Preventing server downtimes

For the past few weeks, my self and the other .com.ph bloggers have been suffering from server downtimes causing our sites and blogs to be inaccessible. This would typically occur at past midnight and would last until the tech people from our gracious host, ploghost.com, gets word of this (usually via a complaint e-mail from us) in the morning hours the following day.

Downtimes are amongst the worst things that could happen to us bloggers. It disrupts our traffic, threatens to wipe out our content or databases, decrease our income stream, the lost in productivity and on top of it all, the aggravation and frustration it causes. I could stand being unable to blog or visit my site because my connection is lost or there is a power blockout. These things are quite tolerable and acceptable becuase we understand it. We know its nature, its causes and the solutions to it, even though we end-users are not the ones who really implement the fixes and remedies.

With server downtimes, it’s a lot different. Few amongst us bloggers and webmasters are not that adept and well-versed with the inner workings of our sites, the sort-of ‘under the hood’ stuff that powers our blogs. When servers really suffer downtimes, we are left wondering what could’ve caused it and if there’s something we clients could do about it, so as to help the tech support group instead of blaming them for what appears to be a lousy webhosting service. (Mind you though, for there are some really crappy hosting services out there.) After all, we bloggers and webmasters are the ones who really use the servers everytime we moderate comments, install a new plugin, test a new theme and so on. Looking at it this way, we do have a hand in keeping the servers healthy and running smoothly.

So how do we do it? How do we do our share in keeping our servers in good performing shape?

In the course of using our webhosting accounts, particularly bloggers who cycle through a load of plugins and themes that demand constant tweaking and hacks as we continue to customize our blogs, we tend to accumulate folders, directories, files, scripts and other ‘e-junk’ in our accounts that when it all adds up, the server goes berserk. These abandoned directories, orphan files cluttering our accounts and the server, become targets for hacking or spamming attacks or even do something weird on their own, resulting to off the chart server loads and cache overflows, IPs unresolved, databases being trashed and so on.

Sir Abe, who has been working hard to get to the root cause of the recent wave of server downtimes that has been plauging us .com.ph bloggers have shared some guidelines on how to do our share by checking our accounts for these possible vulnerability spots:

– File Permissions (777 means anybody can upload, change or write into a file or folder – very risky)
– Extra folders or files that weren’t there before
– Timestamps of files
– Unexplained Disk Usage

It simply means be careful; be mindful of the things that goes on in your account. Regularly check the logs and please clean up the clutter. Delete all plugins that would no longer be used, don’t simply deactivate them inside plugins management.

Being on a shared hosting account is like living in an apartment the building and some of its resources and facilities you share with the other occupants. So it would be great if we are to keep space clean and well maintained.

9 Comments

  1. Yeah, server downtimes on Ploghost have been hell lately. But I never thought that a bad plugin can cause entire servers to go down. Thanks for the heads up.

    Reply

  2. I have to admit that I have many unused plugins in my account. Just like Ade, I didn't know that it contributes to the server downtimes of your host. Thanks for this info! 🙂

    Reply

  3. yeah, experienced downtime yesterday and it was like hell. it happened for about 2 hours. I just can't browse my site and all.

    thanks for the advice!

    Oi, is Peter's custom anti spam plugin doin good? hehe

    Reply

  4. Jong: The is the first time I ever heard your site experiencing a downtime. What was the cause?

    Anyways, Peter's custom anti-spam plugin is great, but I quickly switched to Matriphe Keycode plugin. It's as easy to install and configure and I personally prefer it.

    Both anti-spam plugins are doing a great job, I've been spam free since I installed them.:grin:

    Reply

  5. that's the reason why I'm still with Blogger. No problems to worry about :~) Last time I had a downtime was with gameops.net. It wiped out all of my recently uploaded wordpress theme and plugins.

    Reply

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