Website unavailability over the past week

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#31 Post by GeddichNixan » Tue May 19, 2009 9:30 pm

It came only once. I will report should it appear again.

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#32 Post by Leif » Wed May 20, 2009 12:46 am

I keep getting '500 - Internal Server Error'. A reload fixes it but annoying.

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#33 Post by m^(2) » Wed May 20, 2009 1:53 am

Andrew Lee wrote:@GeddichNixan: Do you get it consistently or intermittently?

Anyone else seeing this error?
I also got it a while ago. Reloading didn't help, the error showed on the main forum page and subpages too.

500 - didn't happen since the fix.

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#34 Post by GeddichNixan » Wed May 20, 2009 3:13 am

I've just gotten it (at 13:09 GMT+1 DST). The homepage started without problem, but as I clicked on the most recent forum posting (it was this thread) the Error 500 message popped up.

I got back to the homepage and clicked on the same link again and it worked. Annoying.

BTW, I haven't seen the Code 502 since my last posting. Now I am waiting for some more "exotic" error messages. :D

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#35 Post by allclownsareevil » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:41 pm

The addition of a "Donate" button must surely help you out Andy? Pretty certain there'd be support for you.

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Andrew Lee
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#36 Post by Andrew Lee » Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:11 am

Just to keep everyone posted, here are the updates on the hosting issue so far:

To recap, TPFC was running on a PS on DH with Apache proxying to my private copy of lighttpd. As you can see, this is not the happiest of situation because Apache takes up a lot of memory and does nothing much. It would be much better if the PS runs lighttpd on port 80 directly.

It so happens that DH was beta-testing lighttpd on PS, so I decided to order a new PS to try it out (I didn't want to break the existing PS by switching it over to lighttpd, 'cos I did some research and apparently some folks had major breakages switching an existing Apache PS to lighttpd).

The first problem came with migrating the domain to the new PS/lighttpd. It didn't work and I got a script error which I had to contact support. Thankfully that was only a test subdomain, so it didn't break TPFC. Once support sorted it out, I was able to get the test domain running in no time.

After a day or so of testing, everything seems to work, so I decided to mirror the main domain to PS/lighttpd (I didn't use the migration script because I know the script wasn't fixed yet, so I created another subdomain - which triggered the script error; got support to fix it - and mirror TPFC to it). Once the DNS propagated, everything seemed to work, and I was happy. The memory usage was fantastically low and stayed at around the 100MB mark. Response was fast too. So I went to bed.

The next morning, I checked and lo-and-behold, I got the "500 Internal server error". I restarted the server, and it worked for 8-10 hours before getting stuck again. I did some research and it seems older versions of lighttpd had this issue when the load gets too high with the PHP backends, and it is unable to recover gracefully. I worked with support for a couple of days to tweak the lighttpd conf parameters but was unable to resolve the issue.

So I had no choice but to revert back to Apache/lighttpd. I am not sure why my own config works. It could be the version of lighttpd or something in the config file, but I became too discouraged to find out, since this back-and-forth cycle between contacting support and getting things fixed was getting too long and tiring. The workflow is fine when things more-or-less works, but when stuff are broken, it is really painful when you don't have root access. The DH web panel is a nice frontend that hides all the ugly *nix commands, but is useless when things don't work and you need bare-metal access.

When this realization dawned on me, I finally decided to move on to a real VPS with root access. A couple of days back, I ordered a VPS from (note: link contains my referral code 6FP20Z, which gives you 10% lifetime discount and me a one-time service credit) and spending most of my spare time now configuring it. Hopefully I can get it to production level soon, and then I will cut TPFC over to it.


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#37 Post by Andrew Lee » Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:25 pm

Hopefully, this is going to be the last bit that I am posting on this topic. :P

I migrated TPFC to about 1 1/2 days back.

The migration didn't proceed as smoothly as I'd like, and as a result, the initial hours were spent frantically trying to stabilize things. I am sure some of you guys would have noticed the makeshift "Under construction" notice on and off during that period.

Thankfully, once all the kinks were ironed out, the server chugged along quite happily. "top" shows CPU and memory usage were all within acceptable range, and a quick test with shows that the server holds up very well under moderate stress.

For those of you interested, the server is a 256MB VPS running Debian "Lenny" + nginx + fastcgi + php + mysql + exim4 + dovecot, which pretty much maxed out the RAM and spilled a little over to swap (about 20-30K). However, the system feels pretty snappy when I work on it through ssh, and the TPFC website feels rather more responsive now as compared with before.

Anyway, I hope this completes my tale of TPFC migration from Dreamhost to, and I can finally take a break and work on my favorite hobby - checking out portable freeware!

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#38 Post by joby_toss » Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:13 am

Thank you very much for all your hard work, Mr. Andrew!
Your efforts are much appreciated!


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#39 Post by Checker » Fri Jun 26, 2009 12:54 pm

First of all: Thank you Andrew Lee ... you did an excellent work :!:

The page seems to be much faster now.
The "recent forum postings" at the latest-page are updated very quick now.

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#40 Post by freakazoid » Fri Jun 26, 2009 3:25 pm

Yay! is amazing-lee the best site for portables :wink:
is it stealth? ;)

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#41 Post by I am Baas » Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:39 pm

@Andrew Lee

Thank you very much for this excellent forum.


Nice :)

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#42 Post by portackager » Sat Jun 27, 2009 8:40 pm

That's great things worked out for you Andrew.

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Zach Thibeau
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#43 Post by Zach Thibeau » Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:30 pm

well hopefully you will have more luck with vpslink than I did, it fails for me, I'm thinking of moving to a new vps provider soon

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Andrew Lee
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#44 Post by Andrew Lee » Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:55 pm

@thibeaz: Do share, what problems were you having with vpslink?

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Zach Thibeau
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#45 Post by Zach Thibeau » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:39 pm

it's probably related to my vps package (link 3) not having enough bandwidth or processes to run the ones I need to start a webserver

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