My WordPress Is Denying Itself Service

I need your help diagnosing whether I have a hosting problem, a WordPress problem, or if the combination of the two are causing the problem. For starters, WPTavern is hosted on I’ve had few problems over the years but within the past few months, I’ve had my share of issues. I’ve been using the latest version of WordPress 3.6 during it’s development cycle. Here is the re-occurring problem. If I leave the Post Writing panel open in WordPress for an extended period of time, leave that browser tab to do other things and come back to it later, I’ll usually see a red warning message that tells me I’ve been disconnected from the server and that the message will disappear once a connection has been re-established. When I try to re-establish a connection, it takes forever to load the WPTavern website and if I’m lucky, I’ll see a 500 Internal Server Error. I’ll then log into cPanel for the WPTavern account, browse the processes section and see 24/25 process running. It looks something like this.

Site Offline ErrorsWhen all of those processes are running, it causes the site to automatically get turned off by the host as it thinks the site is using up too many resources. I have no idea what this means other than it has some sort of relation to WordPress trying to re-establish a connection after the Post Writing panel is open for an extended amount of time with no activity. It’s almost as if something in WordPress gets stuck, generates another process, gets stuck, and the process repeats until the site is shut down. Like WordPress is denying service to itself. In the course of the past two months, I’ve gone through and cleaned up plugins, cleaned up the database, installed caching plugins, implemented CloudFlare and generally, have spring-cleaned the entire site and this problem is still occurring.

I want to know if anyone else is experiencing or has experienced a similar behaviour on their WordPress installation, especially if you are using HostGator as the webhost and the latest version of WordPress (3.6 development version).

Oh and before you tell me to just switch to another webhost, this site will eventually be moved somewhere else but for the time being, I’d love to be able to conclude what is causing these problems.


22 responses to “My WordPress Is Denying Itself Service”

  1. Not sure it’s Post Revisions. As long as I maintain an active connection and activity level within the Post Writing panel, things seem to be ok. It’s only if I leave the writing panel open for an amount of time with no activity. I’ll occasionally also see a number of WP-Cron processes running as well when the Internal 500 Server error happens.

  2. WP v3.6 was offered with stern warnings that it was not suitable for production environments.

    If it is not too traumatic to revert to the latest stable release, that is an obvious ‘fresh light-bulb’ check.

    Actually, when I saw how emphatic the caveats were, it suggested itself to me that Dev knew 3.6 had issues that would interfere with production.

  3. @Travis – That was one of my first guesses. I was thinking that the Heart Beat would occur but after a period of time, I would get disconnected and somehow, the Heart Beat would happen, get no response and repeat and somehow cause a pile up of no responses. I’m going to run YSlow while leaving a browser tab with the Post Writing panel open to see what it shows.

  4. We were on bluehost but had to move because of this.

    I suggest either for a better similiar service at a similiar price point. for a higher price point but fully managed and awesome. to do it all yourself.

  5. Since downgrading to WordPress 3.5.2, I have not had any issues. I have left a browser tab open that has the WordPress Write Panel open as if I was editing the post. I’ve left it alone for a few hours and I have yet to see the Server Disconnection warning. I’ve also had YSlow running the entire time and have yet to see a POST Admin-AJAX.php request time out. It’s not conclusive just yet but it’s a step in the right direction.

  6. I also use Hostgator for my website ( In the last 2 or 3 weeks I had a similar problem. It got to a point that Hostgator called my phone as well as sent me an email. Recently I also started getting some 500 internal server errors. At the time I was running WP 3.5.1. I am not sure what I did, if anything, but the problem went away. I did clean out the posts revisions (over 9,000) and check some of my plugins.

    With the number of calls to the login and index php files I would guess some bot was trying to exploit the login weakness where people do not use strong passwords and the username Admin. The reason I think this is the index.php page has the link to the login link. After failing it went away.

    A problem I am working on now is the PHP memory limit Hostgator imposes on shared hosting accounts. One plugin (All-in-One Event Calendar) causes the problem: Allowed memory size of 268435456 bytes exhausted /home/texbiker/public_html/blog/wp-includes/wp-db.php
    This only happens when I try to list all of the events I have created over the years.

    Glad that you are back at WP Tavern. Keep writing.

  7. Do you want to continue to pursue the issue you’ve had with v3.6?

    There are 3 flavors: Beta 1, 2 and 3. #1 was replaced with #2 under duress. Which have you been using?

    Another ‘fresh light-bulb’, is to put the same version you’ve seen the issue with on a localhost, and see if it can be reproduced.

    We’re not hearing anything from Dev these days … but still, to clearly ID a problem on your site would be a good thing. If you can ‘crowd-source’ bug-chasing this way, that would be a round on the house, eh?

    Notably, we can set limits for PHP memory and other resources, on a localhost.

    [I got a 500 Internal, the first time I hit this URL in my e-mail. I then trimmed it to the homepage, and it came up.]

  8. I checked my error log and it’s filled with this SoftException in Application.cpp:641 with a link to my public_html index.php file, similar to what you see in the screenshot concerning processes. A google search showed this error message is prevalent in HostGator accounts and other people were also noticing their processes maxing out and thus, Internal 500 server errors. Why that is the case and why that’s in the error logs is another part of the mystery.

  9. Have you been in touch with Hostgator support? We host with them, and they help us with so much more than just hosting issues. They also help with WordPress issues that aren’t necessarily their responsibility, and they pretty much always come through for us. In short, their support is AMAZING (though their chat support can sometimes take ages – you need patience).

    I suggest running this issue by their support and seeing what they say.

  10. Since publishing this post, we have moved the site to Dreamhost/DreamPress. I’ve been very happy with the results. All of my previous issues have disappeared and the website as a whole is much more responsive. It’s interesting to note that just after we left HostGator, my account was one of the accounts on the list to be migrated over to a new server box. Also, a Level 3 tech has been in touch with me today to try and figure out my WordPress issues but it’s all a moot point now.


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