Godaddy troubles, slow wordpress. Grid hosting solution?

It all started around the middle of November. My site was running very slowly. (Someone besides me even noticed it!). The slowness was limited to wordpress in the blog — i.e. static html pages loaded just fine, in fact very fast, well under 1 second typically (e.g. azbikelaw.org/excerpts always did and continues to pop right up).

I should probably mention that my site has a trivial number of page views (a heavy day is like 300 page-views in terms of wordpress stats).

The service I have is very inexpensive, the full description of which is called “economy Linux”. It is about $5 bucks a month. It is what’s known as virtual shared hosting. A google search of that ip turns up the busier sites that share my ip/server, however I didn’t find any “slow” sites. A reverse ip from e.g. domaintools.com reveals that there are 3,753 sites sharing that server; i.e. my site and 3,752 others(!), which gives you some idea of the business model… very cheap for any one individual, but one server generates revenue of ~ $200,000 per year (and yes, there are other costs besides the server).

Anyway, I did locate a site by chance on the same server that was (probably not coincidentally) running wordpress and also running very slowly — page loads were on the order of 10 seconds:  100yearassociation.com/

history of Customer service contact

My needs are so un-demanding that i have probably not called customer service up until this point more than about 3 times over the past 10 years.

On Monday, Nov 15 i spoke with godaddy customer service; i got through reasonably quickly (maybe 5 minutes on hold) and talked to a very affable gentleman. He agreed it seemed pretty slow, so he “ran diagnostics” supposedly both against my database, and also against the server. Everything was “clean”. He advised I use the wp-supercache plugin, and also that i should wait a day or two and see what developed.

things more-or-less deteriorated, it was taking me perhaps 30 seconds to log into my wordpress control panel. Supercache helped (anonymous viewers) but even that was inconsistent, sometimes resulting in 500 errors, or “internal error”.

So, on Wed Nov 17 I called back. He also supposedly ran server diags and said everything was clean. He suggested i switch to grid shared hosting. There were no downsides (same price; invisible migration;  “unlimited” server power to help with peaks; of course i never have significant peaks). Anyways by that evening things were really really bad so I bit the bullet and pushed the button to migrate — the end user can do this right from godaddy account.

The migration takes “up to 72 hours”. During which time you can’t log into your hosting control panel (it will say something about pending migration). The guy on the phone also said i wouldn’t be able to ftp during migration but that didn’t happen or at least not on wed, thurs, fri, sat (now it’s sunday and can still ftp, and ssh for that matter).

Here’s the weird part: On Thursday about 2PM (arizona time), my site and  not coincidentally 100yearassociation.com, got way way quicker. now page loads were around 2 seconds, about normal for wordpress pages. This happened like a light switch.

So I called Godaddy back on Friday to “complain” that my site was working well, and confirmed that the grid migration had still not happened. They denied fixing anything (though of course the phone guy really probably doesn’t know).

The strong implication is that godaddy did in fact locate one or more users among the 3,752 others on that particular shared server who were using up too much cpu/database bandwidth; and by Thursday at 2pm had migrated them off my shared server. (this is a a relatively common godaddy exercise, see e.g. blogtips.org or search for something like the phrase unacceptable in shared hosting). I have no idea how much complaining has to be done to get this to happen.

In any event, i have no idea why but my grid migration is still pending on Sunday (which is more than 72 hours) — so eventually i will have to call them back and figure out why that is… right now i am locked out of the hosting control panel pending the migration.

Supercache

Supercache is really cool. It generates a static html page and causes this static page, rather than the normal .php dynamically generated page, to be served to any “anonymous” (not logged into wordpress) user.

For example here is the root page of my blog: azbikelaw.org/blog/wp-content/cache/supercache/azbikelaw.org/blog/index.html but here is the thing, sometimes it doesn’t exist. This probably has something to do with supercache ageing-out the pages.

This will SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the server-side cpu load because it doesn’t’ need to run any php or database lookups. But here’s the catch, it only really works/helps for busy sites, and mine is not busy.

The Migration

So I don’t know exactly why, but the migration took longer than expected… it is advertized as taking up to 72 hours. I called after about the fifth day, and they looked into it and opened a ticket and promised it would be done soon; and it was done within 24 hours of my calling. So as of Wed 11/24 I am migrated, may the godaddy gods have mercy on me.

Everything migrated apparently fine. my blog works. Even my php-list works.

But grid “breaks” multi domain hosting on economy. So I used to host domenicscycling.com just fine. The domain still works, and it still (thanks to the .htaccess rewrite rules) ends up with the right content, but it unfortunately ends up as azbikelaw.org/dom in the address bar, which is the correct content but of course i want it to retain the original domain name. That is used to work in economy linux hosting is apparently an accident. But in any event this sucks because now apparently the only option (from godaddy) is to cough up a few more bucks a month.

This might not be so bad, except that the performance on wordpress control panel sucks (the original problem), it’s taking on the order of 10 seconds to do stuff on wp-admin. boo. Though it seems to be highly variable, so I will have to re-visit the slowness later.

here is the magic incantation in .htaccess that used to work just fine with economy linux hosting:

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !dom/
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(www\.)?domenicscycling.com$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://azbikelaw.org/dom/$1 [L]

I loaded up a live headers plugin for firefox to actually check out what was going wrong with the headers. What supposed to happen since i don’t have an ‘R’ on the rewriterule is that the host should simply respond with a 200 OK, and serve up the page. What is now (with grid) happening is that it is sending a 302 FOUND (which is a “temporary” redirect) along with the actual location of the content, which is then re-fetched by the browser causing the address bar to update… which is obviously not what I want.

