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Dreamhost VPS Manager Forced Reboot Issues

I have been using Otto’s Dreamhost VPS Manager for a couple of weeks now to manage my Dreamhost VPS. I do not want to set the memory at 1 GB to cover all peaks and pay a high monthly fee and neither do I want to change the settings manually all the time. The Perl script made by Otto helps you adjusting things on the fly. The only issue I have been having lately is is that every couple of days in the late afternoon or at night I get a reboot done by Dreamhost because demand was too high and apparently my settings did not handle that peak well enough.
I thought about using the built-in option to raise the stakes during certain periods, but I have not been able to pin down peak hours and times. It all seems to be too random. This is my current set up loaded with the command:

~/bin/psmanager.pl check

output:

Check PsManager setup
# PsManager 0.6.3 # 10120 28
2012-09-30 10:52 +07:00
key = SET
microblog =
uname = NONE
pass = NONE
email_rcpt = SET
email_sndr = SET
name_sndr = SET
tweet_template = {ps}: {change} resized to {newsize}MB from {oldsize}MB at {time} [{tz}]
reboot_template = {ps}: rebooted at {time} [{tz}]
mem_min = 350
mem_max = 4000
memory_factor = 1.2
memory_minextra = 0
buffer_perc = 55
buffer_min = 200
force = no
force_lim = 20
monitor_only = 0
pick = 8
ignore = 2
sample_interval = 1
curr_used_factor = 1.1
ps = ps113707
TZ = Asia/Bangkok
verbose = 1
debug = 0

Crontab line(s):
* * * * * $HOME/bin/psmanager.pl >> /tmp/psmanager_cron.log 2>&1

tail /home/me/bin/psmanager.log:
timestamp    avail    used    free    cache    optimal    set    event
201209301046    483    125     357    70     483     0
201209301047    483    113     369    70     483     0
201209301048    483    122     360    72     483     0
201209301049    483    120     362    72     476     0
201209301050    483    95     387    56     471     0
201209301051    483    96     386    56     464     0
201209301105    483    366    116     54     955     955    S
201209301106    955    363    119     54     1023     0     C
201209301107    955    318    636     54     1061     0
201209301108    955    122    832     54     1061     0

tail /tmp/psmanager_cron.log:

Latest events:
timestamp    avail    used    free    cache    optimal    set    event
201209291304    614    38     575     66     393     393     S
201209291305    393    46     567     68     393     0     C
201209291709    393    39     353     69     343     350     S
201209291710    350    121    228   101   349     0     C
201209291729    350    32     317     75     424     424     S
201209291730    424    47     302     75     424     0     C
201209291902    424    34     389     76     366     366     S
201209291903    366    43     380     76     367     0     C
201209292004    366    107    258   110   427   427     S
201209292005    427    117    248   110   426   0     C
201209292236    427    123    303   104   570   570     S
201209292237    570    118    451   120   575   0     C
201209300038    570    76     493     121   391   391     S
201209300039    391    76     494     121   390   0     C
201209300131    391    42     348     105   478   478     S
201209300132    478    42     348     105   478   0     C
201209300159    478    31     446     9     418   0     B
201209300335    478    44     433     21     402   402     S
201209300336    402    78     399     37     401     0     C
201209300915    402    90     311     16     393     0     B
201209300926    402    132    269     43   465   465     S
201209300927    465    129    272     44   464   0     C
201209300939    465    331    133     63   887   887     S
201209300940    887    328    136     63   937   0     C
201209301041    887    91     795     55     483     483     S
201209301042    483    115    367     53   483   0     C
201209301105    483    366    116     54   955     955     S
201209301106    955    363    119     54   1023   0     C

Errors and Warnings in verbose log:

Check complete

Seems all pretty standard to me. Earlier this morning when I edited a blog post and checked some stats I got myself another reboot. See the two reboots in the log as proof. One happened while I was asleep and the second one happened when I wanted to do some work. Apparently the VPS had had very little traffic and then got a huge surge et voila down it went! How can I deal with this properly without being forced to go for a minimum of let’s say 500MB?

One of the reboots happened earlier today:

201209300131    391    42     348      105      478       478      S
201209300132    478    42     348      105      478       0        C
201209300159    478    31     446      9        418       0        B
201209300335    478    44     433      21       402       402      S

Update I

I have added XCache after I switched back to PHP 5.2 CGI and I have added WP Cache to this site. I also turned of Stats added by Dreamhost on all sites. Let’s see if this will finally help me not getting an occasional reboot because of a memory shortage

Update II

I found out that I needed at least 600 MB of RAM to run 5-6 WordPress sites and a static one. This to deal with peaks and make sure reboots do not occur. If I would switch to NGINX I would probably need way less memory. But setting up an NGINX server with WordPress without the use of .htaccess is something I do not want to get into just yet. Might open up another VPS again and try it all with this site a little later on. But for now I am willing to pay more than the amount in $ I was paying for the 350MB. Going for 600MB has made sure I have not had any nasty reboots in a long time. Running

ps aux

or

top -c

Showed that I had large peaks on the logging into the Dashboard. I also suspect that the WP DB Backup database plugin and CodeGuard’s backup services eat up a lot of memory. But I would need to do more research for that. I also found out that WP Slimstat and WPML (Site display in two or more languages) are plugins that demand a large chunk of all the queries.

Jasper Frumau

Jasper has been working with web frameworks and applications such as Laravel, Magento and his favorite CMS WordPress including Roots Trellis and Sage for more than a decade. He helps customers with web design and online marketing. Services provided are web design, ecommerce, SEO, content marketing. When Jasper is not coding, marketing a website, reading about the web or dreaming the internet of things he plays with his son, travels or run a few blocks.

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