Oy! What Happened?

I don’t really understand what happened. All of my sites are on a private server with my webhost. It makes tracking problems down quite simple since errors mean it is either on my end or theirs. No middle folks to deal with. One of the things I can do with the server is set the amount of space my websites can use. More space than it is using means the sites run faster. Less space and everything slows to a crawl or stops altogether. My space prior to yesterday was a mere 235mb. The most I had used was around 150 or so but with Mike’ new site, that had been slowly rising. But at some point yesterday, the memory usage spiked to over 450mb. And the sites shut down. All of them. But I didn’t even think to look there when I first found out the sites were down.

I contacted tech support and checked out the forum and some other places but really had no clue what was wrong. I put up a “site down” message so that folks wouldn’t wonder if they had a problem on their end. I got an answer from tech support and he pointed out the memory usage as well as a huge memory usage within the databases. Spammers were smacking one or two of the sites hard and all their blocked messages were being stored in the database. I raised the memory usage to 500mb, made some changes to the .htaccess files (which I had never ever touched before), and made a “robots.txt” file and put it on all the main directories. I went to the databases and “dropped” all the stuff in the SpamKarma tables. I left the blacklist alone, though.

Within a few hours, the extra memory was gobbled up. I waited. I checked the error logs again. I added another IP block or two to the .htaccess file. I waited and finally gave up and went to bed. We had things to do today and I didn’t get a chance to check anything until this afternoon.

So now, there it is. Everything is working. And I learned a few things. While the problem was with just one site (this blog, actually), the memory usage downed them all. I now know that when all of them is down, then there’s a few places to look first.

Spammers are the armpits of the internet, aren’t they?

UPDATE: Holy shit! I just got finished deleting well over 10,000 spam comments! All of them porn crap (surely Asian teens have more to do?) or prescription meds for men.