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View Full Version : An explanation about the board speed, downtime, etc. from our host



Boss-Hog
11-20-2002, 12:04 AM
Here's a series of emails between our host and I regarding the problems the board's had recently:

"Hello,

I've been a client of yours for some time now....you guys host
redszone.com for me. When the site's up, the load time is quick and we have little complaints about the site's speed. However, the site goes down all the time....I don't know if it's a result of traffic or what but throughout the day, there are "outages" where the site is totally acceptable. Right now (8:15 EST) is one of those times. Can you please let me know what the problem is so that we can have it corrected? If it's a result of traffic, I'd be willing to listen to paying more if that will correct the problem. Thanks."

Their response:

"I saw this come through yesterday but was able to pull the site up during this time from my home connection. Checked the monitoring servers also and do not show the site was down.. Can verify this by sending you traffic excerts from the logs for this period in question.

As far as site performance, the best think we can recommend is that you move the site to a private server. You are gonna want to do this anyway soon as the legacy platform you are on is going away and any shared sites will be monitored for resource over usage and bandwidth metered billing will be in place. We already know your site uses ALOT of resources
and bandwidth guys, we have seen your site alone crash that server you are on from pure resources being used. Moving to a private server is the only real solution in the long term for your site. To be honest I have been told more then once that your site cost us more to host then we make by the system admins, upgrading to a private server would get the site into a more reasonable billing status for resources used."

My response:

"A few questions...
1). How much would it cost to move to a private server?
2). This would involve creating a mirror of the current site and then setting that back up on the new server, correct?
Thanks."

Finally, their latest response:

"Your monthly fee would be 79.95 and yes we would give you plenty of time for migration before moving the DNS entry"

Well, I'm not sure what our options are but I can tell you that paying $80 a month is not one of them. To anyone out that who's web saavy: we can find a better deal than this, can't we? It looks like we will eventually have to switch hosts - anyone have suggestions for hosting that can handle this (http://www.redszone.com/stats) amount of traffic but doesn't cost an arm and a leg? Thanks for your help.

Boss

Aceking
11-20-2002, 11:27 AM
Boss:

Can you tell me what you're getting for what you're paying now?

In other words, how much hard drive space, and more specifically, how much bandwidth you are allotted?

I may be able to find a cheaper plan for you. I have a lot of experience dealing with hosting companies.

Unfortunately, there may be little else you can do. This site just flat out gets TOO MUCH TRAFFIC for it's own good. I'm amazed your hosting company has been as patient with you as it has. It sounds like soon they are going to start charging you for overages, and that could cost you much more than $80 per month.

GIK
11-20-2002, 12:31 PM
Basically...this is what we have:

$19.95 per month

200MB server space
20GB monthly transfer

Aceking
11-20-2002, 12:37 PM
WOW! You guys are burning up 20GB monthly transfer! I knew this sit was busy, but that is freakin crazy!

You guys are actually getting a really good deal at the moment. $20 for 20GB of transfer is really really good.

I'll look around, but it's gonna ge hard to find something cheaper that gives you more than 20GB a month.

TeamCasey
11-20-2002, 12:41 PM
I don't know much about this kind of stuff.

Would restricting the number of pages or the age of topics help?

Not much you can do to reduce traffic, but you can reduce stored material.

(If it will help, please kill and delete UnderDunn's word association thread in non-baseball chatter. It was fun and silly and a time killer before the start of games. UnderDunn didn't anticipate that it would take on such a life of it's own. UnderDunn is an idiot! ) ;)

GIK
11-20-2002, 12:42 PM
Our host does have an option to upgrade to 30GB for $34.95/mo. That might be an option as well.

Keep any info/advice coming! :thumbup:

Aceking
11-20-2002, 12:46 PM
TC:

When they upgraded to the database driven board instead of the old PERL script version, it greatly improved the board speed. I don't think that the word association thread is killing too much, because it only queries the database for it when it is called. Even then, it only calls the page you're looking at.

Small stopgap solutions could be lowering the amount of topics displayed on the front page and to a lesser degree the number of posts per page when you click on a thread.

GIK, do you have any way of finding out how much bandwidth you are actually using on an average month?

GIK
11-20-2002, 12:48 PM
http://www.redszone.com/stats

Aceking
11-20-2002, 12:56 PM
To be honest, your visitor sessions are not as high as I expected. But, you are chewing through a ton of bandwidth. Not so much now, but in the season you were consistantly shattering (almost doubling) your bandwidth allotment. In July you topped out at just under 35 GB.

Now though, according to your stats, you should be fine. If I were you, I'd try scaling back the number of topics displayed on the front Reds front page. Also, consider dropping the number of posts displayed on a page in a thread.

Then, watch your daily stats page specifically the KBytes column:

http://redszone.com/stats/usage_200211.html#DAYSTATS

If you notice a significant drop, that might get you through the offseason. When the season starts up, you should definitely lean towards getting 35GB of transfer. Especially if they are going to start charging you for overages. I guarantee you the difference between 20 and 35 will be a lot more than $15 a month.

