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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Zero-Byte .vars File (Read 3,169 times)
JonB
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #14 - Mar 21st, 2014 at 3:05pm
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We use LiteSpeed instead of Apache due its performance.*

*Smoking Gun ALERT. ding, ding, ding

You can read/infer this also: "Performance" indirectly means we can jam more accounts onto the same hardware.

Well at least it wasn't nginx... <== VERY good but only guys in lab coats
know what it is, much less how to make it work.  Note my avatar on Beta (thanks xnoddyx).

nginx is really different for a Linux host. Almost as different as IIS and Windows Server are. JonB has researched and tested nginx.

Techno-info: there are other webserver suites that are Apache-compatible. (means basically they support Apache directives) That said - they are few and far between on hosting companies. Reason - just like IIS, they are their own ball of wax. I do both IIS and Apache

You have to be a real server engineer to debug any of these things. The market share of Lite-Speed is not even a blip on the hosting radar. You probably need to call in Hubble to find your closest neighbor.  Thus, from a point of view of data-sample size, the chances they (or anyone else) know much about an intermittent problem is about squat. BTW - Lite-Speed ACTUALLY is known best for static HTML page speed.

http://www.thewhir.com/web-hosting-news/apache-market-share-falls-in-netcraft-oc...

Note: NCSA is the project that became the basis for Apache, it was the counter-part to the Mosaic browser, which is also still deep in there on most Opensource browsers - that's where X-windows comes from. AND CGI (what really makes YaBB work)

Quote:
Interesting Miscellany:
One member of a forum I run actually has his OWN OS (and is pissed because Wikipedia terms it a hobby project).
There is (or used to be) actually a webserver written completely in executable C. (Apache is written in C, BUT it is compiled C.)


This is my professional opinion, backed by 25+ years of doing 'exactly that'.
Wink
« Last Edit: Mar 21st, 2014 at 3:08pm by JonB »  

server_share.png (Attachment deleted)

I find your lack of faith disturbing.
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RonS2
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #13 - Mar 21st, 2014 at 1:38pm
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JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 10:08pm:
OK - you 'might' be hitting the inode limits.



Looks like I miss counted on the files I had on the server

Quote:
1. You're now using 119241 which should be fine.

2. I think this is something very specific to the application, and I was not able to find any temporary file with that pattern CGItempnnn.

3. Sure, you can grab them on /home/*****/access-logs/ . We use LiteSpeed instead of Apache due its performance.

Let me know if you have any other quesitons.


Looks like I miss counted on the files I had on the server
  
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xnoddyx
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #12 - Mar 21st, 2014 at 12:19am
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JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 10:08pm:
OK - you 'might' be hitting the inode limits.

as you no I am not much of a linux man but windows apart from my android phone as android is linux based anyway BOT

linux file system inode (linux file system index node) i am sure i remember something about everytime that it writes to a file it don't update the line that file info is on but just makes a new file entry at the end of it even if you moved or deleted a file in linux and the inode just keeps increasing in size i'm i right or wrong with that or just outdated on that info. ? as I said I am not much of a linux man.  Sad
  

YaBB install help video
1. what yabb forum are you running and the url
2. describe in as much detail as you can what happens and also post screenshots if you can
3. please be patient we live in different time zones and have other commitments but we will help you
as bill and ted say (Be excellent to each other)
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RonS2
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #11 - Mar 20th, 2014 at 10:33pm
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Thanks Jon

JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 10:08pm:
OK - you 'might' be hitting the inode limits.

I'll ask

JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 10:08pm:
Many things require temporary/work files. They normally 'go away', but not all garbage collection routines work correctly. The Perl module that uploads files is infamous for leaving its temporary files about.  They are usually named CGItempnnnn with no extension and are found in where-ever Perl has directed them in its setup. You might ask about that - many servers are set up to have special shared folders for workfiles, and often those are auto-cleaned with scripts that are driven by server policies.

