Performance Issues

At 10:15AM Eastern Time on Monday, we are experiencing both Scot’s Newsletter Blog and Forums performance issues due to too many simultaneous connections on their databases. I have no way of knowing whether there continues to be a shared concurrent connection limit between the two databases (something that I thought I fixed) or whether this is simply a coincidence that the newsletter’s appearance last evening has created a big surge this AM on both sites, since it contains links to both.

I have temporarily turned off the forums while I check its database for corruption. Perhaps that will improve performance here at the blog. We’ll see.

— Scot

9 Responses to “Performance Issues”

  1. michaelhorowitz2 Says:

    A high end DBMS has *many* performance related configuration options, much more than a simple limit on concurrent users. I don’t know the details for MySQL but if the only limit your hosting company deals with is concurrent users, they are missing many potential tweaks, among them are buffering, something MySQL should have many tweaks for – separate and distinct from any WordPress buffering.

  2. Scot Says:

    Agreed, Michael. MySQL is a pretty simple open-source database, though. While it may have configuration options, those options aren’t available or exposed to customers of shared webhost services. The actual problems we’re having have to do with the webhost’s imposition of an arbitrary 50-concurrent-user limit on all MySQL databases. I’m still not 100% sure that that limit isn’t shared with the forums, since the forums went down at the same time the blog did, and both sites were indicating MySQL database errors.

    I’ve hosted the forums at four different webhosts during its five-year lifespan. I’ve had issues with performance on every single one of them. Of the four, IX Webhosting (my current webhost) is the best in terms of uptime. In fact, I had no serious performance issues until the blog was launched with a new separate database. The problems occur only in the hours after the notification newsletter is sent.

    I’ve been looking around for a new webhost, but what I need is a webhost that emphasizes MySQL performance. Most hosts give very little information about this. One I recently investigated, PowWeb, only provides 10 simultaneous MySQL connections. They offer almost endless bandwidth and 75 MySQL databases, but if that’s very misleading.

    — Scot

    I’ve been

  3. ruirib Says:

    Look, this 50 concurrent connections things is BS. This is a thing hosts do on purpose, just to force to upgrade to higher pricing plans when you need to support more concurrent users. You just need to get a decent hosting company, who doesn’t try to make money even when using a free DBMS like MySQL!

    I’m not sure about the kind of plan you have, but having provide support to a open source forum package for the last 5 years, I’ve seen a lot of decent hosting packages. There are lots of decent hosts out there. Email me if you want some advice on reliable hosts that provide limitless MySQL connections.

  4. alexgieg Says:

    Some time ago I found about this web hosting provider:

    I don’t use them, but I’m thinking on switching. They have a sane pricing policy: unlike packages with arbitrary limitation, they charge your actual usage, with everything having a clear price tag. Here’s what I found about MySQL in their FAQ:

    * What database software do you support?

    Full MySQL support is available through our user interface. We give you your own private MySQL process and full administrator privileges; there’s no need to worry about other users trampling on your databases or trying to shoehorn several applications into a single database. To help you manage your process remotely without having to install and maintain extra software, we provide our own integrated phpMyAdmin installation as part of our member interface. We also support HTTP Basic Authentication against a MySQL database.

    We also support a number of common database libraries in both PHP and CGI applications, including SQLite, db4 and gdbm.

    We do not support or plan to support PostgreSQL at this time.

    * How many MySQL databases can I have?

    A MySQL process can contain as many databases as you wish. You can also create multiple MySQL processes if you wish, but doing so will cost more than placing all your databases in a single process.

    * How much does a MySQL process cost?

    Your first MySQL process has a base charge of $0.01 per day. If you create additional MySQL processes, which is almost never necessary, each one after the first has a base charge of $0.02 per day. Remember, you can create as many databases as you like in a single MySQL process!

    If you use the optional InnoDB feature (which is disabled by default), that costs an extra $0.01 per day.

    We have an additional “heavy duty” charge of $0.01 per day for the top 10% of MySQL CPU users, but currently we are not collecting that charge.

    This means that for most people, use of MySQL will cost $0.01 per day, or about $3.65 per year.