But, it looks like according to your stats, you haven't busted your monthly 20GB limit since August. If you are still having problems, it makes me wonder if your host just cant handle the bandwidth they are giving you. Switching hosting companies could always be an option.

Redsland
11-20-2002, 01:04 PM
Yeah, we're outside my area of expertise here, but it looks the server hasn't had to work as hard since the spike in July. From July to August, some key stats immediately dropped about 30%. IIRC, this coincides with the reprogramming of the site (or whatever you did) after the site crashed. I seem to recall that this happened at the same time as the Branyon trade (approx. late July??). So anyway, things look much better now than they did before, stat-wise.

Boss-Hog
11-20-2002, 01:06 PM
Thanks for the help guys.

I changed the number of threads to display on each forum page from 50 to 35. I also dropped the maximum number of posts per page from 40 to 30. Hopefully this will help out some.

Boss

Aceking
11-20-2002, 01:14 PM
Also, and this may be a small cut in bandwidth, but you might want to consider a new logo.

The one you have now is almost 50kb. I know that isn't all that big, but consider that it is on every page of your site. So evertime anyone looks at anything on your site that's 50kb just for the logo at the top. The logo in the top right of my site is only 16kb.

But on an average month, you gould serve as much as a 1GB or more just pushing through your logo.

Pretty crazy, eh?

I could try and optimize it a little in photoshop for you to bring the file size down if you like.

Boss-Hog
11-20-2002, 01:20 PM
Sounds good to me...I never even considered that. If anyone's good with graphics and wants to design a new logo that's smaller in file size (not necessarily dimensions, just the file size), go ahead :D

Thanks again for your help, Ace...it's much appreciated.

Boss


Originally posted by Aceking
Also, and this may be a small cut in bandwidth, but you might want to consider a new logo.

The one you have now is almost 50kb. I know that isn't all that big, but consider that it is on every page of your site. So evertime anyone looks at anything on your site that's 50kb just for the logo at the top. The logo in the top right of my site is only 16kb.

But on an average month, you gould serve as much as a 1GB or more just pushing through your logo.

Pretty crazy, eh?

I could try and optimize it a little in photoshop for you to bring the file size down if you like.

westofyou
11-20-2002, 01:23 PM
Boss, I'll send you a logo to try.

SandyD
11-20-2002, 01:48 PM
If we individually reduce the number of posts per page and/or the age of the posts (only those for the past 5-10 days as opposed to 30), would that help?

Not suggesting we all do that ... only if it's convenient. If you check the board nearly every day, do you need to call up posts for the past 30 days every time you log in? If you only read the board 2-3 times a month, by all means leave it at 30.

Also, is it better to get in and out 2-3 times in a session, or to remain logged in and minimize the board for the duration of the session? Is loading the primary drain on resources?

These may be silly questions, but perhaps if each of us could save a little, it'll add up to a lot.

And we'd all be better citizens. All we need is a flag and a pledge. ;)

GIK
11-20-2002, 02:23 PM
Originally posted by Aceking
Also, and this may be a small cut in bandwidth, but you might want to consider a new logo.

Good call, Ace.


Originally posted by westofyou
Boss, I'll send you a logo to try.

Looking forward to it, WoY.


Thanks, guys!
:beerme:

Aceking
11-20-2002, 02:52 PM
What bogs down a database driven web site are 2 things:

1. # of connections to the database-

This makes sense, the more people on the board, the more times it is connecting, the more time it takes up. If you are logged in or logged out it really doesn't matter.

2. amount of data being called from the database

So, to answer your question SandyD, if you were to reduce the amount of days worth of posts you look at, it COULD theoretically reduce the bandwidth. That is less data that needs to be pulled every time you look at the front page. If enough people that visit the site repeatedly throughout the day did this, it could make a difference.

Aceking
11-20-2002, 02:54 PM
Oh and a logo suggestion...

You might want to lose the reds logo. Wouldn't want MLB coming after you! :D

TeamCasey
11-20-2002, 03:37 PM
If the Reds never made a trade again, we might be in good shape. ;)

TeamSelig
11-20-2002, 06:02 PM
1. # of connections to the database-

This makes sense, the more people on the board, the more times it is connecting, the more time it takes up. If you are logged in or logged out it really doesn't matter.


Why not make it to where if you don't post in so many weeks/months/whatever then you are deleted from the site

That way it doesn't take up space for people who sign up and then don't come back

Aceking
11-20-2002, 06:05 PM
Whether they're a member or not really doesn't matter. Guests connect to the database the same way as members.

It's not # of members so much as # of computers looking at the site at the same time.

