How to bring down a web server through no fault of your own


My account at my hosting company got suspended the other night. It was actually a sickening feeling the first time I saw it. I was logging in to another site to do some updates, and saw my lovingly crafted work replaced with an unfriendly “This account has been suspended” message. I did a bit of checking and found all my sites showing the same message. A blog article from about a year ago was shared on Reddit, and it seems it got a fair bit of exposure. My hosting company sent me this email, showing that %CPU and %Memory were very high for a sustained period:

As you probably aware, here at Just Host we proactively monitor all our servers to ensure that our clients websites are loading as fast as possible at all times. During this routine monitoring we have found that your account is utilizing an excessive amount of system resources, and we have been forced to suspend your site as per our terms and
conditions ’10% CPU/MEM/MySQL Policy’

For your reference, here is a copy of your account usage report:
##########User Domain % CPU % MEM MySQL Processes

|xxxx |vycanismajoris.org             |17.47|32.76|0.7   |
| Top Process | 36.0 | /usr/bin/php /home/vycanis1/public_html/brian.hoover.net.au/blog/index.php |
| Top Process | 17.2 | /usr/bin/php /home/vycanis1/public_html/brian.hoover.net.au/blog/index.php |
| Top Process | 14.5 | /usr/bin/php /home/vycanis1/public_html/brian.hoover.net.au/blog/index.php |
##########
Just Host offer unlimited hosting space and unlimited bandwidth, but as per our terms we will suspend any website which exceeds our 10% CPU/MEM/MySQL policy. We hope that you understand our position in ensuring that we provide the best possible service. In order to continue to provide this high quality service, you will need to upgrade to a dedicated server, which will give you an abundance of additional resources and speed up your website.

As a loyal Just Host customer we have arranged for you to receive a special deal on a dedicated server with SingleHop, (our trusted dedicated partner) who will assist you with everything you need to make your switch a smooth transaction.

 

My whole account got suspended, not just this blog web site. The account includes twelve other web sites hosted myself and for friends, plus a couple charities. POP and IMAP were okay, it seems, but SMTP authentication was disabled which was strange. I guess they wanted me to get the above email but not necessarily reply to them.

Long story short, they wanted me to move to a $150 a month dedicated server, just for me. Hey, there’s nothing I’d love more. It’d be a great playground to experiment and do things with but I can’t spend that much coin on Interwebz right now. So I pulled that article and streamlined some SSIs and other invisible gizmos just to get this and the rest of my sites up and running again.

Check out the pageviews:

I guess I can’t complain. I’m not paying all that much for hosting and I can understand their need to ensure that all sites and customers on that web server are functioning, but I would rather they take a different approach in their email. “We’re suspending you. Good day, sir. We don’t want to hear from you again” is a bit harsh.