If You're Frustrated About PINAC's Tech Problems, You're Not Alone

From my Facebook page: “This is how it must feel like to enter a PINAC discussion thread without much regard for the First Amendment . I’ve seen it happen several times over the years and it’s never pretty.”

If you’re reading this post, then you’re one of the lucky ones.

Odds are, you have been unable to access this site much in the last few days. Or if you have the patience of Job, then you have been able to view the site only after waiting a painful eternity for it to load.

It’s even worse on my end because it takes more than twice as long than normal to post a story, requiring me to hit publish multiple times, only for the coding to get stripped out where I end up with a giant block of text instead of a multi-paragraphed story.

It’s extremely frustrating.

The problem, I am told, is a CPU overload most likely a result of the newly installed forums. And that’s considering we are already running on multiple servers.

A quick solution would be to add more servers or bandwidth, but I am already paying almost $300 for hosting and bandwidth (invoices below) without making nearly that much in income from the blog at the moment.

I’m hoping that will all change through advertisement but we haven’t generated much response from the advertising plan we introduced last week.

So I will probably look into implementing Google AdSense, which is the last thing I wanted to do because it leaves me no control of the ads that are placed on the blog while bringing in a fraction of what the advertiser pays Google.

But something needs to be done in order for me to keep this blog running.

As usual, I will ask for donations as much as I hate doing that. I’ve never been good about asking for money, even when I’ve earned it.

We’ve introduced a new feature where you can donate a fixed amount of dollars where it reoccurs every month. If everybody who reads this site regularly would donate $5-a-month on a reoccurring basis, it would solve everything.

But Pareto’s Law dictates you will never get 100 percent of the people to do anything in unison, so I need to find other solutions. You can also make a one-time donation by clicking the donation button at the bottom of this piece or at the top left-hand corner of the site.

And, of course, you can help support the site by purchasing merchandise from the PINAC Nation merchandise store where I’m hoping to introduce new designs soon.

We have grown into a very active community over the years that might not agree on everything, but we do agree on the First Amendment. In fact, we are downright rabid about it, which is why I posted the above photo.

This is no place for the thin-skinned and that is exactly why we can use this platform to hold public officials accountable when it comes to recording in public. After all, we know the mainstream media is not going to do it.

But in order to do it in the most effective manner, we need to ensure this site runs as smoothly as possible without any glitches or hitches.

Over the next few days, we will try to make adjustments to lower the CPU usage without expanding bandwidth. It’s a technical issue that is way over my head, so I have to depend on the guys who helped me install the forums, who are scattered all over the globe, which means it is difficult to get everybody working together at the same time.

One of my immediate goals after we resolve that issue is to install a feature in the left sidebar where we can see new forum posts as they are posted, which would provide a nice balance to the right sidebar which features the top-rated forum posts.

It would also place your posts on the front page of a nationally renowned blog that continues to grow in popularity and notoriety.

And there are many other issues, many that have to do with the videos and photos in the blog posts,  that also need to be resolved, but rest assured, I will continue working to improve this site because there is no doubt it is absolutely necessary.

We just need to get past these growing pains.

Amazon bill May 2013




About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

Check Also

Stephen Matakovich

Pittsburgh District Attorney to Refile Charges Against Acquitted Cop who Attacked Teen on Video

The Pittsburgh police officer who was acquitted this week on assault charges when a surveillance …


    Let me know what I can do. I’m broke but this is a good cause and I’lll send what I can.

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

      Yeah, I’m broke too (law school isn’t cheap and I’m not working during it).

      If I can, I’ll donate some, but I don’t know when that will be. :(

  • Ryan French

    I am curious as to your traffic stats and bandwidth usage. I ask because you said you needed multiple servers. I use Host Gator on my personal sites as well as client websites and I’ve never had an issue. Adding forums should not cause these problems and you might be paying 10x too much!

    • Carlos_Miller

      Hopefully, Dave Van Rood will explain the reasons we need multiple servers. My traffic can range anywhere from 5,000 views a day, which happens if I go a few days without posting, to more than 50,000 views a day, but averaging around 12,000 views a day.

      I do believe I am paying too much, which is why I put the invoices out because it is a little unbelievable.

      I had no idea bandwidth would cost so much.

      • Kenneth Bankers

        If your only Handling 12k people per day and you are not hosting Video. You pay WAY to much enless they are charging you a fee for up keep of the blog witch i doubt. I would love to see the whole invoice on how much data is being moved. How are the Vids handled an so on. If your running the vids thru the web site yea your moving WAY to much data then you need too.

        • Carlos_Miller

          I can download either an XML or CSV report, then upload it. Which would be better?

          • Kenneth Bankers

            What i see coming up constantly is the Box Usage. What is in the box and why is it constant. Also they are hitting you every time they back up your site.

