dreamhost posts

DreamCompute disruption incident

My server and site were down for about 16 hours from Tuesday evening (≈18:08) to Wednesday morning (≈10:36). This was due to a significant problem that occurred due to an upgrade to the Ceph system running Dreamcompute. Numerous people were affected, based on Twitter posts, and we still have little information about what happened.

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Dreamhost 200 status log conclusion

I decided to contact Dreamhost about my Apache logs showing 200 statuse codes for all mod_rewrite responses. It took seven back-and-forths to get across what was happening, discuss options, and conclude that “DreamHost systems are configured with a default environment meant to meet the most common webapp and customer requirements”.

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Dreamhost must’ve had an outage of some sort this (last) morning. I noticed a little after 11 that I couldn’t upload anything to or log into my (shared) server. My sites were inaccessible. I tried the sites of a couple other people I know using Dreamhost (also shared), and they were also inaccessible, so it must’ve been something somewhat significant. Strangely, nothing relevant was on Dreamhost status. I tweeted about it at 11:20 and got a response from DreamhostCare that they were looking into it. They didn’t say anything more, but I noticed things were up and running again around 11:42. I found later that it must’ve been a DDoS on their nameservers. Outages have been rare, but certainly annoying when they happen.

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Got moved to a new server in a new datacenter by Dreamhost this weekend. Seems to be significantly faster than the old one for first page load, like an order of magnitude. It’s more in line with what I get when testing locally. I assume the server I was on was just overloaded. It had often had a load average in the 6’s or 7’s. I had been wondering what was wrong and if I should swtich to VPS. This one’s been at less than one. Hopefully it stays snappy and doesn’t get too loaded up over time.

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On my site, I’m using Apache’s ‘mod_deflate’ and ‘mod_filter’ to compress my compressible responses (mostly text), with a setup based on h5bp’s server config. I got my sites running over HTTPS recently, and today, when looking at my site performance with webpagetest.org, I noticed that my content wasn’t compressing. It was still working fine over HTTP. I noticed in h5bp’s comments that <IfModule mod_filter.c> could be removed in Apache versions below 2.3.x. I removed it, and sure enough, compression was working again. I’m not sure why it’s different depending on what protocol I use. Perhaps Dreamhost has separate versions of Apache running for the two protocols. Or perhaps it’s just something different about the configuration in the virtual hosts. Regardless, it’s working now. I just hope this doesn’t cause problems whenever they move to Apache 2.4.

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