I'll ask this too.

JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 10:08pm:
a very good thing to do would be to move the zero byte .vars file to a subfolder under ./Members like ./Members/zeroed or something.  Then you have the timestamp of the event and you can possibly relate that date to an event in an error log. That's how I was able to find out what happened. You might also want to get their usual IP address from them, and/or where they were 'on from' when they first found a problem.

I did this before with no luck, I'll try again next time it happens.

  
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JonB
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #10 - Mar 20th, 2014 at 10:08pm
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OK - you 'might' be hitting the inode limits.

Many things require temporary/work files. They normally 'go away', but not all garbage collection routines work correctly. The Perl module that uploads files is infamous for leaving its temporary files about.  They are usually named CGItempnnnn with no extension and are found in where-ever Perl has directed them in its setup. You might ask about that - many servers are set up to have special shared folders for workfiles, and often those are auto-cleaned with scripts that are driven by server policies.   

When a server is at rest, you can't really tell what the load-usage on the filesystem looks like.

a very good thing to do would be to move the zero byte .vars file to a subfolder under ./Members like ./Members/zeroed or something.  Then you have the timestamp of the event and you can possibly relate that date to an event in an error log. That's how I was able to find out what happened. You might also want to get their usual IP address from them, and/or where they were 'on from' when they first found a problem.

I used the Apache Error & Access logs to find the event.  The access log can tell you what the URL was that was submitted - THEN if you get a match in the error log - OH MY!

Cool
  

I find your lack of faith disturbing.
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RonS2
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #9 - Mar 20th, 2014 at 9:36pm
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JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:43pm:
Here's a question to ask - 'Is my server filesystem chrooted'?



Quote:
Yes, we use CageFS which allows you to have your own filesystem, but its all virtual.
  
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Bill Myers
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #8 - Mar 20th, 2014 at 9:35pm
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JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 9:00pm:
There are about two dozen YaBB forums I have control over, assist with etc. Having an ex-member almost never happens on a server I run or is on a 'good' hosting company.

There's really only one way to get an 'empty' (zero-byte) .vars file. The file is opened in read-write mode, YaBB needs to update the file - BUT - the server errors out, and YaBB never gets the chance to write the file back out to disk.

I also had control over, and assisted with dozens of YaBB foums not long after a group of us moved away from websites that were hosted by Geocities. We chose to continue our shared interests through our associated forums.

My/our results were the same as Jon's. Any problems we had were pretty much always related to issues with a server, or issues with a bad hosting company, of which I've had my share.

Then there were mistakes I made that messed up YaBB forums, but don't get me started on those. Roll Eyes

  

Morning, noon, or night, have a great one!

Note: This forum doesn't allow for us to freely edit our posts or topics to make corrections as needed, so please remember to look for subsequent posts if you see any mistakes or outdated information. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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RonS2
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #7 - Mar 20th, 2014 at 9:01pm
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JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:43pm:
I'd love to hear the technical description of that, LOL - Hi here's my new car, its a gas/diesel hybrid; three cylinders run on gasoline or ethanol and the other three run on diesel, peanut oil or fryer fat...  And when it won't start we have a huge-ass battery in the trunk.

I can relate...

JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:43pm:
What's the user-end Control Panel?

cPanel

JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:43pm:
What's your member count and post count?

214,654 Posts within 18,421 Topics.
Members  =6,596

JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:43pm:
Do you have SSH Root level Access?

I don't know, I can go pretty far up the ladder to where I can open the email, etc, php, bin and perl folders.

JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:43pm:
Do you have access to the Apache Access & Error Logs?


I have error logs and a few others, see image 1

JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:43pm:
You might want to get a file count


Between 250k and 300K files

JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:52pm:
I'd be very curious to know how you backup, and how you fix things.


I used to use Yabb's backup but it was to slow (on the older server I was on). Now I use cPanel's file manager and zip the whole yabb folder. It takes about 5 minutes and it doesn't take long to download a 70+ meg zip file.

