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Wiki Temporarily Offline


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After a long, exciting* day and a half, I am fairly sure I have ascertained the issue that has been plaguing the site: it's the wiki.

But Eric, you've had the new server for almost a month and the wiki hasn't caused any problems until yesterday, how can it be the cause of the problem? you ask. Well... that is a very astute question. I honestly have no idea. Most all of our bandwidth and traffic is on the main 17th Shard domain, not the Coppermind anyways. The wiki shouldn't be the problem.

Shiro, however, spits on puny mortal logic.

Apparently the wiki--though getting much less usage than the main site--has been taking up the majority of CPU power. How much? Well, yesterday at least, the top three server processes were all the index.php page of the wiki, using about, oh, 88% of the CPU of the server. I was kinda shocked, to say the least.

I've gone back through our Daily Processes for the month, and there's a curious thing: it's about every other day when the wiki is a big process (on "off" days, the top processes are various PHP and SQL thingys.) When the wiki is a big process, though, it dominates the server. My current theory is that the wiki freaked out too much yesterday, thus overloading the server. This made page load times abominably slow, eventually requiring the server to be rebooted and such (and other exciting [REDACTED] but aren't super important right now. Basically, yesterday kind of sucked for all of us, trying to scramble around to find what was doing this). Late last night, the site seemed like it was back to normal, but then about 4ish Mountain Time, it started becoming ludicrously slow again and everything died.

The site just came back just long enough for me to turn off the wiki. I strongly suspect that this will immediately help with uptime. Rest assured, everything on the wiki is perfectly fine and still there. We are just testing if this measurably makes things better for the site, but obviously you won't have access to it for a bit.

As far as I can tell this early in the morning, the answer is a resounding yes. The server feels faster than ever and resource wise we are using way less of the CPU than I've seen in a very long time. This is all very shocking--I honestly thought it was the forums and all its modules which were using the CPU power, but apparently it's all the wiki's fault. Who knew?

It's all quite mysterious. You would think at 4am, with very limited people online, that the wiki wouldn't stress the servers out at all. And you'd also think that since it's been a fairly slow month that there's no reason for the wiki to suddenly freak out enough to destroy the site yesterday.

So, there you have it: the Coppermind is down for a bit. The wiki is immensely important to the site, so don't worry, it'll come back soon. We need to run some tests and such. Fair warning, there may be more downtime this week as we test different things. But for today for sure, the Coppermind is down, and cross your fingers that the rest of the site runs okay.

We apologize deeply for needing to shut it down. Trust me, we like going to the Coppermind as much as you do :) (mostly to lament how many stubs there are, but whatever :P)


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MediaWiki: Performance Tuning


Also, it should be noted that, as stated on that page, if you don't have your caching set up, retrieval of pages can use a large amount of CPU, because it will rebuild the page each time instead of using a cached version. What that means is that each time a page is requested, it will have to reevaluate the page, and all of its tags, and present it in its final form to the user, where as with caching it just rebuilds them on occasion.

Note: I dont know much about wiki software, so take that for what you will. :P

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