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MAJOR Problems -- any suggestions?

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  • MAJOR Problems -- any suggestions?

    4 days ago my web site started to get 403 error pages. Hosting tech support said it was because the .htaccess file had a deny line with the web site IP address, which I suppose means that the web site isn't allowed to access itself. I didn't edit .htaccess so I assume either the hosting service did it, or a hacker. So I changed my passwords.

    Then, the web site started running VERY slowly, more & more over the next 2 days, with lots of 500 error pages. The cPanel error log has tons of these:

    SoftException in Application.cpp:690: Could not execute script "/home3/moreland/public_html/forums/forumdisplay.php", referer:

    An Internet search largely suggests forum permissions are messed up, but they all seem OK. Hosting tech support suggested optimizing my site. I did as much as I could (per GTmetrix) but no improvement.

    So, on the assumption that maybe the server hard drive was failing, I renamed my 'forums' directory to 'forums_old' and re-loaded all the vBulletin software. The forums display, but there is no "Post New Thread" button, so new threads cannot be created. Existing threads have a "Reply to Thread" button which, when clicked, brings up the editor and I can type in a response. But when I click "Post Quick Reply" it asks if I'm sure I want to leave the page, it then gives me a blank page, and the reply is not saved. And, as a bonus, the forum is still crawling.

    vBulletin 4.2.5
    PHP 5.6 (per cPanel)

    1. Yes, I have checked posting permissions. Both admin and regular members are getting the same problems.
    2. When I renamed 'forums' to 'forums_old' such that there was absolutely no access to vBulletin, the rest of my web site started running normally, with no signs of slowness.
    3. Tech Support was virtually no help, they kept saying I need to 'optimize' my web site. They did say there were a lot of processes running and emailed me a list (apparently cPanel has no way to view these) and they were largely forumdisplay.php.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

  • #2
    These are hosting issues. The only people who can solve them are your hosts.

    vBulletin 4 runs on many thousands of sites worldwide without issue, so telling you to 'optimise your site' is a load of rubbish.

    If this is the best they can do, then you need a new host. Basically it sounds like they have oversold your shared server and want to push you off or upsell you because you use to many of its resources.

    TalkNewsUK - My vBulletin 5.6.3 Demo
    AdminAmmo - My Cloud Demo


    • #3
      For the issues with speed and errors, I tend to agree. But the missing "New Thread" button and the weirdness with replies doesn't seem to be a hosting issue.

      Addendum... however, when vBulletin is completely removed (not just "turned off") the speed problem completely disappears. My forum doesn't have high usage, maybe 20 users at any given time. So I can't imagine that my web site puts much load on the server.
      Last edited by Carl-NC; Sat 24 Aug '19, 12:39pm.


      • #4
        Have you tried replacing the .htaccess file with the default one that comes with the download package?

        If you try this be sure to backup the one you have before you overwrite it.


        • #5
          Buttons not appearing can very easily be a server issue. It's certainly not a bug in vBulletin.

          For that, you should use the Right Click > Inspect function in Chrome or Firefox and see if you can find out what is happening. You can also try finding the URL to the image and loading that directly in the browser.

          You might find that your site is being attacked by 'bots' of some sort. You should be able to see these in Who's Online.

          However, I would still say that any host who can only respond with 'optimise your site' should be ditched and a better host found.

          TalkNewsUK - My vBulletin 5.6.3 Demo
          AdminAmmo - My Cloud Demo


          • #6
            Originally posted by In Omnibus View Post
            Have you tried replacing the .htaccess file with the default one that comes with the download package?
            Is this the one in do_not_upload/rewrite/apache2? I have not, but will give it a try.

            Meanwhile, I disabled my plug-ins (I had done this before re-installing vBulletin, but not after) and now all buttons appear and I can post again. The culprit for this appears to be Spam-o-Matic. Speed issues and recurring error log messages are TBD.

            Mark, this is HostGator which I've been with for some 10yrs and I gotta say, until now, have had remarkably little trouble with. I agree, their support on this issue has sucked, but I wonder if I would get anything better elsewhere on a similar cheap shared plan.

            In any case, I'll look into a bot attack. That was my first inclination when things started going south.

            Appreciate the responses!


            • #7
              Make sure that you are still using PHP 5.6. See this link:

              Though to be honest, I am surprised that Hostgator would allow that on their servers anymore. It isn't considered secure anymore and is no longer receiving patches. You should be using PHP 7.1 as a minimum these days. Even PHP 7.1 will be obsolete in December.

              Since it started happening 4 days ago, it would be useful to know what happened on the server at that time. Hosting providers can and will update the software on their servers to make sure that the servers are secure. When using old software like vBulletin 4.2.5, this can cause issues. Especially if you have older plugins from third-party developers. Upgrading to vBulletin 5.5.3 would allow you to run the latest server software without issue. Most of what Spam-O-Matic offered in vBulletin 4.X is available natively in vBulletin 5.5.3.
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              Wayne Luke
              The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud demonstration site.
              vBulletin 5 API - Full / Mobile
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