Slug: site-updates Date: 2008-09-18 Title: Site Updates layout: post

A few more changes going on around redmonk.net lately:

I’ve added a blogroll back in the sidebar - it’s not formatted quite like I want yet, but over time I’ll get it fine tuned. Update: removed because there are still issues…

Also, I’ve upgraded to a Dreamhost Private Server - my sites were finally hitting resource limits that made shared hosting unworkable. I’ve got my VPS setup with the minimum of RAM - 150mb - and with fast-cgi setup Movable Type is humming long quite nicely.

If you’ve tried to comment so far (waves at Dustin and Lisa) then you know that commenting is b0rk. I’m hunting down a javascript error that’s messing with the comment form, and I’ll post again when it’s all better.

VPS notes

At one point, I thought that I was going to need to switch hosts completely as my resource usage was floating at around 300mb+ and I didn’t want to spend the extra $30/mo (Dreamhost PS runs $1/10mb of RAM) on top of my hosting fees.

So I began to research hosting sites which provided VPS’s. The two that kept coming up were Slicehost and Linode. Linode’s base plan, the Linode360, provides more operating memory (360MB v 256MB), more disk space (12Gb v. 10Gb) and double the bandwidth (200Gb v. 100Gb), all for the same price ($20/mo). I signed up for Linode’s 360 plan, which was prorated so it only cost me $9.30 for the rest of this month.

The difference between Dreamhost’s PS and Linode’s VPS is this: Dreamhost’s PS is really a sandboxed environment just like your typical shared hosting environment, but where your CPU and RAM are guaranteed; Linode provides a true virtual box: what you get is a bare linux box with your choice of distribution and root access. This is a blessing and a curse: while I loved the cheap access to more memory, I wasn’t looking forward to maintaining a whole box.

Why is my Private Server taking so much RAM?

Thankfully, Robert at Dreamhost’s Customer Service finally came though for me, explaining that the overwhelming majority of the resources my sites were using were really just Apache webserver instances that the system spawns automatically based on available RAM. Dreamhost defaults new VPS’s to the full 2300Mb limit, so my sites had 200Mb worth of Apache instances running. Once I dropped it down to the minimum 150Mb of RAM, memory usage dropped down to a slim 100mb-120mb.

Usage

I titled this section to help google find it; this really ought to be documented because I can see users buying more VPS than they really need due to misleading memory graphs. Update: I also amended Dreamhost’s wiki entry on trouble shooting Dreamhost PS to reflect this particular case.

I’ve kept my Linode account, though I deleted the VPS I had created and was notified that the balance of my charges ($8 and change) would be returned to my credit card. So overall it only cost me $1 to get a bit of experience with Linode’s VPS offering. At the moment, Dreamhost is still a better deal since I can save myself the effort of learning to admin a linux box, and saves me the time moving everything over. But if, in the future, I decide that I need to go full-bore on a VPS, I’ll be using Linode for sure.

Dreamhost Responds

Via email:

“You actually have a very good point about the free week giving skewed usage approximates. I’ve forwarded it on to our dev/admin/everyone else team so they can have some food for thought.”