TeamSelig
11-20-2002, 06:13 PM
Ohhh gotcha

then make it a members only board and do what I said earlier.. can't think of many flaws about that off the top of my head

Aceking
11-20-2002, 06:47 PM
That would cause some inconveniences to members (for example, if you go to another computer and can't remember your password, you can't access the site). Plus it may discourage new memberships as they can't see what the board is all about......


that said, it would definitely fix the problem (in the short term). Right now there are 17 members looking at the board and 15 guests

TRF
11-20-2002, 11:12 PM
Boss, does your message board allow for multiple logos? If so, on subtopic, topic ,reply pages you could use a smaller logo. Soot for 15k. Optimally the whole page shouldn't be more than 55k (JMO) I try to keep mine at 30k, but i have to deal with students and crappy dialup connections.

Ace is dead on about the connections to the db. However the connections are in bursts. I think. I connect, get the data, connection closed. In this case, I think the connection to the db could be tied up by users with slow connections. I might be wrong about this though.

Ace, we should talk some time. I've been a webmaster for a while, but don't really know any others that do the job.

Aceking
11-21-2002, 12:09 AM
TRF:

Send me a PM or an e-mail to aceking@one.net

GAC
11-21-2002, 07:21 AM
I understand that the cost for a private server is high (around $1,000/yr). But have you thought of putting it out there to the members and see what they think about it? This forum has grown in leaps and bounds, and it's obvious that we've outgrown this server.

It would only take a modest investment from each of us to really cover that cost. The vast majority of people on this forum have been very generous when it's needed.

IMHO, if it cost me $25/yr (and I'm not saying everyone has to put in that much....some may only afford less, while others more), then it's well worth what I get from this forum, and the services you guys provide.

Put some "feelers" out

TRF
11-21-2002, 10:14 AM
Thanks Ace. GAC's suggestion has merit, and i'll take it a step further. Buy a firewall, and build your own server. total cost might be 3-4 grand. The money could easily be raised from either members or a financial backer. Then all you need to pay for is an internet connection.

of course i'm a control freak, anl love having total access to my servers.

TeamDunn
11-21-2002, 10:49 AM
EzBoard has made lots of updates to their msg boards. They have boards out there with nearly 15,000 members and they run just fine.

If cost is an issue, if most people can pay the $12 to be an EzSupporter for a year then their page views will not count towards the daily views for the board, thus making the cost go down.

They seem to have done some nice changes over there and it is very user friendly.

And the first 6 months would only be $30 if it is paid BEFORE the board is opened to *the public* :)

Just a thought.

Good Luck...I'm sure if you decided to stay here and go with an upgrade that the members would make sure the cost is covered.

TeamCasey
11-21-2002, 11:21 AM
Originally posted by GAC
I understand that the cost for a private server is high (around $1,000/yr). But have you thought of putting it out there to the members and see what they think about it? This forum has grown in leaps and bounds, and it's obvious that we've outgrown this server.

It would only take a modest investment from each of us to really cover that cost. The vast majority of people on this forum have been very generous when it's needed.

IMHO, if it cost me $25/yr (and I'm not saying everyone has to put in that much....some may only afford less, while others more), then it's well worth what I get from this forum, and the services you guys provide.

Put some "feelers" out

I think your timing would be wrong, since the hat was passed not too long ago. I wouldn't try fund-raising until baseball season. You have more users. You'd get a better response.

GIK
11-21-2002, 11:34 AM
I really don't want to ask for funding from you all at this time. We should be fine for a few more months (especially in the offseason with reduced traffic). Thanks for the thought, though, GAC! :thumbup:

GAC
11-21-2002, 01:08 PM
No problem. It just may be something we may want to look at just prior to the new season.

I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to website formats, the amount of hard drive space it takes, servers, etc.

Some of you know that I'm an avid Browns fan (no booing or hissing please :evilgrin: ).

But I am thoroughly impressed with the way that forum is set up and it's format. And they have a huge member base also.

You ought to take a peek at this forum and the way it's set up. It also uses the UBB threads, which is what we use isn't it?

Set your biases aside for just a few, and take a peek. If nothing else, I could probably find out what server they are using.


http://dawgtalk.clevelandbrowns.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?Cat=

buckeyenut
11-26-2002, 02:27 PM
If you are looking for other sites to get tips from, be sure to check out the best fan run sports site on the web, IMO, one mentioned several times by ESPN.
http://www.clutchcity.net/

It is for the Houston Rockets, but they have 8600 registered members on their board and do it up right. They might have tips for you as they have experienced the growing pains you are.

They also run something called a TipJar where people can donate money year around http://www.clutchcity.net/tipjar.cfm and there have several times been bets on the board with the proceeds going to the tipjar. For example, one member bet that Yao Ming would start the season as the Rockets center. So I thought Yao would sit the bench, I could donate 5$ to the tip jar, which he would match. And if I won, I would get a Just Shut Up I could use on him anytime where he would not post for an entire day (his norm was prolly 50 posts a day or so).

Just a couple of thoughts for you, use them however you like. But as a sports fan website admin, I would recommend you drop clutch an email and talk to him a little.