Generalized USSM hosting/server/hair-pulling post

DMZ · June 24, 2008 at 11:03 am · Filed Under Site information 

Skip on down if you’re not at all interested in this stuff. Which probably limits this to me.

If you were around yesterday, you saw the server pretty much choke and die twice on the game threads, when Felix hit his grand slam and when he got injured. When McLaren and Bavasi got fired, you got to see some related fireworks including a perfect storm that (as far as I can tell) resulted in a bad redirect page being cached and served to everyone who went to until I went through and peeled that onion.

Anyway, here’s the scoop:
– the Digital Forest folks have been really good to host our box
– I’d planned to put a second processor in there
– but I don’t think that would do it

We have a fairly high-traffic site that has to endure huge, essentially random usage spikes but most of the time sits around twiddling its thumb.

I would also like to get out of the business of supporting the site in the sense of doing things like upgrading Apache versions. I’d much rather be writing snarky articles or many-thousand word discussions with Dave arguing about which Mariner utility man was the best.

And we don’t have a ton of money, obviously. But our experience with shared hosting is that we get kicked off. I don’t know where to go here, if that involves buying another, much bigger box and recruiting someone to run the tech side, or what… you see the dilemma.

So my question to you, since you’ve stuck it out this far: how do we get out of this mess? What’re best practices for something like this?

Now updating with answers! Yayy


57 Responses to “Generalized USSM hosting/server/hair-pulling post”

  1. dw on June 24th, 2008 10:23 pm

    A few people are saying “migrate away from WordPress,” but I really have to disagree.

    Right now, there are three options for blogging platforms:
    Movable Type
    Expression Engine

    Movable Type has improved, but you’re either generating static pages or you’re running in PHP just like WordPress. It’s not an improvement over WordPress.

    Expression Engine is getting to be pretty solid, but I can’t think of any major sites running it as a blog, only some personal sites. It’s really more CMS than blog.

    If the problem really is CPU-related, then the solution is probably going to be limiting the amount of processing needed. And that probably means limiting comments to “last 50” or something similar on the 51+ length threads. I’m not sure cloud computing would help, really, not without actually moving the DB into the cloud itself. Or, at least moving frequently-used files into the cloud to get them off the server, e.g. images.

  2. Capper on June 24th, 2008 10:46 pm

    I had sent a couple emails as well. i have a dual Xeon box with 4GB RAM and 2 x250GB HDD….one of which is basically just sitting there unused…..My server would have no problem hosting my site and the USSM…..and I’m not looking for money or specioal conditions….except maybe a big picture of Bloomquist at the top of the page.

  3. TrevorFSmith on June 25th, 2008 5:35 am

    If you really want to get out of the administration business then look into the paid hosting accounts. They host several high traffic blogs and seem open and transparent in their business practices.

  4. G-Man on June 25th, 2008 9:38 am

    I want to compliment the several people who have volunteered to share their servers gratis. One caveat is that Derek and his partners wouldn’t want to risk losing control of the site. All we need is for someone to go ballistic over an opinion that Dave or Derek posts, pull their resources without warning and cripple the site, if not totally destroy USSM.

    But if there is a way to safely implement something that allows use of those free resources without risking sabotage, it has promise. The colocating scheme that hincandenza mentions in #46 and earlier looks promising to me. If there were 4 (or more, if possible)proxy hosts in the scheme and one crashed or its owner wanted to pull out of USSM, there would be lots of other capacity.

    I reiterate that I am not currently a tech guy, though I was one in my earlier career back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

  5. Capper on June 25th, 2008 10:23 am

    Well, I read the site daily, but rarely post…..I don’t agree with everything thats said…..but thats what makes USSM cool…its a different perspective than most sites, and its an educated perspective.

    As to “losing control of the site”….that wouldn’t be an issue. I have been thinking of something I could do with the rest of my server resources, and thought this would be a worthwhile contribution.

    If you’re interested, hit me up, if not just let me know, either way its cool.

  6. tangotiger on June 25th, 2008 1:44 pm


    Your site is probably similar in traffic to Hardball Times, and I think they have a dedicated server (which I guess they lease, along with all the backups, upgrades, and whatever else they get out of the deal). I’ve never seen their site experience a problem.

    Might be worth talking to studes about what he’s doing…

  7. joser on June 25th, 2008 1:48 pm

    A few people are saying “migrate away from WordPress,” but I really have to disagree.

    Right now, there are three options for blogging platforms:

    The trouble is, this is no longer really a blog. Sure, it’s structured like one, and we (including the authors) still think of it as mostly Dave and Derek writing whatever’s on their mind, like a blog, but from a functional standpoint that’s no longer the case. Game threads are much more like any active BB/community site, and the site as a whole falls into a more traditional web-publishing content-management mold. In other words, limiting yourself to looking at alternative blog software misses the point. A site that has thousands of readers and gets hundreds of updates in the course of a three-hour span isn’t a typical blog. You don’t see Slashdot trying to run on WordPress, no matter how much hardware they have at their disposal.

    If the problem really is CPU-related, then the solution is probably going to be limiting the amount of processing needed. And that probably means limiting comments to “last 50″ or something similar on the 51+ length threads.

    Right, and traditional CMS/web-publishing systems have support for that kind of “paged” view built in (for their commenting systems and whatever else). It’s been a while since I looked at the state of the art in free software in this category, but I know a couple of years ago Joomla and Drupal were the standard-setters, with the *Nuke (including DotNetNuke on the Windows side) variants trying to unseat them. But I really have no idea now.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.