I should have known better.

My blog has been down for little over a week because the night before I went on vacation I installed a new version of my AVH First Defense Against Spam plugin and it had a gigantic bug make my blog inaccessible.
I should have known better to install a new version and go on vacation.

My apologies to everybody trying to visit my site.

P.S. The vacation was pretty good. Weather was good, ocean was little chilly.

Spammers trying to access my blog

In November of last year I suddenly got a more than usual amount of spammers hitting my blog and forum. I wrote a Python program that will retrieve my access logs, my htaccess file and a list from the website stopforumspam.com. It will update the htaccess file and can upload it back to the site and thus eliminating access to my site for those known spammers.

I thought it would be nice to share some statistics from the months December 2008, January and February of 2009.
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WordPress causing high CPU utilization

Since a few days it turns out my blog is causing high CPU utilization for the PHP process. So much that my provider has given me two weeks to solve it. If not I have to “make alternative arrangements.” which comes down to four options:

1. Upgrade my package to the VPS Plan.
2. Upgrade my package to the Dedicated hosting plan.
3. Host somewhere else.
4. Give up this blog completely.

Here’s what I don’t get though, according to Google Analyctics I have only around 250 visitors a day. Anyway, here’s what i’ve done so far without any luck:

Installed WP-Supercache
Why: Instead of going through index.php it serves files directly by using rewrite rules in htaccess
Outcome: This seem to have relieved a small bit of the pain but I’m still averaging 70% CPU utilization.

Deactivate the Sociable plugin
Why: This was the only plugin I upgraded just 2 days before the mayhem started.
Outcome: Didn’t do anything

Added IP’s to htaccess to deny access
Why: It wasn’t only WordPress that caused high CPU, also my forum. When I checked the IP’s that accessed my forum it turned out that of the 441 IP that accessed my forum in Nov, approximately 132 were known forum spammers.
Outcome: Helped a little bit, more IP’s added

Blocked certain pages
Why: People were accessing the pages directly and they didn’t have any need for it
Outcome: Precise outcome unknown

Stopped saving of drafts
Why: I saw a long list of accessing the drafs, even when I wasn’t logged in
Outcome: Precise outcome unknown

Well the CPU utilization is under control right now. I’m not really sure what caused it. That’s the bad part of using a host without shell access, you can’t really see immediate effects on changes you make.

I believe the biggest problem was spammers hitting my blog, as it happened long after my initial increase of readers. I didn’t change anything around the day the problem started, except for the plugin upgrade which wasn’t the cause.

WordPress 2.6 upgrade

Just upgraded to WordPress 2.6, as usual it was a smooth and painless upgrade.

As a user you probably won’t see a difference, but if you do stumble upon something weird on the site let me know please, either here as a comment or on the the AVH Support site