  5. Scot Says:

    Anyone who has ideas about webhosts who provide a high number of concurrent connections to MySQL, please send along suggestions. I’m looking for Linux-based hosting. I also need to host multiple domains for free. I also need very high or unlimited bandwidth. Price is not the most important thing to me — service, support, and uptime are more important. Full SMTP/POP3/IMAP support with authenticated SMTP (as opposed to other spam-protection mechansims) are important.

    Here’s the plan that I’m currently using:


    — Scot

  6. alexgieg Says:

    I have posted on NearlyFreeSpeech.Net (I’m becoming a customer of theirs once my free trial expires, I really like their service) forums about the problems you’ve experienced, whether you’d experience them there, and what they provide on your list of requirements above. This is the information I gathered:

    a) Their system offers a 100 connections limit per database process. This is the default for MySQL, and is usually enough for the busiest web sites. In any case, one can have more than a single database process, each one with its own 100 connections limit, and spread processing over those;

    b) Many users there have HUGE web forums, and those never reach the 100 connections limit;

    c) An administrator mentioned that they have seen WordPress causing this kind of problems in the past, although not recently. Here’s what he wrote:

    “WordPress inevitably chokes under ultra-heavy loads. I’m not 100% sure why this is, but the various caching modules don’t seem to help much. On the other hand, we haven’t seen it since we started throwing 8-core machines into the cluster, so it may be possible to just throw hardware at the problem.”

    From this I guess we can deduce your current hosting provider doesn’t provide very high end servers.

    d) According to their FAQ, web sites there can support even slashdotings without problem. That’s because they load-balance all web sites, and don’t cap the bandwidth. On the other hand, as their service isn’t sold in the form of “packages”, but charges based on what’s actually consumed, these events can become expensive if they happen too often. The FAQ says that each slashdoting goes on average for $10 in bandwidth, and I guess you distributing your newsletter causes a similar demand.

    e) The hosting is all Linux-based. You chose between PHP 4 and PHP 5, but that’s it. No Microsoft-based offering.

    f) One downside is that they don’t offer HTTPS, only standard HTTP. Not a problem unless the idea is having a store. In this case they aren’t a good option.

    g) You can have multiple domains registered, either pointing to the same site, to different sites, or mixed. This service isn’t charged.

    h) So far the service they provided me was very good. There’s no tier 1 support, technical questions go directly to system administrators. And I got answers to my questions reasonably fast.

    i) They don’t provide e-mail hosting, only e-mail forwarding (paid) or MX redirection (free). As e-mail hosting providers they recommend specialized 3rd party solutions: Gmail, which is free, or paid ones such as Hostmail,, FuseMail etc., which are compatible and work well. I myself use Gmail.

    j) They don’t offer an affiliate program, so I’m surely not earning a cent for talking about them here. I just like their philosophy and the service. 🙂

    I hope this helps!

    Alexander Gieg

  7. alexgieg Says:

    Oops! An error in point “e”. It’s not “Linux”, it’s “FreeBSD”. Sorry!

    From the perspective of the applications running it’s basically the same thing though.

    Alexander Gieg

  8. Reziac Says:

    I don’t know if it meets all your requirements, but I’ve been using 1&1’s hosting for almost 5 years now and not a bit of complaint. I have a cheapo “Home” $5/mo. package (not their bottom end, but next to it) that I use mainly as an FTP mirror and filedump for clients, but I also use it for email and for some of my domains. You’d want at least their $10/mo. package for feature set. — Their control panel is very thoroughly implemented. Support can take a day or two to get back to you, but when they do it will be a Real Human with Real Clues. (be sure to go to the bottom of the page and click “show all features”) will show you what they’ve got. They’re offering a free trial of the “Home” package right now, but it lacks the mailing list feature.

    A friend who was fed up with unreliable hosting is now using Dreamhost, which is right down the street from his work so he could personally check them out. So far he’s been happy with them, but that’s all I know about it.


  9. Steve3456 Says:

    I too have been using for several years. I have half a dozen domains and have experienced excellent service and performance. Although it is a large global company with 7 million clients, it surprisingly does provide good phone and email support, and at good prices. I have felt no need to shop around for someone better.

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