Installation help

Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors

 
 
Picture of Dan Eliot
Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

So I'm about ready to dump Moodle 2.1.x and revert to 1.9.x because I keep getting Internal Server Errors.  I've set up custom PHP, I've upped PHP memory to 128megs (assuming Dreamhost honored the request), but I keep getting these errors.  My .htaccess is the Moodle default.  Does anybody have any suggestions?  Is Dreamhost shared hosting just to weak to handle Moodle 2.1.x?

Here's the full error message:

"Internal Server Error  The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.  Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@xxx.xxx.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.  More information about this error may be available in the server error log.  Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request."

 
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Picture of james jiang
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

Could you post your moodle environment?

which os system? IIS7.5+Mysql+PHP or redhat?

 

 
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Picture of Sam Black
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

As a fellow Dreamhoster, I found the answer to this during the summer! I was teaching a summer program and the exact same thing happened, so I got Tech Support on the line and they were able to give me some incredible insight on these things.

(Yay, now I finally(!) get to help someone. smile )

You really need a VPS for Moodle to run properly.  The PHP limitations in the .ini file are not the issue.  The active memory default limitations that your hosting account has is the issue.

Moodle needs RAM!  It is a hungry hungry hippo in that respect.  In fact, I spend a few minutes every morning turning up my VPS memory allocation and then in the afternoon, turn it back down to a managable rate.

Email me if you have any issues and I'll try to explain it further.

Sam

 
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Picture of Marc Grober
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

I am very interested in what you have to say, Sam, and would love to see you post about it here and in the dreamhost forum. I have not seen any changes in Moodle between 2.1 and 2.0.x that would prevent Moodle from running on DH shared hosting, and I have run Moodle 2.0.x on DH shared hosting.

I would also like the OP to provide details on how he built his custom php and configured his FastCGI, etc, in as much as he did not provide adequate data to even begin considering what was going on. Moreover,  though I do like many of the folk over at DH,  it is fairly cvommon to get bogus informatin from them if you are not careful of what you ask, who you ask, etc. and many here have been led astray by such responses.

This is certainly not to suggest in any way that what you hve to say is incorrect. But it is incomplete and could lead to confusin and misunderstanding.  Please post details!

 
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Picture of Dan Eliot
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

Just to be clear, I'm talking about a 1.9.x to 2.1.x move, as I stated originally smile

 
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Picture of Marc Grober
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

Got that Dan,  but you still have not provided any of the details about how you built your php, how you set up your fastCGI, etc.  Additionally, it is unclear whether you were trying to do an upgrade (and if so, how) or just trying to backup courses from 1.9 and then restore on 2.1.  We in fact have no info on when you received these error messages nor what tok place prior to your receiving them smile

 
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Picture of Marc Grober
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

LOL,  I enjoy the hell out of talking to myself wink

 
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Picture of Dan Eliot
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

It shows...

 
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Picture of Marc Grober
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

Knock yourself out, Danno...  LoL

But likely this has nothing to do with 1.9 vs 2.x, though 2.x is a touch more demanding. Running a moodle where any significiant portion of 500 students would be online at the same time, let alone using the quiz module, on a shared system is untenable, no matter the Moodle version.

Moreover, posting questions without providing details is more often than not a huge waste of time for evetryone concerned and typically results in inaccurate information becoming common practice, with unfortunate consequences.

 
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Picture of Dan Eliot
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

>>But likely this has nothing to do with 1.9 vs 2.x, though 2.x is a touch more demanding. Running a moodle where any significiant portion of 500 students would be online at the same time

...and you are "likely" wrong, since everything is fine now with 1.9.x, and I no longer get Internal Server errors, under student load, using the exact same setup.  Apparently, that "touch more demanding" was enough of a "touch" to matter.

Also, I never said at any point that I had 500 students as part of my "details".  Don't know where you got that "inaccurate information".

>>"posting questions without providing details is more often than not a huge waste of time for evetryone (sic) concerned"

...and yet, it was not a huge waste of time in this case, since I recieved good, useful information from somebody who uses Moodle on Dreamhost.

Take care Marc,

your inferior, information-not-providing, time-wasting, inaccurate-information-becoming, unfortunate-consequences-generating, friend.

Dan

 

 

 
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Picture of Marc Grober
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

No, Dan, in that you have failed to address quite a few variables (as I previously noted) that could have impacted the situation, so your experience could have nothing to do with your use of Moodle 2.1  Issues that should be identified and resolved are whether you used DH's beta php, whether you built your own php and how that was configured, whether you used FastCGI or not and how you configured it, etc.In fact,  I have at times seen similar errors resulting from mysql loads, which at DH, might well be an artifact from an other machine altogether.

As you know, DH did not support Moodle 2.x because that versions requirements were not met by DH's shared resources and there is a thread in DH's forums regarding avoidance of one click use of M2 because of such issues as well as substantial discussin of similar matters. In light of that, your suggestion that your setup for 1.9 and 2.x were exactly the same seems a bit disingenuous without further explanation.

As far as the 500 students, that is taken from the source YOU claim YOU relied upon,  which suggests that you were clearly comparing apples and oranges as far as the student load on your Moodle versus the load on Sam's Moodle.  I am surprised that you don't seem to recognize the logical gap.

In fact, the info you received, at least as published here, is of minimal value because there was inadequate data to narrow the source of the impacts on the source of the advice you relied upon. Yes, Dan,  if you never enter a car you will never be caught in one in a car wreck, but to suggest that the answer to automobile injuries is not to get in one is rather extreme, lol, and that is the same kind of analysis going on here. It is the same kind of analysis that had people sprinkling php.ini files in every directory under php5, though only one was necessary.