I also make a separate zip for the members folder (about 16meg) and when I lose a member I just upload the vars VIA FTP.

To be honest, I really don't worry about the attachments. The one time I needed to access a backup I was able to go through cPanel's backup program.

The backup doesn't count toward my harddrive space or file count.

JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:43pm:
Here's a question to ask - 'Is my server filesystem chrooted'?

Will do.
« Last Edit: Mar 20th, 2014 at 9:02pm by RonS2 »  

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JonB
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #6 - Mar 20th, 2014 at 9:00pm
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There are about two dozen YaBB forums I have control over, assist with etc. Having an ex-member almost never happens on a server I run or is on a 'good' hosting company.

There's really only one way to get an 'empty' (zero-byte) .vars file. The file is opened in read-write mode, YaBB needs to update the file - BUT - the server errors out, and YaBB never gets the chance to write the file back out to disk. This kind of update only happens when you or an admin update your profile manually, when you login, and when you post or send a pm. your Profile (which is what rhe vars file really is) tracks 'last online', 'lastpost', 'lastim', 'pstcount' and 'lastips' The rest of the time, your .vars file just sits there - your continued access is ensured by your session cookie. So there are not a lot of chances for it to get spooky.

YaBB does have limitations but the numbers have to be really big and you have to have a lot of activity to really run into problems on modern equipment. Big (to me) means 50,000 + members, 200,000+ posts and an on-line average in the hundreds OR very spiky traffic (like event related). Then you will definitely start hitting some walls.

When we were on Sourceforge, we had all kinds of problems, but that was because we had to use NFS (which is a pile of poop masquerading as a Network File System) It might be the worst of the worst, it uses .lck (lock files) you have to check to see the state of a file. That means minimum 2 disk accesses for every file mount. Then we had problems regularly, however if you are on either NTFS or a local Linux/Unix filesystem, the  read-write problems are virtually non-existent.

Because YaBB uses a flat-file system rather than a database server, it runs a large file count.    

For instance - here we have about 10,500 files in ./Messages, and I know Corey used to prune that regularly. There are about 112,000 files in ./Members

Although I mentioned Inodes, I only have a few servers with more than 300,000 on a volume. NTFS and the EXT3-4 or LVG filesystems work very differently and each has its blessings and failings.

I just did a 'real time' check and this server has about 140,000 files in the server root.  

Wink
« Last Edit: Mar 20th, 2014 at 9:04pm by JonB »  

I find your lack of faith disturbing.
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Bill Myers
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #5 - Mar 20th, 2014 at 8:10pm
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Elrick. wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 8:05pm:
That chart looks remarkably like a brain scan of a hyperthinkosis affected patient!!  Cheesy

Yeah! And how did he get my brain scan?! Smiley
  

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Elrick.
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #4 - Mar 20th, 2014 at 8:05pm
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Quote:
I'd love to hear the technical description of that, LOL - Hi here's my new car, its a gas/diesel hybrid; three cylinders run on gasoline or ethanol and the other three run on diesel, peanut oil or fryer fat...  And when it won't start we have a huge-ass battery in the trunk...  Tongue


That chart looks remarkably like a brain scan of a hyperthinkosis affected patient!! Cheesy

  

~ Elrick ~
There is no direct experience of reality without interpretation; and all interpretation is corrupted by the cultural and personal prejudices or prejudgments of the interpreter.
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Bill Myers
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #3 - Mar 20th, 2014 at 8:05pm
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Edited:
Jon beat me to it. Cool

JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:52pm:
I'd be very curious to know how you backup, and how you fix things.

Smiley


RonS2 wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 6:53pm:
Host Providers Trump Card - Its the software!

But sometimes it is the software as Jon mentions below with YaBB's beta version.

JonB wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 4:02pm:
Our BETA CODE caused the server to timeout on the script running the update of the members variables files while it was processing ...

