Back, on a New Server

Better service, less money.

One of the things that has bothered me for some time now is the slow response time of this blog. It just didn’t seem to load as fast as it should.

I knew it wasn’t my connection — I have wicked fast Internet here, as I’ve reported (i.e., bragged about) elsewhere. It was definitely the server.

In the past, every time I’d call to complain or look for a fix, I’d been told it was because I was sharing a server with 20,000, 50,000, or 80,000 — it depended who I spoke to — other websites. That’s because I had a cheap plan. I don’t make money with this blog and I can’t really justify spending a lot of money to maintain it. Recommendations often include using a caching system, but although I’ve tried that several times I haven’t ever seen an improvement. I’ve also turned off a lot of the plugins I used to use, hoping to speed up performance that way. I never see a difference.

I called again yesterday and spoke to someone else. (He was a “sharing with 50,000 websites” guy.) He recommended a different service. When I asked what it was and what it cost, it turned out to be a better shared system — it had the word “cloud” in its name, so it must be better, right? — for less money than I was paying. Switching was a no brainer. He could do it for me with no effort on my part.

I asked how long the site would be down. A few hours, he told me. I asked him to schedule it for the middle of the night. He agreed he would. I thanked him and we hung up.

This morning, when I checked my site at about 7:30 AM, it was down. I was not a happy camper. Another phone call, another person. I was on hold a long time. I’ve learned to keep that time productive by putting my phone in speaker mode and carrying it around in my shirt pocket until the person comes back. I washed some dishes, made a second cup of coffee, and folded laundry. She returned and said that she’d spoken to the migration people and they’d told her that they’d been doing a lot of migrations that weekend — an obvious bullshit line they feed people in my situation. There was no problem with my site. It was just taking longer than expected.

I suspected that it was either queued up improperly or the sheer size of the site was giving the migration software/people grief. This site currently has 2,375 blog posts, well over 8,000 comments, and at least 4,000 images. The database alone occupies nearly 29 MB of server space; the other files that go with it occupy another gigabyte.

I told her I’d call again if it wasn’t back up by noon. Then I thanked her and hung up.

I got to work doing other things. I’m packing for a trip and today’s challenge was getting my kayak on top of my truck camper, the Turtleback. It was actually a lot easier than I expected to get it up there — using my truck as a lifting platform — but it took a while to fasten it down in a way that I wouldn’t have to worry about scratching the camper’s rubber-coated roof. (The last thing I wanted was a leaky roof.) By the time I was finished at 11:30, the only thing I wanted was a snack and a nap. (Seriously: when the days get short, all I want to do is sleep. That’s one reason I head south in the winter.)

So I treated myself to both.

When I got up around 2:30 PM and checked the site, it was back up. And it loaded so quickly that, for a moment, I suspected that it was loading a version cached in my browser. So I loaded a different page. That came right up, too.

Anyway, judging from the stats bar graph, which shows hourly activity for the past 48 hours, it looks as if the site was down from around 6 AM to 11 AM. Not exactly starting at midnight per my request. Whatever.

Curious about my results, I loaded pingdom.com, a service that can check a Website’s speed. Although my speed was noticeably faster, I didn’t get a very good “grade.” I can only imagine what my grade must have been before the change.

Speed Test Results
Okay, so my Home page was graded D, mostly because of under-the-hood issues I could probably fix by making changes to plugins, etc. Again. Looks like a spring cleaning project to me.

Still, I’m not complaining anymore — at least for a while. It’s faster and cheaper.

And I’m happier, despite today’s downtime.

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