Monthly Archives: August 2012

Lazaworx.com blackout

Sorry everyone for the site was down during the past two days. Here’s what happened.

Drawbacks of Shared hosting

Lazaworx.com is hosted on a shared hosting, in which hundreds of sites share the resources of the same physical hardware. Even though they advertise the service comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage, the real bottleneck is the CPU and memory usage, as I learned now. It’s nowhere advertised that once your site runs over the 2% CPU limit they will instantly suspend it.

What has happened?

In the last week I have had a high CPU usage warning when the automatic backup has started. Afterwards Lunarpages, my web host, has removed the rights (chowned) from the site’s main file, the so called index.php file. After I’ve removed some of the more processor-intensive tasks and turned off all plugins (e.g. social sharing) they have switched it back. They monitored the site, and by the stats it seemed it went back to the normal ~0.5% CPU load.
Then suddenly at 06:37(PT) 22 August came another CPU peak of 7% (possibly the backup kicked in again), after which the site has been suspended again. Reading a lot around the web I found another possible culprit, the so-called “cron jobs”, which are there to do maintenance tasks, like releasing scheduled posts, sending out notifications, etc. Unfortunately with WordPress these cron jobs can easily overpopulate, and eat up too much of the CPU. Just a second before the CPU peak came I found 15-20 cron jobs started in the site’s access log. I had to move this task from WordPress to the server, and restricted to run only twice a day. Also made some more minor adjustments others suggested in the forums. So far so good.

The “Support case”

After I’ve notified the staff of the changes and asked them to put back my site online they haven’t responded for a day. Then they answered an unimportant question, still not lifting the ban. I had to write to their manager to look after the case, and voila, after almost 2 days, the site is back at last. I think my next hosting company will be a smaller one, who haven’t outsourced its support department to India yet. Don’t get me wrong, they are nice guys, and I suppose they have to answer hundreds of support cases a day for a dime. But they don’t care if your business goes bankrupt – don’t feel what’s important and what’s not. I suppose they mustn’t bring forward the urgent cases, and they can’t improvise – they seem to answer only with pre-compiled panels. As I myself give support in jalbum.net, I see how important it is balancing between the cases, and listen to the details. Even though every other case can be answered with macros, quite a few requires special attention, and expertise. And in almost every time the users’ anger is justified. It’s crucial to handle these cases well – those who are the most short-tempered can be the best advocates in the future.

Thank You,
Laza

Turtle skin settings explained

Skin version: 3.4.6

Turtle skin has such an extensive feature set – I guess even the most experienced of you can find something new. To get into Turtle skin settings either click the little skin icon next to the skin chooser in jAlbum or press F4.

Site

Show top navigation

Select to display a multi-level, site-wide top navigation menu at the top of the index page.

Exclude folders

You can exclude the folders and display only the custom pages.

Logo

Include a logo at the top left corner of the navigation bar, linked to the top level album page. The max size is 180x40px. Suggested format: 8bit transparent PNG.

Link from the top level page

Adds a link which takes you one level up from the top level page. You can use any absolute or relative URL, not just the one level up (../).

Use breadcrumb path

Breadcrumb path is the clickable path of upper-level folders.

Use search box

Add an album-wide search box to your albums. Can search in the Title, Comment, Keywords and Face tag fields.

Skip thumbnail page

Visitors will taken straight to the first image in the album. However if there are sub-albums, you can’t skip the thumbnail page.

Offer download for…
  • Nothing = to turn off this feature
  • Scaled-down images = allow visitors to download the screen resolution images in the current folder packed as ZIP file
  • Originals = allow visitors to download the original images as ZIP file, even if you did not include them normally in the album
  • The whole album = visitors can download the whole album packed as ZIP file

Please note, albums using extended (accented) characters in file or folder names cannot be properly unzipped on Windows, because Windows decodes these characters mapping to the viewer PC’s default character set, while Java encodes always with UTF-8 encoding (which is capable of representing any character in any language). The files can be restored properly on every other OS though.

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