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A day with Digg Effect – when the hosting sucks! September 30, 2008

Posted by askgel in Software, System.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Much to my surprise, when I opened Digg’s front page yesterday morning, my post on Gmail+Weather+Beauty+Conky, I wish I was Mac but now I am happy that I am Ubuntu, was on the front page. It had only made 84 Diggs but was sitting right on the first position. A dream came true for a blogger!

But wait! When I clicked the link to see my ‘winner post’ the site was down. I returned back to Digg to read comments. Everybody was complaining about the site being down and asking for a mirror. I checked my Inbox to see if there was anything from my hosting server. There was! This email from my hosting company LunarPages.com

Dear ashokgelal,
Hello Your account is utilizing excessive resources, causing a significant degradation of services on the server. This is a shared environment and we can not allow one user to utilize the majority of the resources on a server as it affects all users adversely. Because of this, we have temporarily suspended your script: SCRIPT_FILENAME=/home/…/index.php Bellow you have the usage details for your account netkh0 netkhabar.com 4.17 2.32 0.1 Top Process %CPU 50.0 /usr/local/php5/bin/php-cgi /home/…/index.php Top Process %CPU 39.0 /usr/local/php5/bin/php-cgi /home/…/index.php Top Process %CPU 32.0 /usr/local/php5/bin/php-cgi /home/…/index.php CPU 4.17 MEMORY 2.32 MYSQL 0.1 Please note that the above mentioned resource usage is due to PHP processing.Please upgrade your scripts as soon as possible. Please let us know what changes you will be making to correct this issue and we can re-provide ownership of the script to you. We appreciate your understanding in this matter. Thanks. — Best Regards, Vlad Panainte Junior System Administrator 1 support@lunarpages.com Phone: 1-714-521-8150 (U.S. & Canada ) Phone: 1-714-521-8150 (International)

I replied them saying that this was because one of my posts made to the front page of Digg.com. I was fast enough to set up another site http://backuptweaks.quicktweaks.com (it doesn’t exist anymore), and imported all the posts with comments and attachments from quicktweaks backend. I installed WP Super Cache plugin, enabled it and redirected quicktweaks.com to backup.quicktweaks.com. Everything went right. Aha! What a relief! But wait again! 403 Forbidden! I thought I messed up something because of WP-Cache. Again, to keep Diggers happy, I was quick to setup another site http://qtbackup.quicktweaks.com (it’s still there). As soon as I was done, I got the same error 403 Forbidden message. Fired up Fireftp and checked the permission. All the permissions were taken away from me.

My hosting server couldn’t handle the Digg effect, and it was getting hard for me to handle diggers’ comments. Luckily, only permission for the index.php file was taken away for quicktweaks.com. I decided to create a new file index2.php and setup a redirect to execute index2.php instead of index.php. To do so, I added the following lines in my .htaccess file:
RewriteEngine  on
RewriteRule    ^index\.php$  index2.php

It worked for about five minutes then immediately I got a new email notification. Who else it could be other than the LunarPages itself:

Dear Ashok Gelal,
Hello, Unfortunately, we have been forced to temporary suspend your account, as numerous folders were continuously having excessive apache connections, causing high stability to the server:
~/backuptweaks/ ~qtbackup/ Here is only a small cut from the list of connections that the folders were having at the moment: 2-0 6308 4/14/14 K 0.05 4 4 10.1 0.43 0.43 backuptweaks.quicktweaks.com GET /wp-content/themes/personal/images/bg-older-posts.gif HTTP/ 3-0 6309 7/19/19 K 0.07 1 6 46.8 0.90 0.90 backuptweaks.quicktweaks.com


It meant that everything was down, I couldn’t even access my files. Other domains hosted with my same account were also down. I couldn’t access admin backend. Any page was redirected to their page with a notice which asked the webmaster to contact them. Once again I replied them saying this is nothing to do with script file but but because of so called Digg Effect. I asked them when will my site be back.   I  waited their reply for the whole day and finally got this:

Dear Ashok Gelal,
Dear Customer, We really apologize for the inconvenience. You can log into your server here: https://mantus.lunarmania.com:2083 Please, let us know once you have updated your scripts so we can unsuspend your account. If you have any further questions we will gladly assist you. Thank you for your patience. Best Regards, Jaskaran Sandhu Junior Systems Admin. support@lunarpages.com Phone: 1-714-521-8150 (U.S. & Canada – Toll-free) Phone: 1-714-521-8150 (International)


I replied with this:

