Suddenly It All Makes Sense

Of probably no interest to anyone but myself, but someone pointed me in the direction of knowing why my MT4 install went kerblooey last year: it wasn’t MT4, it was my host, which apparently chokes off script calls after about ten seconds, which is no good when you have a site as large as mine. Which is more than a little annoying, since I remember calling my host and asking them if there were any reason my MT install wouldn’t be working. Their answer: no, not really. Thus sending me into a two-month spiral of anger and confusion when my site just stopped working. Liars! I will have my revenge! Seriously, though, this is lame.

So to all and sundry at Movable Type, my apologies. I’m sorry my host hates you.

16 Comments on “Suddenly It All Makes Sense”

  1. Not that I’m not interessted I just have NO IDEA what your talking about.. :)

    At least you figured it out…. but now what?

  2. No, your experience is not unique. I run my own server, and had enormous and, eventually, fatal errors with MT4. For awhile, I kept using MT3 until it was clear that it was no longer supported for security updates. I then switched to WordPress. Life is good again – everything works, and I don’t need to manage it too closely.

    PE in Budapest

  3. John,

    um… yeah. 10 seconds, though, is FOREVER for a script to run. They could up it, but I’d imagine they want to control runaway scripts that could eat up the resources on a server. You’re just too big, man. Too big.

  4. Oddly I did it the other way round, chose my host as wordpress reccomended them as supporting their s/w and having auto install (which wonderfully also sets up and configures the mysql DBs). As a result I’ve never had any issues bar one dodgy upgrade assistant but that was with gallery not wordpress.

  5. Oh and I notice my host isn’t on that list of MT issues though amusingly the host wordpress now recommends first is.

    (I spent 30 seconds looking for an edit button to append this top my last post there!)

  6. Not to delve too deeply into geeky business, but that’s the double-edged sword of MT’s approach to things. WordPress and other “dynamic” blogging packages build a custom page each time a user requests it, while MT builds a full static version of the site every time you post. WordPress is slower on each page-load, but MT gets slower and slower the more content that gets added. There are ways to optimize it, obviously, but yeah… It can definitely get tricky.

  7. As a rule of thumb from someone who’s fought way too many bugs in his time, when you’re looking to narrow down an intermittent functional failure in a complicated software stack, start with the vendor who doesn’t have a detailed answer. When you ask your hosting provider if there’s a problem with piece of software X, and they say something like “no, not really” or “not as far as we know”, then it’s almost certainly their problem. The right answer is something like “No, we regression test against them every night. There was an issue with build 2.2.06 but 2.2.09 fixes it.” Software is complicated enough that “it should work” is essentially equivalent to “it doesn’t work”.

  8. We’d been having awful speed-related problems with MT4 ever since we upgraded, but since our host was accommodating and upped our memory limit (and didn’t time-out problem scripts), we just made do.

    Then just a week ago, we discovered the culprit: various places on the web recommend using lastn=”9999″ for sitemaps and other places where you want to include all entries. When we changed that number to max out at the actual total number of entries (and also altered other places where lastn was larger than the total number of entries in that context), our rebuild times suddenly dropped from several minutes to just a few seconds. No more waiting, and no more 500 errors when several rebuilds are going on at once. We probably don’t need the increased memory limit anymore, either.

  9. The real problem seems to be that your hosting provider didn’t inform you in some way that they were killing scripts.

  10. No, I’m using WordPress at the moment. If I do go back to MT, I’ll have to change providers, clearly.

  11. I’d be pissed enough to switch. It ain’t rocket science to append messages to a log and then provide a web interface for customers to view their logs. It’d be a typical MS project at the school where I teach computer science.

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