Database Issues

Looks like one of our WordPress plugins were generating excessive load on our 1and1 DB. The culprit appears to be Recently Popular, which was doing some sophisticated SQL queries. I’ve since disabled that and switched to Stats Helper, which stores the visitor data on their end.

Let’s hope this resolves the issue and that we’ll be seeing less 500 Internal Server Error. Maybe it’s time to look into dedicated servers or co-location hosting. If so, I’m definitely not going with 1and1 given how unhappy I was on how they dealt with this situation.

I sent the following email to them:

Thanks for clarifying the issue. I’ve disabled the plugin that generates the queries below and hopefully will resolve the issue.

However, there are several questions/expectations I have, which I feel 1and1 could have done a lot better at.

1. The T&C’s are very vague about “excessive load”. Is there a way for me to see what type of load I’m generating and if there is, what defines excessive load? If there isn’t a way, how does a customer even know when he’s generating excessive load?

2. When a customer is putting excessive load on shared resources, I would’ve expected warnings or at minimal a notification that my database was going to be shut down. I found out several hours later my website was no longer able to connect to the database. I then had to call in inquiring about why my database was “closed” and the customer service on the other end was not able to give me a reason because the department in charge of this was closed. I’m extremely unhappy with how this situation was dealt with.

Given this, what’s the next step in restoring the database which you have shut down.

Their reply:

It appeared as if you were using MySQL for logging, so we would suggest not using that. Depending on the severity of the load, we do send out warnings before stopping connectivity, but in your case our System Admins in Germany acted as they did because your database was already affecting our other customers on the server.

I like how their reply hardly answered any of my questions…

Upgraded to WordPress 2.5.1

So after many months of WordPress complaining that I should upgrade from 2.3.1, I’ve finally decided to upgrade. What prompted this action was the fact I was trying to do a review on 時をかける少女 (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) and the stupid blog would convert all my unicode characters to ???????? (question marks).

I have no idea what’s wrong since runs on the same WordPress version and does unicode fine. I decided to try upgrading to WordPress 2.5.1, but the unicode problem still exist.

Searching online, I found WordPress, Unicode, and ‘?’s and it turns out’s wp-config.php was so old, it didn’t have the following defined:

define('DB_CHARSET', 'utf8');
define(’DB_COLLATE’, ”);

When I commented that out from’s wp-config.php file, I was able to do unicode, but all my existing blog entries that had non-standard characters now became funky (white question mark inside a black diamond). There didn’t seem to be a simple search and replace where I could fix the problem. The underlying problem appears that when WordPress first created the database, the text data type it set as default was latin1 instead of utf8.

Searching a bit more, I found: Converting Database Character Sets on’s site. So a brief read revealed this is exactly what I wanted. I wanted to convert my existing latin1 text to utf8 text. So I jumped to the solution and start altering tables, which wasn’t as simple as it looks. Those …for all other tables/columns… really gets to you.

Half way through the process, I found that I screwed up. Apparently I was suppose to convert LONGTEXT to LONGBLOB, and not just BLOB. Guess I should’ve read all the instructions first. Thankfully, I had backed up my database as it instructed. And I guess I should’ve scrolled further as under solution was Conversion Scripts and Plugins. Grrrrr.

I installed the UTF-8 Database Converter plugin, read the readme.txt FULLY, activated the plugin and started the conversion. BAM! Everything works now. Even though there were big red warning signs saying this plugin was meant for 2.1-2.2, it worked on 2.3.1 and 2.5.1 w/o any problems.

Back to WordPress 2.5.1. The admin UI has completely changed. It’s definitely prettier, but I dislike the fact that they’ve moved a bunch of stuff I’ve been accustomed to the side (such as categories) to below the post. And since I run on a 1920×1080 resolution monitor, this is leaving about half my screen white, basically wasted space.

However I really appreciate the fact that Save no longer refreshes the page. Same with a bunch of other post editing functions.

Another awesome thing is that plugins now support updating from within the admin panel! No longer do I need to deactivate the plugin, download the plugin, overwrite the existing plugin, and reactivate it. In one click, it now goes fetches the plugin and automatically upgrades it on its own!

I wonder if they’ve supported upgrading WordPress like this yet…

Anyway, if I find anything more interesting, I’ll let you know!

Also, if you see any funky characters, please let me know too. Thanks!