General Update – Servers, Sites and Other Goodies

Good morning everyone!

It’s been a little bit since I’ve been able to post here on my blog so I thought I’d better get on here and post myself an update. In business news, I’ve been having a bit of a time getting the new server going now I have moved away from Server Seed and I am no longer at ThePlanet data center. Instead I have moved to LayereTech with a managed solution form Here’s a post I left in the news at P2L that describes what’s been happening:

It’s no secret that it’s been a bumpy week and a bit with the server, and I thought I’d take a few minutes to let you know what’s been going on, where we’re at and what’s getting done.

First off, we are no longer with Server Seed hosting… we have moved to a managed solution with Server4Sale, which has the best, most incredible customer service I have ever seen! So with that said, I just want to point out that P2L was hosted with Server Seed from day 1, thus Ty has had the advantage of being with us as we grew in size and was able to adjust our various servers as required. We started off with shared hosting, then eventually went to a dual Xeon, then 2 dual Xeon boxes, then to a dual core dual Opteron. We had many issues over the last couple of years and Ty was able to fix each one as they came up.

Well now we’ve changed hosts and they simply had this huge site dropped in their lap and have had no chance to build up the box with us. So all the issues and errors Ty had with a bare bones install over the last couple of years were basically thrown at our new host all in one shot. This ranges in stuff from special MySQL config adjustments, Swap tweaks, to firewall filters and tweaks for mitigating the more or less constant ddos attacks we get. MOST of these adjustments have been done without a hitch, but right now we suffer from 2 main issues:

1. The firewall is banning legitimate traffic.
2. RAM suddenly climbs to 90% usage and the sites are unreachable for 15 minutes or so every 6 hours or so.

For issue 1, we are continuing to tweak the firewall and mods so they do not ban legit traffic, but people under common IP masks are an issue. We are working to overcome this problem and so far we’ve only had 1 person get banned in the last 24 hours that I know of.

If you get banned:

You might be IP banned if you are unable to get to P2L or any other site on this box (like my blog) and you get a 403 error in your browser. If you get a 404 error, a DNS error or a timeout, this is not a ban issue. Another indication that you could be banned is to try and access the site using a Proxy. I welcome members to post their favorite proxy sites in this thread if they wish. If the site comes up in a proxy, you’re either IP banned or there is a routing error. If you suspect you are banned, I need you to do the following:

1. Open a dos window. (You do this by clicking on Start > Run and typing “cmd” or “command” in the window and click OK. This will open a black dos box.
2. Type “ping” and hit enter. It will run 4 ping attempts. Once the 4 pings are done, take a screenshot and save it.
3. Type “tracert” and hit enter. This will run a trace route and will show you all the hops your connection takes to get to P2L. It will hope anywhere from 10 – 20 times normally until it reaches the server. Once it’s finished, take a screenshot of that.
4. Send an email to me at info at pixel2life dot com and attach your 2 screenshots along with the approx date and time of your ban and the name of your ISP if you know it.

With this information, I have a better chance of checking to see if you are banned and working on a solution to ensure you are not banned again. At this point the chance is fairly remote that it will happen… there has to be a big chunk of data coming from you.

Now for the memory Swap issue… We actually had this same RAM spike issue on Server Seed when we launched P2L v3 and Ty had to change something on our config to fix it. Unfortunately with Ty MIA, I have absolutely no idea what it was, so our new host is trying a few things tonight to try and fix it. In the meantime, if you suddenly are getting a timeout on P2L, it’s probably that memory issue so just hang tight for a few minutes while we fix it.

I am aggressively working on all the server issues and I am working with the host on a daily (hell… HOURLY) basis trying to get everything working smoothly. Right now we are working on trying to get this server to do what we need, otherwise we will look at some other options or possible hardware upgrades on this one. Either way, I’m doing what I can and I thank everyone for their patience during this adjustment period. I know it’s a pain in the ass for many of you… heck I went through 2 days of the site taking 5 minutes to load the main page. I was ready to toss the monitor out by office window. Donna has been banned by the firewall pretty much daily.

So that’s the deal for now guys… as always, please report and errors you see and if the site is totally unreachable, please be sure to send me the ping and tracert screenshots… those are vital in helping me out with all this. It’s tedious for you, but it helps everyone in the long run.

Thanks again everyone for all your help!

The real pain in the ass with this has been the banning of legitimate traffic, so as of right now, I’ve disabled mod_evasive to see what happens. So far the APF firewall seems to be doing it’s job and the site appears to be running fine.

In other news, I also posted a warning to webmasters that buy tutorials from authors for their sites. If you’re not sure what I mean, many webmasters that run tutorial sites don’t write the actual tutorials… they buy them for $10 – $50 each from someone who writes them and then they publish them on their sites with full rights to the content. The problem is that some publishers out there are selling tutorials that were copied from other sites and are getting scammed. So if you’re someone who buys tutorials, check out my little post on the subject.

I would also like to share an amazing video I found on the Dove website. It’s probably one of the most revealing videos I have ever seen on how the Hollywood industry can turn anyone from the average person to a super model. It’s a real eye opener to people that bust their butts trying to look like a cover model. Check out the video here. Bottom line, you won’t look like a cover girl unless you can physically apply photoshop edits to yourself.

Google has also just announced their amazing new Custom Search Engine technology, which looks very cool. You can get more info and a full review from Matt Cutts.

That’s about it for now… I have some other things I want to talk about P2L related, but I’ll add this in another post 🙂


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