Suffice to say you probably noticed this site was down for a few days last week (the RSS feed was down even longer). At some point Wednesday morning the process that powers this site was consuming too much processing time and started being killed by an automated DreamHost script. You can read more about the gory details and bizarre side effects, but I just wanted to post a follow-up for the next person who encounters this.
After about 8 hours of troubleshooting I was downloading all of the files and database to move to another host, when the DreamHost support rep suggested I try to run this site under a different shell username. It was a shot in the dark, but sure enough as soon as I moved it to a new user everything started working. Unbelievable.
Of course, next was the hard question: Do I spend the 5 hours to move this blog to another hose, knowing that I’ve had no trouble with DreamHost in the past couple years and that a new host is as likely to have similar issues?
I’m sure some people will post comments about how bad DreamHost is, and all the problems they experience, but every host I’ve used (4 total) has at least this many problems, and I’ve experienced more downtime at other hosts.
After much consideration I’ve decided to stay with DreamHost for now, and have upgraded to their Private Server (PS) hosting, which allows me to move a dial and increase my usage in real time so this kind of thing can be avoided in the future.
But what bothers me is that this still doesn’t explain why my blog, which was not getting any more traffic than usual on Wednesday morning, suddenly became a processor hog.
WordPress? DreamHost? I’ll probably never know…
Update: An awesome DreamHost tech support rep named Mike M. went above and beyond and figured out one of my problems was a malicious comment spammer who was hitting my site repeatedly.
After taking care of that I noticed that the wp-cache is locking the site up once every couple days. I now know how to correct it once the lock happens (clearing the cache), but I have yet to find a sustainable resolution.
For now I am disabling the plug-in and hoping I don’t wind up with a big spike in traffic before I can install another decent WordPress caching plug-in.