Shared hosting server system upgrades

We upgraded our shared hosting servers to use the CloudLinux OS and would like update our clients on how the new OS is better and how it will improve performance for our clients.

Standard Shared Hosting Setup

In a standard shared hosting environment the resources available on a server are CPU, I/O and RAM. These resources are fully accessible to all accounts on that server and there is no hard and limit of usage of these resources. The clients are expected to share these resources equally. However, sometimes rogue scripts/programs on one clients account can take up a larger amount of resources, thus leading to the server getting overloaded and a general lack of performance, thereby resulting in each account on the server having its performance affected.

Enter CloudLinux

So what is CloudLinux?

“CloudLinux is a commercially supported Linux operating system interchangeable with CentOS. It includes kernel level technology called LVE that allows you to control CPU and memory on per tenant bases. It is a bases for application level virtualization. CloudLinux delivers advanced resource management, better security and performance optimizations specifically targeted to multi-tenant hosting environment. This improved performance helps hosting service providers and datacenters provide better support to their customers, reduce churn and save money.”

In english? CloudLinux creates a virtual environment for each individual account on a shared server and allows us to limit the amount of resources any single account can use similar to a VPS environment and therefore no single account can take up all CPU resources on the server. This brings quite a bit of benefits to the table for both our clients and us as your web host.

Our Benefits: We deal with less system level resource issues, there are fewer service interruptions, and most importantly the speed of most users sites go up as the accounts now have resources dedicated to them.

Your Benefits: As our clients, you benefit from the lower server load and fewer interruptions of service. You also get additional information in your cPanel which shows useful stats for your account (more on this later).

More info on CloudLinux

Now that you have got a basic understanding of what Cloud Linux achieves, here is the low down on some of the technology that makes it possible.

LVE – LVE, short for Lightweight Virtual Environment, is the backend technology behind the CloudLinux methodology. LVE, developed exclusively by the folks over at CloudLinux, is a kernel level technology which handles the isolation and resource monitoring that CloudLinux is able to provide. LVE brings together technology provided by Apache modules and the Linux kernel.  More info about all of that is available here: http://cloudlinux.com/docs/workingwithlve.php

In addition to this the cPanel integration has user based reporting which will log a history of CPU usage for an account allowing for quick and efficient tracking of resource usage.

Resource usage Information

You must be obviously wondering how you as the user can check his/her account/site resource usage. Well cPanel display’s this on the left alongside other account related information like HDD/Bandwidth limit etc. The information that is available is CPU use and concurrent connections. Here’s a picture of what they look like:

cPanel Resourse meter

  • The CPU is for your account only and not for the server as a whole. So when it says 100% it means you have reached the max CPU allotment.
  • The virtual memory usage shows the amount of RAM you are using out of your allotment, and not of the whole server.
  • The Entry Processes is the number of concurrent processes that your account can process at the same time. These processes can be cronjobs, PHP processes, Perl processes, etc. A  single user should rarely if ever consume all 20 connections, so this metric is mostly informational.
  • If you are consistently hitting your limits, it is time to look at optimizing your site(s) or upgrading to a VPS as you’ve most likely outgrown shared hosting.

Conclusion

In conclusion we feel that CloudLinux has executed an awesome concept of providing dedicated resources to all users and limiting the ability of a few users who are unfairly using more resources. This will in the end lead to lesser outages and better performance. Feel free to  send us an email or create a ticket with any questions or concerns about this technology, as we love to hear from our users/clients.


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