Site was down for an hour

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This afternoon, the site, including this blog, was down for about an hour with a “CPU Exceeded” problem. This meant that somehow it was chewing up a lot of the computing resources on the shared server on which the site resides, so they shut it down to cool off a bit. I didn’t know why this happened, but at least it wasn’t the mysterious slowdown or outright outage that I used to experience with the other provider, 1&1.

The HostMonster technical support was very quick to answer the phone, under 5 minutes, and had real technical knowledge. The support person showed me where to look to see the log of why the CPU was exceeded, even though we couldn’t understand exactly what caused this new behavior all of a sudden. Granted, the WordPress database has grown in recent weeks, but so too has the database used to hold the Mint data. Nothing really jumped out at me, though it was clear that all the CPU problems came from MySQL calls.

In particular, there were a lot of calls regarding aLinks. This is the WordPress plugin that I used to automatically create links for certain phrases. For example, it would have automatically created a link around the word “WordPress” on the first usage in an entry. I liked this feature, but I was always a little bothered than the links weren’t really in the text. That said, I could add new keyphrases and links would show up in older entries. I deactivated this plugin and want to think for a few days about how I will replicate the functionality, if I decide to do so.

The second area of concern were all the calls Mint made. Some of these have to happen, such as when an entry is read, but a lot were made from the various Pepper extensions I installed. I’ve since cut those back significantly.

Finally, I saw that the server had been rebooted about 20 minutes before I made the call to support. It could be the case that the problem had nothing to do with me, and I was just seeing symptoms. The support guy (in Utah, by the way) created a trouble ticket, so it will be interesting if that comes back with any more information.


  1. I used to run my own stats on my site as well, using some WordPress plugins I found, but I’ve recently decided to ‘outsource’ stats to an external service; I’m now using both Feedburner and Google Stats, which provide me with all I need, for free naturally.

    I’d also read that Mint could be very taxing, CPU and MySQL-wise for a medium volume site, which is why I never did shell the $$ to purchase it. Of course, having a reliable/fast web hosting helps. I switched from Site5 to ResellerZoom in January of this year, and my uptime is counted in months, and 24× tells me my site is available 100% of the time.

    Finally, using external stats engine frees me of any potential maintenance, as I only have to make sure I plugin the required UserID in my code, and everything else is taken care of for me: no historical data trimming, etc.

  2. I’m going to try Google Analytics again and have re-enabled the stats keeping. If that does the job, I probably will disengage Mint and see how it goes. I don’t use FeedBurner.

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