Tuesday, February 13, 2007

BlogPatrol's Post Nuclear Recovery

I apologize for the flatlining of the site for so many days. BlogPatrol has started its online recovery with the system running MySQL 5, which will help mitigate* the too many connections error that has plagued the system forever.

* I'm saying mitigate (and not solve) because the transition to MySQL 5 is an important piece of the solution, but not the whole solution.

A summary of events: Thanks to the willingness of a friend of BlogPatrol to take on BlogPatrol's database/software/hardware challenges, I saw an immediate opportunity to fix the site beginning with a version update of our database engine. I knew this was a huge risk, but given the serious performance problems nagging the site, I felt the risk was worth it - estimating that things couldn't get any worse. Well, for the last few days, it did get much worse! The site flatlined for days without even rendering the home page. In migrating to MySQL 5, we discovered that our current server environment did not re-configure as easily as expected from supporting MySQL 4 to MySQL 5. Continuous debugging efforts have helped us to bring BlogPatrol back online for longer stretches of time without errors. Right now, we're debugging the problem that's causing the hourly stats reports (by visitor counts, by percentage) to not render properly. It looks like all the other stats reports are rendering properly and more quickly than before. We're seeing fewer instances of the "too many connections" error as well.

The summary behind the summary: I imagine that you must be wondering why BlogPatrol has had so many problems? BlogPatrol is not just a web start-up, but it's a web start-up managed with part-time resources and a steep learning curve.

History of BlogPatrol: I purchased BlogPatrol in September of 2003 from Charles Coxhead (a brilliant gentleman, also the originator of Blogarama and numerous other sites). To give you an indication of the steepness of my own learning curve, I didn't even know what a blog was until I discovered BlogPatrol. I did, however, recognize BlogPatrol as a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow. It's been an eye-opening three plus years of overcoming numerous learning curves: technically, business-wise, and marketing-wise. It sometimes also gets very difficult running a part-time business with a full-time job and a growing family, but my commitment to BlogPatrol only deepens with every challenge. The greatest challenge (and attraction) of running a business is that it makes a person confront weaknesses and shortcomings in ways that working for someone else never does (the subject of another post). Right now, the team running BlogPatrol consists of me, a very dedicated consultant, and the aforementioned friend. We do what we can, when we can, to bring you BlogPatrol.

BlogPatrol here and now: We know that being free doesn't mean having a free pass to provide bad service. The reality though is that BlogPatrol must be converted from its architecture as a low traffic site with a small user base to a scalable design that supports as much traffic as our users require. We also wish to upgrade our web site so that you can customize how you view your stats information. These changes require resources, planning, developing, testing -- and time to get it right. Upgrading from MySQL 4 to 5 was only the first of many steps that we'll be taking to make our servers run properly. For example, some of the other steps will include migrating from PHP 4.x to 5.x, and most likely changing hosting providers as well as the specific flavor of Linux that we are using.

So, there you have it. Some of you will roll your eyes at what I've shared with the expectation that we should get it together already. I understand that. Others of you will understand what I've shared as a commitment to working, learning, growing, and adjusting until BlogPatrol is done right. I appreciate that.

Your help: Please let us know if/when you still encounter any errors when you attempt to login or view your stats. Your observations really help us to work better for you.

If you like this article, then click on this link to "Digg It" and help promote BlogPatrol.com. Thanks!

11 comments:

David W... said...

http://r-p-e.blogspot.com/ still has a dead counter - although it has been on and off during the day...

Sounds like a stressful time - hope it goes smoother from now on!

DW

Anonymous said...

my blogpatrol counter has been down all of today - and no stats...

J├╝rgen Kalwa said...

I appreciate your efforts to get a handle on some of the problems that come with growth. I also appreciate you for what you do, when everything is working well (which it will, I am sure). I wanted to address one thing that bugs me personally. And I hope you find the time to deal with it down the road. For whatever reason you are very popular in Turkey und you attract many sites to your counter that are no blogs by any stretch of the imagination. I assume you have a policy to weed those out that don't belong, although it might be difficult to do, given all the different languages in the world. But they are easily spotted. Thanks again. My Blogpatrol number is 51949.

Alice W. said...

This is what I get when I log in:
Warning: mysql_fetch_object(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /home/blogpat/public_html/core.class.php on line 1339

ERROR!

Invalid User.

Sister Mary Martha said...

I can't even log in. I'm seriously considering changing to some other counter. The service here has been beyond terrible too long.

Anonymous said...

blogpatrol has sucked for a long time..sick of excuses

Anonymous said...

Log-in works, but no data. No history data either other than total number of hits.

Sister Mary Martha said...

I haven't been able to log in for two days. PLEASE. Get it together.

Anonymous said...

17th and no counter and no stats...

Syrian in London said...

i keep receiving the same error massege and can't go beyond the first page of the site!

Steve said...

No problem, my brotha's! Hang tough! You will succeed!! Thanks for the free couter, btw!