting to show the site to friends, potential business associates, even a marketing coach, the site was down. So, I sent this email during a longer outage.

——————————
curetinnitus.org seems to have been down now for a couple hours. While
you seem to be recommending an upgrade, how can I trust your service,
if, with just 20 or so members, my site keeps going down? Also, how
can I build a business when my site can go down for hours and minutes
at a time? How can I keep my top google ranking?

Please let me know what kind of uptime you can provide me, and why my
sites have been down so very often and for so long.

I understand that there are no “perfect” solutions, but I frequently
experience downtime of 30 minutes to 2 hours, and we are at about 3
hours now. How can I attract and keep members?

Looking forward to your response and seeking more stable hosting.

Thank you,
Dainis
——————————
Dreamhost’s response:
First, I am very sorry for the delay in answering this request. We try
very hard to answer all requests withing 24 hours (and we are usually a
lot quicker), but sometimes when the queue for support is particularly
long, we are not able to respond as quickly as we would like.

I am sorry to hear of these problems, and I too very much want you to
enjoy more stable hosting with DreamHost. It appears to me, from your
error logs, that the problems you were having were here were related to a
hardware issue that has since been resolved. Software problems that are
of a transient nature are one thing to deal with, but a hardware problem
can be tricky as it can be intermittent and can *appear* to be software
related.

It seems that now having replaced the NIC in your server jove, these
downtime problems have been curtailed, as jove has now been up almost
three full days, and is running well at low load (this is a
multiprocessor machine):

jove:/home/dainis/curetinnitus.org/community/wp-content/plugins# w
14:03:05 up 2 days, 22:59, 2 users, load average: 0.98, 1.76, 1.57

We want you to have the best service possible, and we will continue to
work toward that end. Machines do break on occasion, and when they do we
will do our best to find, and fix, the problem as soon as possible. It
appears at present that all is in good order for a steady server
experience here, but please let me know if you have further issues.
——————————

I’d like to say that I am comfortable with Dreamhost’s reply, though I find it necessary that we as a community stay vigilant about uptime for our community. Should the site be down, just reply to one of your newsletters with the subject “CureTinnitus.org Site Down from X:XX to X:XX [TimeZone]” or just “CureTinnitus.org Site Down at X:XX EST” if you don’t want to hang around until it is up again (of course, just put in your own time zone, and the date I assume will be the date of the email).

That ought to do it. Since the site is pretty stable, and the support seems to be professional and courteous, you might want to check out their service for your sites.

Click here to check out Dreamhost’s Hosting Service

5 thoughts on “Report CureTinnitus.org Site Downtime — our host is Dreamhost

  1. Profile photo of dainisdainis Post author

    Hello Dainis,

    Down again right now…5 min so far…

    I would like to apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused. The
    server was having problems this morning and our admins had been working
    to correct the issue. It appears that the were able to correct the
    problem and the server was rebooted.

    0 kenrob8 peon1994 jove 2009-04-10 06:36:17 powerc swap
    storm
    peon1994 jove 2009-04-10 06:36:55 reboot
    2.6.24.5-opteron-aufs20081006-grsec

    Our admins will continue to watch this server to prevent any future
    problems or any reoccurring problems. At this time, your website is
    loading again and all services has returned back to normal. If you have
    any further questions please don’t hesitate to let us know.

    Thank You
    David H.

  2. Profile photo of dainisdainis Post author

    On Wed, 08 Jul 2009, you wrote:

    Dear Dreamhost,

    I was recently upgraded to Galaxy, but the downtime is still recurrent
    and quite frequent. For example, I have about 2hrs right now to work
    on my sites, but they are down. Also, I actually do have real paying
    members to curetinnitus.org. Even though I only have a few members,
    it’s tough to build a business with unreliable servers.

    It looks like the most recent outage might be over, since one of my
    sites is now loading, but can you give me some confidence that your
    uptime will improve?

    I like your service, and I really don’t want to go through the hassles
    of switching, it’s just such a pain in the butt. I also don’t
    currently have the confidence in dreamhost to upgrade to a more
    expensive plan, because if this plan has poor uptime, why should your
    more expensive plans be any better?

    Here is my main question: how can you or I increase the uptime
    percentage of my sites?