          • dvanrood

            Amazon hosting is an hourly service. It has nothing to do with video. please see my explanation below.

          • Kenneth Bankers

            After a second look at it your getting it with HUGE hourly upkeep and data charges. The video is being streamed thru your site and thats MOST of your issue on costs.And they are also charging you to back up the site.

        • Carlos_Miller

          Here is a report from this month, even though I labeled it from last month.

          I can easily go over 12,000 views in a day. That’s just on a normal day. On any given day, I can have a story go viral and soar past 50,000 or even 100,000 views a day.

          It’s very unpredictable.


        • Carlos_Miller

          And here is a PDF report from last month. Don’t know if that is what you’re looking for, but that is what Amazon states cost more than 200 dollars. They have other reports available that are broken down in much smaller dollar increments.


          • http://www.facebook.com/shawnkhall Shawn K. Hall

            It looks like you’re storing many copies of your site in EBS images. Stop doing that. Use a third party platform to backup your stuff (like Dropbox) and remove any archived images except the very very most recent. I had another client recently using AWS but was keeping 12 copies of all their hosting environment image and 4 copies of their database images. They had 30,000x more traffic than you, and were paying about $1,100/mo – and it was *still* 5x more than they would have been with AWS had they had it setup right.

            Also, since you don’t use the varying image sizes that WP creates, you can reduce that to only 1 image and customize the width to be in line with your theme. This will reduce your storage requirements significantly.

            And if you’re not using it already, consider using CloudFlare for broader distribution and minimized resource consumption. This will drop your costs a *lot*.

            Contact me directly if you want any help with this.

          • Bill Larson

            Cloudflare is the worst thing you can use. I used it with a high traffic site and had nothing but grief over it. Users unable to access the site, undisclosed throttling etc.

          • dvanrood

            i assure you the costs are not because of the 10 cent a gig 8 gig EBS root volumes. Oh and we’re not storing images on the front ends. We already use two CDNs. Cloudflare is crap.

  • http://www.hisnameistimmy.com Tim in SF

    I think you should move to NationBuilder. It’s a CRM as well as a CMS. It would be great for outreach and alerting people to incidents taking place in their local area.

    Maybe you could keep your blog on a different server?

  • rick

    How much data in Gb is being viewed, or moved per month?

    • Carlos_Miller

      That’s definitely a question Dave needs to answer as I have no clue.

    • dvanrood

      No idea. I don’t have access to billing info but i can fix that. Bandwidth is ~12¢ a gig outbound, the db server pushes 70mbit because thats what wordpress dbs do. The front ends handle ~2-5mbit average round the clock, and that’s after two large caching layers. Nfs server should be defunct but isn’t due to programmer issues. Nfs server is mostly idle because all php sits in memory with wordpress. It’s tiny. Nfs also handles carlos posting from whatever appserver he hits.

      This is wordpress on over a quarter million hits a month every month. I run two sites with those stats for under 300, and carlos’ suffers more because of increased media and rss/comments making pages uncacheable.

      But by all means, gogator it up.

      • dvanrood

        Carlos’ site does 8-20 mbit around the clock plus whatever the cdn handles, is what I meant. There are 4-10 frontends depending on load.

  • Bill Larson

    1. Why the hell are you using AWS… Check out one of the many hosting companies such as http://www.web.com/hosting/unix.aspx or Godaddy.

    2. While I love your site, you are not getting that much traffic on here, and you should be able to handle many time that number of visitors without even blinking hard especially using AWS, and that’s without any caching servers… I am doing much more traffic using just one server.

    3. Your database should not be doing 70mbps, nor should you be doing a steady 2-8mpbs with the traffic level you specified. It’s not the number of hits either as I am doing 16 million hits a month

    I have been a network administrator professionally since 1995, and have experience running some fairly hefty sites. One has a forum with over 11,000 members and almost 1,000,000 posts. The database by it’s self is 1.9 gigs. The other is a wordpress installation 20,000 articles, 20gb of photos, and 160gb+ per month in data transfer.

    If you need tech help figuring out what’s going on, you or your server guy can give me a call 931-249-0043 I will help you out gratis.

  • Phred

    I have experienced none of these issues in the last few days, but I have in the past. Mostly slow page loading.

  • Guest

    You should ditch paid hosting and just use Blogger.com or WordPress.com.

  • rick

    Charts and pricing info:

    Probably a per hour rate that is running wild somewhere in there.

  • John

    Not sure what your concerns are with Google AdSense… you aren’t left with a “fraction” of what the advertiser pays Google. You actually get a substantial majority of it. Most websites with deep content like yours make pretty good money off AdSense. And you do have a great deal of control over what is shown through the use of a blocklist. Give it a try.