If fmsadmin restart fmse fixed the issue, then it sounds like degraded reliability in their server. Is it shared hosting? If so possible an increase in the amount of Perform Script on Server or scheduled scripts could be to blame.
Unfortunately without access to the server console and logging, you won't have much luck trying to troubleshoot it on your own.
You can make sure that at least for all of your files:
-Every "perform script on server" script contains an "exit script" script step.
and if possible:
-scheduled scripts have a time limit with the checkmark for aborting if the time limit is reached.
Thanks for this. It actually seems that restarting the fmse didn't fix the issue, but simply that one of the 'good' periods happened to follow the restart. I've learned subsequently that this would, in any case, only affect scripts run via 'Perform script on server', which I'm not using, nor am I using any scheduled scripts.
But I remain fairly convinced that this is a problem with the server, given that it affects not only the live version of the application, but also a test version on the same server - during the 'good' periods, both work fine, whereas during the 'bad' times, both are unusable.
In answer to your other question, yes this is a shared hosting deal. I've asked if others have reported similar issues, but they say not.
Thanks again for your input.
Well, after a day of the application being unusable, the hosting people re-started the server on which it sits. Since then, all has been well. To my mind, this strengthens the opinion that there's an issue with that server, although from here I have no idea what - I have neither the access to the server, nor the expertise!
I just hope it doesn't happen again...
IMHO, it depends on what caused it in the first place. I suspect they added a client that is resource hogging on the server causing services to eventually hang. FMS was never designed to do resource allocation to multiple files, so you're at the mercy of the other people on your shared host.
You could try asking the host how long it had been since they last rebooted the server. That may give you an idea of what kind of consistency you can expect going forward (EG if they hadn't restarted it in a year prior to yesterday, then maybe it will be fine for a while longer).
Thanks again Mike. The company has come back with this:
"I'm not sure anything can be done to prevent reoccurrence. FileMaker Server is a software product with bugs, much like all software. But at least we know that restarting the server seems to resolve the issue for long periods of time."
He then goes on to suggest that we could try the dedicated hosting service, which I assume to be more expensive, which you could interpret as "sorry, the thing you pay for might not work, why don't you pay more for it, then it might?".
Or am I being unnecessarily cynical? I guess the dedicated hosting service is likely to give better performance, as well as better reliability. Maybe I should give it a go.
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Unfortunately, it's a risk you take from using shared hosting. We had been moving clients away from it long before the FM15 EULA changes because we were running into similar issues. FMS does not offer a suite of tools for shared hosting companies to manage multiple clients (primarily resource division and load balancing), so you're at the mercy of the heaviest user or weakest link.
I was chatting with one of the hosting companies at devcon last year about how insecure their servers were, and proceeded to demonstrate about how easy it would be to take down about 50% of their shared servers in under an hour. People can bash FM for making the EULA change to single server = single client, but I actually don't have a problem with it.
As for your case, you will most likely see a performance boost, yes, but it will come with the added cost for dedicated resources. And with dedicated hardware, you could probably get admin control, and be able to write scheduled tasks for things like auto-reboots once per month, and restarting FM services every week or so.