I am not saying that there is not an issue regarding hosting Moodle 2 on DH shared hosting (though it Moodle 2.0 seems to run fine for me under load - and yes I know you are talking about 2.1.) What I said was that there are indeed, so many variables at hand that without further review we have inadequate information to jump to the conclusions that you did (as opposed to Sam, whose usage would be inappropriare for shared host even under 1.9) and because of that I invited you, as I have historically done,  to provide adequte details (which you have chosen not to do.)

As a result,  while your Moodle instance may run now,  you still do not know why it seems not to run under Moodle 2.1 and while there is comparative data you cold have obtained while running M2 so as to to compare with running under 1.9,  you have neither pulled nor shared either that data or details of your configuration. 

Lastly I want to make sure it is clear that I am in no way endorsing Moodle 2.x or its use on DH, nor the use of DH shared hosting for production servicing of any substantial concurrent population. Using quiz module on DH shared hosting under 1.9 with even 20 students can bring response times significantly down while there is any load either on the DH web server or mysql server and DH warrants the performance of neither.

Marc

p.s. Yes, Dan, I have been using Moodle on Dreamhost for a number of years years and have contributed to not only DH's wiki on Moodle but to resolving DH problems in these forums, and I have been witness to a significant amount of misinformation one way and another. I have worked in IT for some 30 years and have been employed to provide systems administration and instruction in systems administration to the federal government as well as to do web development for a multimillion dollar quasi-public corporation. I've taught a course in LMS at university and have used LMS to support my own teaching at secondary (including managing two labs with a total of 140 seats) and post-secondary levels. I clearly haven't a clue.....

 
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Picture of Dan Eliot
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

I totally understand what you are saying, and I suspected as much.  I guess I'll be downgrading then, since we are a high school, and we can't handle the VPS costs.

 
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Picture of Dan Eliot
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

Hey Sam, one final question though.  Did Dreamhost say HOW MUCH RAM is necessary for Moodle?

 
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Picture of Sam Black
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 
Well, it just depends. I was just getting my 2.x site up and we were having issues just with account creation. They told me the process was spiking to 600mb and getting killed by the system. He told me to boost it higher than that and see where it led. I did. What I found was that I needed between 900-1200mb during the day and can downsize that to around 500-600mb at night (for maintenance and backups). Hope that helps. We have a site with 4 teachers and just under 500 students in my department (those using my site). Sorry it took me until to answer you back.
 
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Picture of Dan Eliot
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

Thank you Sam very much for this information.  I am at a High School, so I only have my 34 (max) students hitting Moodle at one time.  On Dreamhost shared hosting, it just wasn't cutting it with the higher memory requirements of Moodle 2.1.x.

I'm guessing, I could get buy with the minimal Dreamhost VPS based on the small number of students I have.  Your comments were very helpful smile

 
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Picture of Dan Eliot
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

>>I could get buy with

should say "get by with".  Ugh.

 
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Picture of Dan Eliot
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

Going to downgrade back to 1.9.x for now, then I'll look into VPS at a later date.  Thanks for the help smile

 
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Picture of Dan Eliot
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

Just to button this one up...

Installed 1.9.x on my shared Dreamhost account last night.  Moodle 1.9.x is doing fine now, and my 34 students at a time are connecting well.  No "Internal Server Errors". 

I do not blame Moodle 2.1.x for this, since it is not the fault of the newer software that it was run on shared hosting with limited RAM.

I will keep the current setup throughtout this year, and next year, I will look into a Virtual Private Server with more RAM.  I think the bottom line is that Moodle 2.1.x (not surprisingly, nor unfairly) expects a bit more than your standard $8.95 a month shared UNIX/LINUX hosting to handle the number of concurrent users I was throwing at it.

 
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Picture of Dan Eliot
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

As a followup about a year later.  This blog post has a great comparison of the needs of Moodle 1.9x vs the 2.x series. In particular, the RAM and DB requirements are what seems to kill my shared hosting on Dreamhost.  I'm still using 1.9x as of this writing.  Dreamhost also only supports 1.9x as a one click install, perhaps due to the requirements of 2.x.  Once 2.4 comes out, I hope to do a test install and see if it works better with the new caching mechanism.  These comments are from my personal experience with Dreamhost, and may not apply to other shared hosting.

http://www.iteachwithmoodle.com/2012/11/17/moodle-2-4-beta-performance-test-comparison-with-moodle-2-3/

 
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Picture of Dan Eliot
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

I've been intrigued by Moodle 2.4 (beta) with it's rumored increase in efficiency, and lower hardware footprint.  So I did a test install of Moodle 2.4 beta on Dreamhost, and was able to get it to work.  I have yet to try it with students (we shall see), but so far, it looks promising.  Here is the little "how to" I created on installing Moodle 2.x on Dreamhost shared hosting:  https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=216279.  I would not suggest using Moodle 2.x on Dreamhost shared hosting for "production" sites.

 
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Picture of Dan Eliot
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
 

As a FINAL FINAL comment about this...

I moved my Moodle from Dreamhost to a Linode VPS, and everything is great.  I think the main difference is that I have 512megs of RAM (guaranteed) on my VPS, and Moodle 2.4 is doing very well with this amount of RAM.  Dreamhost won't discuss the amount of RAM a shared hosting user has, but many sources say that shared hosting has under 200megs of RAM.

For what it's worth...

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Moodle 2x, Dreamhost, and Internal Server Errors
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Dan

Thanks for the wrap up.

@all who contributed to this thread

Is anybody against moving this thread to the "Hardware and Performance" forum?
 
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