Ethan Banks On productivity.

The Unwelcome Intrusion of Life


It’s sad but true that life intrudes on preparation for the CCIE.  For instance, I’m the webmaster for some other sites.  Because of one of those sites, I spent most of my commute home speaking to a friend about his audio streaming project.  That conversation precipitated some web work of my own to help advertise his new Christian stream.  And that web work led to the discovery that my web server was way out of RAM.  I mean WAY out of RAM.  Not, hey we’re into the swap file a little, maybe we should think about some more RAM.  No, I’m talking beyond help, on its knees, begging for mercy, how is this thing even running anymore, OUT OF RAM.

I’d noticed over the last few weeks an occasional hiccup loading pages on this blog site, but didn’t think too terribly much about it.  It was one of those things I’d get back to at some point, right?  Oof.  I had no idea my web server was trapped under an elephant.  Normally my web server runs very light on memory utilization.  200MB would be more than enough, most of the time.  But when I consoled into the box today, I had a popup window complaining about being out of virtual memory.  Huh?  This box never runs out of PHYSICAL memory, let alone run out of swap space.  I checked the memory stats and was surprised to discover a few dozen PHP processes running for no apparent reason and eating far more RAM than they deserved to.  Okay.  Reboot!  Nothing like rebooting a web server in the middle of a production day, taking down…oh…maybe a dozen small sites (including this one), plus an audio stream.   But you do what you have to do.

So then my brain started thinking about what in the world could be causing PHP to behave so badly.  A bug or security vulnerability most likely, and probably WordPress, which I have been neglecting.  So, I just upgraded WordPress, which is blissfully easy…so easy, that it makes me ashamed I didn’t keep up with the releases as they came out.  Especially when the WordPress crew basically tells you, “Hey, you big dummy, we found a hole you can drive a truck through, so you better upgrade right now!”  Sigh.  Ah, well.  Live and learn.  I still have another WordPress instance to upgrade on the server, so I better get to it.

By Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks On productivity.

You probably know Ethan Banks because he writes & podcasts about IT. For example, he co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

This site is Ethan on productivity--not tech so much.

Find out more on his about page.