Server overload!


Funhouse Photo appeared on Facebook’s directory a few hours ago, and it’s up to 106 users already. The bad news is that I’m starting to see occasional timeout messages when I’m testing it. Looking at the CPU usage on my server using the unix command ‘top’, I see spikes that seem to be caused by the heavy image processing demands of creating the photos. I’m using a shared server on dreamhost and I was hoping to avoid upgrading until I had more users. Unfortunately it looks like this is the point where I need to switch to keep things reliable.

The next step up is to get a dedicated machine, rather than sharing the CPU with other users. I’ve been very happy with dreamhost, but their dedicated server packages start at $400 a month. That’s a bit much, so I’ve gone with a mid-range package from instead, at $135 setup and $135 monthly.

I will be very interested to see how this works now, and scales as usage increases. I may need to rewrite the image generation to make it more asynchronous, so that the CPU load is smoothed out rather than spiky. One way to do this would be to only create a few images at a time, and progressively load each page, but I’ll think on that some more…

Funhouse Photo User Count: 106, after today’s inclusion in the directory.

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