Had Jon not mentioned this, I would have continued to believe that timeout issues were always related to the server, and not due to YaBB's software. The exception to that would be those times when a forum has simply outgrown YaBB's capabilities because of its size or higher than normal activity. Cases in point have been made with former YaBB users who were compelled to switch to another forum software because of this.

Even still, my uneducated guess about YaBB's various issues after eliminating an occasional bug here and there, which can be fixed, is that if enough resources are provided, YaBB will have no timeout issues no matter how active a forum is, and no matter how many members it has.

As for the issue of timing out during the software's editing process of *.vars files, maybe a solution to that would be to have *.vars files automatically back up while being written so that a zero bytes file could default back to its original state. In turn, an error message could indicate a problem with the editing process being incomplete.

Meanwhile, with regular backups, particularly with automated backups as files change, an admin can enjoy the ability to restore a zero bytes file no matter what its cause.

« Last Edit: Mar 20th, 2014 at 8:07pm by Bill Myers »  

Morning, noon, or night, have a great one!

Note: This forum doesn't allow for us to freely edit our posts or topics to make corrections as needed, so please remember to look for subsequent posts if you see any mistakes or outdated information. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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JonB
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #2 - Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:52pm
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I'd be very curious to know how you backup, and how you fix things.

Smiley
  

I find your lack of faith disturbing.
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JonB
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Re: Zero-Byte .vars File
Reply #1 - Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:43pm
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RonS2 wrote on Mar 20th, 2014 at 6:53pm:
See http://www.yabbforum.com/community/YaBB.pl?num=1395281411/2#2

[quote]I'm using what Stablehost calls an Enterprise Hosting, according to them its in between Shared and a VPS.


I'd love to hear the technical description of that, LOL - Hi here's my new car, its a gas/diesel hybrid; three cylinders run on gasoline or ethanol and the other three run on diesel, peanut oil or fryer fat...  And when it won't start we have a huge-ass battery in the trunk...  Tongue

100 Accounts per server
500k INODES/Files
100% of 2 CPU Cores
2G of Ram

What's the user-end Control Panel?

You might want to get a file count, you might be hitting the Inode limit (that Unix Filesystem-ese for files that can be in the filesystem 'your virtual host' mounts. usually including everything needed by everything else.  I've got 120,000 + on a Forum hosting 40,000 + posts only 100 members that is 6 years old.

What's your member count and post count?

Do you have SSH Root level Access?

Do you have access to the Apache Access & Error Logs?

Here's a question to ask - 'Is my server filesystem chrooted'?


Lips Sealed

JonB's Server Law - Unlimited Everything Includes Free Unlimited Crap
« Last Edit: Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:51pm by JonB »  

I find your lack of faith disturbing.
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RonS2
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Zero-Byte .vars File
Mar 20th, 2014 at 6:53pm
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See http://www.yabbforum.com/community/YaBB.pl?num=1395281411/2#2

I'm using what Stablehost calls an Enterprise Hosting, according to them its in between Shared and a VPS.

100 Accounts per server
500k INODES/Files
100% of 2 CPU Cores
2G of Ram

Current Data
Description                     Usage            Limit      
CPU Usage                           0.1%            100%      
I/O Usage                            248              5120      
Entry Processes              1                 50      
Number of Processes      0                 50      
Physical Memory Usage      94.66M            2.00G      
Virtual Memory Usage      24.77M            2.00G

I keep tabs on my usage and very rarely if ever does it max and on those occasions there hasn't been problems with the site.

About 4-5 times a week I lose a couple of people

D and xnoddyx has sent a lot of time helping with this me and still no luck.

The host provider monitored my site and believes is a software problem and feels I should move to a different forum software to cure my problems.

They wrote a niffty little bit of code that helps me ferret out 0 byte files

Edited:
Host Providers Trump Card - Its the software!
« Last Edit: Mar 20th, 2014 at 7:02pm by RonS2 »  

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