Multisite going down intermittently

I'm pulling my hair out on this one. I have no idea what is causing it, and thought I'd try the support here. I've never asked for general support before, but I think that's a benefit of my subscription right?

My mutlisite (partyrentalconnection.com) hosts my clients' sites and the whole network keeps coming down every few hours and back up within 4-12 minutes. My host tells me it's an htaccess issue, but neither I nor my developer have been able to identify the problem.

I would be VERY grateful if you could help me resolve this.

  • Michael Bissett

    Hey @msk5400, Michael here! :slight_smile:

    I'm curious as to why they'd think it's a .htaccess issue, could you mention their exact words on this here?

    Next up, some quickie questions:
    - When did this start to happen? And what changed around that time?
    - Any new plugins installed, or perhaps a change to your server's configuration?
    - What kind of hosting are we talking about, anyhow? (shared, VPS, dedicated)

    Please advise,
    Michael

    • msk5400

      Hey Michael. Thanks for the reply!

      GoDaddy claims it's an htaccess issue because when they updated the name of the file to .htaccess.bak, the website came back up. But I think it was coincedence. The website only goes down for a couple minutes at a time.

      The site goes down every few hours and comes back up after a few minutes. My developer is saying that it may be because there are multiple people managing multiple subsites at a time... but I don't buy it... that's what multisite is designed for!

      Honestly, I'm not sure when it started. I didn't have a performance monitoring software in place until recently (through WPMU Hub, which is looking great!), and the uptime is 95% so there's only a 5% chance I would have discovered it sooner. It could be that it's been happening for a long time. But we just discovered it and have been trying to resolve within the last week.

      We have worked on a new custom plugin, but we've tried uninstalling it and the issue persists.

      It's a shared GoDaddy hosting plan. I was wondering whether dedicated IP is more stable for multisite? Any recommendations?

      If it's a hosting issue, then I could always get a new host, but obviously there will be lot of migration work, including having each of my clients update their A name records for the domain mapping plugin. That could be pretty disruptive for them. But that would probably happen if I was on dedicated IP, wouldn't it.

      Actually... I wonder if the IP is the issue... ? I'm on shared hosting; does that mean my IP could change? But if it did, then NONE of the subsites would work anymore right?

      Any ideas?

  • Michael Bissett

    Hey msk5400, thanks for your patience here! :slight_smile:

    GoDaddy claims it's an htaccess issue because when they updated the name of the file to .htaccess.bak, the website came back up.

    The .htaccess file seems like a side point right now, but I'd be curious to know if a stock .htaccess configuration for your Multisite type (don't know which you have presently, whether it's a subdomain or a subfolder install).

    The default .htaccess configurations can be found over here, but be sure to select the right one for the right version of WordPress, and the right Multisite type:

    https://codex.wordpress.org/htaccess

    The site goes down every few hours and comes back up after a few minutes. My developer is saying that it may be because there are multiple people managing multiple subsites at a time... but I don't buy it... that's what multisite is designed for!

    It's a question of:

    - How demanding are the plugins on your network (from a performance perspective)? (themes can factor in too)
    - How many visitors are your sites getting
    - How many subsites exist on your network
    - How powerful is the server that your network's hosted on

    There's more than one variable here that's unknown, but we can nail down some of these.

    From the plugin perspective, you can use a tool like this to track the memory used & the queries made from plugins that are active:

    https://wordpress.org/plugins/p3-profiler/

    From the visitor perspective, that'd be more in the realm of your host's control panel, there's usually a section there that shows the level of traffic for a site (you can ask them exactly where it is if you're not sure, they should be able to answer that).

    I don't know how many sites exist on this network right now, but I do question as to whether a shared hosting plan is right for your network. Generally, if the plan is to be running something like a 500+ site Multisite, you'd be looking to get at least a VPS (Virtual Private Server), you'll want more processing power available to throw at the situation.

    Side note: This would be a good read for your efforts to improve performance as well:

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/scaling-dynamic-sites/

    I was wondering whether dedicated IP is more stable for multisite? Any recommendations?

    Getting a dedicated IP would solve a different problem, that being the mapping of domains via a plugin like our Domain Mapping plugin (and only if they're being mapped via A/CNAME records).

    If it's a hosting issue, then I could always get a new host, but obviously there will be lot of migration work, including having each of my clients update their A name records for the domain mapping plugin. That could be pretty disruptive for them.

    Yes, there'd be migration work, and there would be downtime... but ask yourself, is the downtime you're running into any better? Customers aren't going to want to stick around if there's that much downtime in site availability.

    I'd honestly look in the direction of getting better hosting, if you're planning on making this network of yours bigger, you'll thank yourself later. :slight_smile:

    Actually... I wonder if the IP is the issue... ? I'm on shared hosting; does that mean my IP could change? But if it did, then NONE of the subsites would work anymore right?

    The IP address wouldn't be causing performance issues, but as indicated earlier, if a dedicated IP hasn't been set up for your site, A/CNAME record mapping for Domain Mapping wouldn't work.

    Sites on the network would work otherwise, with the default address given to them upon creation (e.g. subsite.mynetwork.com for subdomain networks, mynetwork.com/subsite for subfolder networks).

    Kind Regards,
    Michael

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