Shared web hosting is a changing animal. In the mid 90’s it was nothing more than some server space with a few tools to manage your files and FTP access. Today shared hosting can be as simple as a placeholder page for a newly purchased domain name to advanced back end systems with multiple databases and encrypted voip traffic. One thing that hasn’t changed is that 1% of the users cause 95% of the server issues and 95% of the headaches that all users experience in relation to server performance and downtime.
This is going to change very soon and I couldn’t be more excited!! For years I have been writing about kernel issues with linux when it comes to disk I/O tracking/shaping and monitoring. I have complained about MySQL’s inability to monitor REAL CPU and REAL I/O by user and individual databases historically or in realtime. I have vented that the linux kernel had no real metrics to break down cpu and I/O by individual user or by process over a historical period or in realtime.
Up until now we have dealt with each of these issues in a variety of ways. Some of our solutions were elegant while others were clumsy and somewhat inaccurate. Times are changing. For the first time ever I feel like I have REAL solutions to every one of the problems mentioned above. More importantly I can track and find these issues in realtime as they are happening without putting any load on the server to glean the information.
This might not seem so important to those of you reading this entry, but in my opinion it is the single greatest thing to happen to shared hosting since its inception. Thats a bold statement. Shared hosting by definition has been shaky and unstable at times for the simple reason that so many people are using the same resources at the same time. For nearly every hosting company the strategy has been to track what you can, but fix most of the problems caused by users minutes or hours after the problem has already occurred.
It doesn’t have to be this way anymore. I know because we have many tools that find these problems within a few seconds. In fact, we have the tools to find everyone of our common ailments in less than 5 seconds. I just have to finish having the tools written to act on this information to relieve server problems in realtime. That is the easy part – that is why I am so excited. I have personally spent thousands of hours researching, testing, coding, testing, researching, testing, and testing some more to solve many of these issues. It can be done.
Most of these problems can be attributed to less than 1% of our users (Actually about .5%). Most of the problems aren’t intentional on the part of our users but are created by them nonetheless. We are light years ahead of the competition in shared hosting when it comes to tracking and solving these issues. In a few months time (Most in less than 30 days) as these changes are rolled out across our servers you will notice SUBSTANTIAL increases in both uptime and server speed.
We have invested a huge amount of money and time with in house developers, kernel developers, and custom tools to address these issues. So far many of these changes have been good, but soon you will see what we are capable of and what drives us to be better. Other shared hosts won’t be able to compete with the changes we are putting in place. Blood, sweat, and tears and a lot of sleepness nights can’t be duplicated by other hosts in a few months time. Thanks for sticking with us, and be on the lookout for MUCH better server performance!
Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com