I’ve updated my scripts. Its not the fault in my script. Its just one of my articles made to the front page of Digg.com (I repeat!!!) and an unexpected huge amount of traffic diverted towards my site. I’ve never expected that LunarPages is only good enough to host a couple of pages and is only able to bear a handful of visitors. I’ve just installed cache mechanism plugins for my blog (based on wordpress) which means now as soon as a visitor visits a page, it will be cached and after that the page will be served as a static page instead of making request to the database. But for this to happen, my site needs to be up and I need to click few pages so that the cached pages are created. Today’s ‘site unavailable’ incident really had a bad impact on my site where I lost a good chance of making my site recognized to a community. A hosting is of no use when it doesn’t allow a webmaster to make an opportunity to make his site famous among a certain group of people. Have I crossed the web space limit? No! Have I used all of the available bandwidth? No! So what’s the reason? You should have made clear before that you are not able to handle more than 10 visitors at a time. Why do you boast being so affordable and so stable hosting company? Why do you advertise shouting ‘unlimited webspace and bandwidth’ when you are not even closes to one gig of bandwidth? I do will write a blog on the useless and inability of LunarPages hosting and I hope that will hit the front page of Digg.com too. But before that would you please let my site take a breath? It might have been dying because of suffocation.
An unhappy customer who thinks that LunarPages hosting sucks!
Thank you anyways and I anticipate your prompt reply and action.

Two hours later I received this response:

Dear Ashok Gelal,
Hello, I have unsuspended your account, please take necessary steps to lower your usage. If we found that your account is causing high usage then we will permanently suspend your account. If you require a higher usage then allowed on shared servers you might want to try a VPS/dedicated plans. Details on VPS or dedicated plans can be found here: http://www.lpdedicated.com Dedicated servers. http://www.lunarpages.com/virtual-private-server/ vps servers I hope this information is helpful. Please note that the acceptable usage range is 1.0% average %CPU or less, 1.0% average %Memory or less and Top Processes below 20%. Thanks. Best Regards, Jaskaran Sandhu Junior Systems Admin. support@lunarpages.com Phone: 1-714-521-8150 (U.S. & Canada – Toll-free) Phone: 1-714-521-8150 (International)

Finally, all the permissions were given back to me. They had put their own .htaccess file and renamed my file to .htacess-suspended. I renamed their .htaccess file to .LunarPagesSucks

As of writing this, the site hasn’t gone down once although I’ve seen an increasing number of traffic most of them from Digg. StumbledUpon and Bookmarks both have sent some traffic too. One thing I don’t understand is that according to one comment from Digg, my site was down before 70 diggs and it was down for the whole day. But the post got dug for the whole day. Before the site was back, it had already received more than 500 Diggs. This made me believe that there are many of those people who blindly Digg a post without bothering to read it.
So what about revenue?
Some of you must be very eager to know about my adsense revenue. One thing I’ve noticed that the Diggers don’t click on any Adwords. The following reports speak themselves:

Lesson learned:

  1. If you submit a post to Digg, get prepared.
  2. Enable caching for your site. After installing WP-Cache I’ve felt that the page is loading much faster.
  3. Never think that you are going to earn lots of money with Adwords. Diggers love reading not clicking your adwords.
  4. Never use cheap hosting. When you want to get a hosting account, don’t look for bandwidth or web space. Ask them if they are able to bear Digg Effect.
  5. I don’t know about others but LunarPages.com sucks. It can’t even handle 60+ diggs. How shame!


Time to bring my site back again: About 16 hours

Time to write the blog and post it: 2 hours

Time to make to the front page: About 14 hours



1. andrea james - September 30, 2008

I actually found your site from the Digg frontpage and have to say…you’re going to run into this issue no matter where you host. It’s not a matter of the offered storage/bandwidth/data xfer/etc. It’s more about the physical usage you use up on the machine.

If you’re using more than probably 1 or 2% in computer processing units (CPU) you will have this problem again and again. If you’re hosting in a “shared” environment, that’s just the jist of how they make it affordable – by having 300 people all using 1 server.

Maybe try one of their bigger plans?I mean, I have a Virtual private server which lets me have 1/25th of the CPU. I dunno what that works out to but I’ve never had trouble. lol So it must be good! At the very least maybe only hosting 1 site on their server would help? not sure but it’s worth a shot.

Anyway good luck! Hosting is always a tough ride when something breaks but at least you’ll be prepared for next time.

2. Alejandro Cuervo - September 30, 2008

So, are you sticking with lunarpages or did you move somewhere else?
After all that rant I would assume this website is no longer on lunarpages, right?

3. Chris - October 1, 2008

This is exactly what happend to Rami over at hehe2.net. He was using bluehost and actually had to start a new account at another company. They told him to limit his server connections or find another hosting company. Check out his article he wrote here: http://hehe2.net/misc/100-posts-laterroyal-hehe2-ness-finds-a-new-temple/ It is a good read.

4. Alejandro Cuervo - October 1, 2008

switch to http://mediatemple.net grid service (gs)
you will discover a whole new world in the hosting ecosystem

5. Tom - October 2, 2008

I’ve never had any trouble with my host (Tigerhost – probably a GoDaddy Reseller from the looks of it). One of my sites was put on the front page of Digg, and they didn’t even blink. The pages were up without having to resort to caching mechanisms, and I got tens of thousands of visitors in one day. It’s a really cool thing to see on your Google Analytics account, too – just a flat line under 100, and then this MONSTROUS peak to 10,000, followed by a gentle slope down to normal. 🙂

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