I also can’t figure out one thing that has always bugged me, so migration automatically updated the a records of my other domains that i am hosting; e.g. domenicscycling.com, and bicyclewheelers.com. But how in the world does cupzncrepes.com know to get to the new server? This belongs to a separate godaddy registrar account.

Some Minutia

Pre-migration: My shared economy linux host is named “p3nlh065”, its IP is 72.167.232.195

Post-migration (“grid”):  hostname p3nlhftpg057 (from ssh), pinging azbikelaw.org (184.168.206.1)
reveals the name: p3nlhg130c1130.shr.prod.phx3.secureserver.net

A reverse ip lookup reveals 5,380 other domains hosted on this IP address 🙂 which, if anything, means trouble!!

the name of my database host is and was databasename.db.4318490.hostedresource.com that number, 4318490, is interesting because in the new post-migration file structure (e.g. if you look in ssh), the full path is something like /var/chroot/home/content/90/4318490
whereas it used to be something like /var/chroot/home/content/a/z/b/azbikelaw

In any event, if the performance bottleneck was  database access, changing hosting servers will have no effect — at this point i don’t think that is the case, just pointing it out.

Other things I’ve tried

I also tried loading up wordpress from the godaddy app control panel.This way, I get a “clean” installation, and fresh and otherwise empty database. The process of setting up worked well and easily. The new install is located at azbikelaw.org/wordprezz. The database creation scheme is it created a dedicated host (presumably virtual) with azb followed by a (random?) 13 digit number followed by four more levels of boilerplate host name, here is what it is and what it resolves to. Note that this is created on a whole different IP range as my older databases (details of old databases is down below):

azb1033711271783.db.4318490.hostedresource.com resolves to (use ssh) ->
p3nlgriddb50033-02.shr.prod.phx3.secureserver.net (173.201.136.23)

In any event that clean, empty, installation of wordpress was also laggy (need to test again 12.3.2010) — so the slowness doesn’t have to do with something peculiar to my wordpress.

The old Database Host Scheme

The pre-grid scheme (and maybe still same scheme if creating db’s manually?) is databasename.db.4318490.hostedresource.com, so e.g. my oldest db is:

terrie.db.4318490.hostedresource.com
p3nlhmysql41011-01.shr.prod.phx3.secureserver.net (97.74.31.215)

where the number after the hypen is ordinal, and seems to resolve to an incrementing number in the IP, presumably a virtual host; but still it’s a live IP address. In any event this is in a whole different IP range as the one created by godaddy’s automated wordpress installation.

Here is an article on godaddy’s support site addressing the issue of slow wordpress; but it sheds no new light on the problem.

Here is a long thread on wordpress.org discussing specifically godaddy troubles, but it is almost a year old.

Some new news 2014, cPanel hosting

So as things turn out, it seems like godaddy never changes the, i’ll call it, architecture of a given hosting account. So azbikelaw is on Grid Hosting (as of 2010, as detailed above) and it will stay on Grid hosting (i think they also refer to it interchangably as 4GH) indefinitely. I was having trouble, performance troubles, with another account I manage, so when i called in they had me “migrate” to what they call “cPanel hosting”; which is what they currently sell, i.e. 4GH is no longer available. That hosting account was so old (10 years?) that migratino was not available; they had to *delete* the hosting, and *add* new hosting. They give you credit for the remaining service so this turns out to be better than free. In other words, the 10 months of credit was worth 12 months of new hosting at the new (intro) rate. It’s the same price charged for new customers when done this way, and you can optionally buy extra years at the same intro rate if done all at one time. Anyways, there were a number of frustrations: It took forever to download my old site just because of thousands of mostly little files; and when I was uploading to the new service something on their end crashed and i had to call in and they rebooted something.

One of the worst transition problems was I lost all my email forwards. It was no great loss, so i re-created the 25 or so forwards… Unfortuantely, creating so many within a short time apparently triggered some sort of lock on the account and all the forwards remained in “pending verification” (or was it pending validation?) from Saturday until Monday. After three calls over the weekend it was finally determined I would have to wait “72 hours”; apparently, and this is not known by the average tech support phone guys, there is some person that manually has to clear the hold; and my guess is they work M-F only (thus the “up to 72 hours” explanation).

cPanel seems like it can do everything i would need it to do.

The current rack-rate is $6.99 / 8.99 (economy / delux) per month; but the intro rate is 50% off, so 3.49/4.49 per month for anything up to 3 years.

4 thoughts on “Godaddy troubles, slow wordpress. Grid hosting solution?”

  1. I’ve been having exactly the same issues with my GoDaddy hosted WordPress site. It clearly has to do with their servers unable to keep up with the demand. Sometimes the site loads almost instantaneously; sometimes it times out completely. It happens both in the WordPress admin panel and by just accessing the site, and static pages load fine, so I suspect the issue is the database access. I am currently in the process of migration to the grid account, keeping my fingers crossed. Otherwise, it will have to be goodbye GoDaddy…

    My IP is different from you (97.74.144.118) so it’s not just your old server.

  2. 4GH has not improved things for me at all. I think it is time to switch. I have a custom PHP/MySQL implementation on GoDaddy that seems to run fine, but the two WordPress implementations are shocking.

    Did 4GH solve your problems or have you guys moved on?

  3. The classic “…try installing wp-supercache..” suggestion to magically fix a ridiculously slow performing website hosted by our friends over at GoDaddy!

    While not the worst hosting company out there, they certainly aren’t the best…

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