    I’m sorry for the problems you were having with your sites. The
    server that you are on has been having some issues today. Unfortunately,
    we’re not entirely sure of what was causing it. We didn’t see any users
    on the server that were using up too much of the server resources and
    this particular server is well within limits that other servers in the
    same cluster are using and are running smoothly. Our admins are going to
    be keeping a close eye on this to try and prevent this from happening
    again. We realize this is frustrating, as this server was used to offload
    customers that were having problems with their previous server. We’re
    doing all that we can to get to the root of these issues and resolve them
    permanently. In checking on the server now, it does look like it’s
    running smoothly. If you have any further issues with this though, please
    write to me directly at [edited]@dreamhost.com (it must be from a contact
    address on your account) and I’ll be happy to look into the possibility
    of moving you to a different server that has proven stability. Again, I
    apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you and thank you for
    your patience as we try to get to the bottom of these issues.

    Thanks!
    Dan W (Dreamhost Support)

  3. Profile photo of dainisdainis Post author

    My members report downtime since Monday. Now my sites are up again:

    http://www.curetinnitus.org/
    http://www.dainis.info/
    http://vaccine-facts.com/

    Can you please tell me what is going on?

    Best,
    Dainis

    On Jul 15, 2009, at 2:25 PM, Dainis Michel wrote:

    I’ve gotten a bit further. Static pages load. Even

    http://www.curetinnitus.org/xxxxxx/admin/setup.php

    loads, which requires ionCube,

    however, none of my wordpress sites are loading.

    http://www.curetinnitus.org/
    http://www.dainis.info/
    http://vaccine-facts.com/

    Please do not leave me alone on this, because I have a top Google ranking that can be adversely affected by this kind of downtime.

    I really don’t like it that you moved me to a new server and busted my sites. I’ve had visitors, and your message about having moved me to forge did not prompt me to visit my sites, because the paths mentioned in the site are the same as when you moved me from jove to galaxy. If you read my prior support messages, I said “please do what you feel is best,” and I placed my trust in Dreamhost.

    I do not find it responsible for someone to just move me to a different server, dash me an automated mail, and just take my sites down. In my opinion, that is not responsible hosting at all.

    Please correct the situation ASAP.

    Sincerely,
    Dainis

    On Jul 15, 2009, at 2:06 PM, Dainis Michel wrote:

    What did you guys do?

    My php.ini looks like this:
    [ionCube]
    zend_extension=”/home/xxxxxxx.org/cgi-bin/ioncube_loader_lin_5.2.so”

    which should be right.

    But I get “error establishing database connection.”

    That did not happen when you moved me from jove to galaxy (a few weeks ago), and now you’ve moved me to forge, but did you forget to move the db’s or something?

    Best,
    Dainis

  4. Profile photo of dainisdainis Post author

    This came in within a few minutes of my previous emails, so I’m comfortable with the response time:

    —————–

    I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you. I show there was
    a mysql permissions issue, but that was since been resolved. I had to
    run a permissions re-configuration on the server.

    Can you let me know if your sites are up and running for you now? I
    checked a few of your sites, and they are loading for me.

    If there is a specific site you want me to check, please let me know the
    URLs.

    Thanks!
    Chih W

  5. Profile photo of dainisdainis Post author

    Q:
    Here’s my take on offering me the PS server option:
    If you don’t guarantee uptime on your shared servers, and they go down
    regularly, then why should I trust Dreamhost at all? Why should I
    spend more money with you instead of just looking for someone else?

    A:
    Hi Dainis,
    No where on our site do we advertise or guarantee any uptime. As I said
    earlier the stability of the server is dependent on multiple factors, in
    the last even there was a problem were another customer was running
    something they shouldn’t have been and that caused the server to become
    unresponsive. When this happened our admin on duty had taken action to
    correct this and the server is now back to normal

    forge:~# uptime
    10:50:58 up 14 days, 19:26, 7 users, load average: 1.69, 1.71, 1.79

    As for trusting us, did we ever deceive you or did you assume we provided
    100% uptime? the questions of if you should trust us ultimately has to be
    answered by you, we can only provide you with information for you to base
    your answer on.
    First, we don’t provide 100% uptime as no shared hosting provider can, if
    they say they can they are lying or they are hoping that once it happens
    that you dont notice it or they plan to apologies to you, we just tell
    you the truth in regards to shared hosting and uptime. Second, we will
    guarantee that we will do all that we can to keep your server up and
    running, this not only benefits you and us as well as we like to have
    happy customers. Third, if your looking for better uptime in general,
    shared hosting is not the place to look, think of it as going to a
    discount store to look for Luxury items, sometimes you get lucky but most
    times you have to put up with some type of compromise, in the case for
    shared hosting that is stability for price. Since you are sharing the
    server with other customers which helps subsidize the cost of having
    your own server there is a risk of having one of these other customers
    affect your service like what had happened earlier.
    Hope this truthful reply helps to answer your question and to keep you as
    a customer.

    Thanks!

    Response:
    Dear Dreamhost Support, thank you for the explanation, understanding the tech side of things helps me quite a bit.

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