Well, you may have noticed the site was down for several hours this morning. Why? Who the hell knows?
The problem was that access to all cgi (backend scripting) was disabled. No, Perl, and more importantly, no PHP. This site uses a large number of PHP scripting and includes to work. This site would be impossible without the sweet sweet nectar of life that is PHP. So, with cgi access disabled, nothing works.
If you came to the site whilst it was down, you were prompted to download a file, because the webserver couldn?t understand the PHP extension on all the pages. It?s kind of like if you tried to watch a video of Chu Mei Feng having sex with a married man, but you didn?t have Quicktime installed on your computer. Your computer would get all frustrated because it didn?t know what to do, just like the web server was doing this morning.
You may remember this same thing has happened before. Last month Bad Samaritan was sucking off too many server resources, so they shut it down on purpose. It took three days of begging, and finally just me pulling down my pants and bending over before they?d reinstate my account, as long as I promised to nix karma voting and wear a French maid?s uniform. No problem, whatever I have to do.
A couple days later, it happened again, for no reason this time. They offered no explanation, other than they had been doing some server upgrades, and forgot to enable my account. Fine. Not very professional, but I was grateful I didn?t have to give anything up this time, and I wasn?t going to get fucked in the ass again, I was only just able to sit down again without discomfort.
And now, this morning, it happened again. I sent a quick email to kd, who, through her reseller account with the Web Hosting Company to Remain Nameless, graciously hosts Bad Samaritan (for cheap, no less!). I then had to wait four hours for her to wake up. Damn time zones, why must you always betray me?!
When she woke up, she contacted tech support. Here is their response:
CGIs are not disabled for badsamaritan.com. Please explain the problem your encountering.
At this point, kd responded for me. She wrote a much more professional letter than I would have at that moment. Let?s just say I?m glad she is on my side:
Instead of executing the CGI it offers to let you download the file. this is how things behaved when you had shut them down the last two times. also other scripting is NOT running because if you go to any page with a .php extension, it offers to let you download the page. again, same as last two times.
If I were writing that email, there?s probably have been a higher incidence of the word ?fuck.? I like how kd kept mentioning the other two times this happened, especially important because this was the same techie we?d dealt with the last two times.
His final response:
Try it now! We rebooted it just in case.
They rebooted the machine? What is this, Windows ME? No explanation, no apology?
I suppose I should just be happy things are working again. Always look on the bright side of life, mg.
What are your disk space and bandwidth requirements?
by Tom at February 15, 2002 2:27 PM
i noticed that as i was trying to check my links. glad to see it's up and running now.
i hate when servers are obviously bought as something else, though. i know there are servers that have 5 minutes of downtime a year at MOST. i don't think that they're in homepage webland, however. sadly.
by kittenesh at February 15, 2002 3:07 PM
If you decide to get a new host in the future I would suggest the people I use. Lots of server space and tons of bandwidth for minimal dollars. It's been almost a year and I've only had downtime once. And that was due to being moved to a brand new server.
If you want the name, just send me an email. I'm always happy to recommend good service.
by GeekMan at February 15, 2002 4:01 PM
I gave up on letting others do my hosting when I, using nothing but a medley of Perl scripts and zero telnet access, managed to diagnose a recurring server problem more accurately than the web host did. (They weren't counting logfiles against anyone's space limits, so the disk would become full and effectively deny everyone upload access.) Nuts to that, said I.
by Antwon at February 15, 2002 4:06 PM
Ditto on what Tom said. What do you need out of a webhost? I run a webhosting company on the side. Well, it's not much of a company, but I have nice servers and pipes :)
by Xkot at February 15, 2002 6:06 PM
actually, i'm running like 11 weblogs off of surreally, which is on the same plan at the same place, & they do have server class hardware. they just have an automatic shutdown that is too twitchy -- GM CGIs aren't very efficient, & it doesn't take much to make the server shut down scripting.
i don't know why it only happened to bad sam, considering the workout that surreally & her subdomains & directories give it. because it's not bandwidth we're talking about, it's CGI usage in particular. totally bizarre.
by kd at February 15, 2002 6:27 PM
Your site runs on Zeus 3.4 on Linux, and the server logs show that it hasn't been rebooted in 45 days. My guess is they need to beef up their hardware. As the network becomes more saturated, packet collisions will become more frequent, causing the network to perform less efficiently.On the SUT (and on the client machines), netstat or ifconfig can be used to query network interfaces and check whether there have been many packet collisions. If there have, then they need to upgrade the network (i.e. use more / faster network cards) Check also that the network is reliable (there should be no packet loss). Also sometimes the FastCGIs Zeus uses can cause the 500 error. This can happen when a system call fails while the server is trying to set up the CGI process environment. Almost all these errors relate to the operating system running out of memory or file-descriptors ( you can get more detail if they let you see the log file.)
by Charles at February 15, 2002 8:32 PM
Beck; Mellow Gold; Loser.
Don't believe everything that you breath, you get a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve, so shave you face with some mace in the dark, savin' all your food stamps and put 'em down the trailer park,
Yo. Cut it.
by MrBlank at February 17, 2002 1:13 PM
So what, does everyone in the world run a webhosting company in their spare time nowadays? Is that, like, the chic techie thing to do or something? I figured I was the only one. :-)
by Antwon at February 17, 2002 9:33 PM
I think if my neighborhood was technologically advanced enough, and I could get a high speed connection going into my apartment, I'd host my own site, and anyone else who wanted it too. So, yes, this is now the geek chic thing to do now.
by mg at February 17, 2002 10:24 PM
i have all the necessary connection stuff & equipment to host my own stuff. but i leave that to the pros with their redundant server class hot swappable RAID this that & the other, because i can see nothing good about trying to be chic & geeky & ending up with my site down because i'm only a wannabe geek. [sigh]
by kd at February 17, 2002 10:54 PM
There's a lot to be said for not running your own servers out of your apartment. Even though my site is (sort of) self-hosted through Denise's company, they still have their servers downtown at a professionally-managed facility. The server farm has 45 degree temps, redundant backups, 24/7 tech support, and probably most important - will run sites off a loaner servers if our get a glitch. Supposedly, even if a nuclear bomb destroyed Dallas, their redundant facility in Iowa or some such place would kick in. So we'd be gone, but our weblogs would live on LOL.
by Charles at February 17, 2002 11:51 PM
I can just see my spirit wafting above some ethereal representation of my website, complaining bitterly about reduced hits because of "that whole nuclear thing." :-)
And I may resell the service, but I outsource the actual server maintenance/pipes/etc to some monolithic organization in Texas somewhere and administer everything through a web frontend. I too feared running a server somewhere where I could accidentally spill Diet Coke on it or whatnot.
by Antwon at February 18, 2002 6:23 PM
Probably Inflow - they're down the street and one day if I'm in a reeally bad mood I just might go over there and take down the whole damned Net!
by Charles at February 19, 2002 2:02 AM