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What are some ways to speed up my forum?

ShadowdareShadowdare π Moderator
edited November 2011 in Questions
I've recently changed hosts but now my Vanilla forum seems slower than usual. The new host has a lower ping than my last one. What are some ways I can speed it up? This is the link to my forum.
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  • 422422 Developer MVP
    Loads in about six seconds here in oz.

    On ipad so cant inpect src code.

    Usually img sizes and multiple servr requests from scripts etc cn slow it down, using cdn for jquery cn hlp, along with minifying css and js files.

    422 Real Estate Australia , now open Check it out

  • TimTim Lord of Servers Vanilla Staff
    The forum code itself is loading in about 2 - 2.5 seconds. This is pretty slow, and could be faster if:

    1) Your host gave you more CPU
    2) You used a memcached server (probably not an option with cheap shared hosting)

    As 422 said, static resources can slow down the perceived loading time as well. Factoring in browser caching, the overall page load time seems to be about 4 seconds, with the HTML taking up more than half of that. It seems like your server is just slow, even on static files. Look into better hosting.

    Vanilla Forums Senior Developer [GitHub, Twitter, About.me]

  • TimTim Lord of Servers Vanilla Staff
    Or host with us :)

    Vanilla Forums Senior Developer [GitHub, Twitter, About.me]

    DanielSchulzJackson
  • ShadowdareShadowdare π Moderator
    edited November 2011
    I found out what the problem was. My new host has a different PHP interpreter so I had to chmod my cache folders. Now it's loading much faster. Thanks though.

    And I have another problem. With the update to 2.0.18.1 (I was running RC2) I can't get to the /utility/update/ page without it saying bonk.
    mysql_free_result() expects parameter 1 to be resource, boolean given

    When I enable debug and view a discussion, I see a box with error messages on the top left (which gets cut off), but here there is no bonk page.
  • 422422 Developer MVP
    Have you also chmodded othr folders as per upgrade instructions.

    422 Real Estate Australia , now open Check it out

  • ToddTodd Chief Product Officer Vanilla Staff
    We don't use mysql_free_result() in Vanilla.
  • ShadowdareShadowdare π Moderator
    I believe it is because I use the PHPPDO layer because it says the error is coming from one of the files from the PHPPDO folder. I'll speak with my host to see if he'll install the PDO extension.
  • @Tim

    Or host with us :)

    Care to briefly extoll the virtues of your hosting packages? It's kind of like WordPress.com, right? Where we don't have FTP access, but everything is sort of taken over and made to run smoothly by the "powers that be"?

  • TimTim Lord of Servers Vanilla Staff
    edited May 2012

    @DanielSchulzJackson That's the idea. We have spent a great deal of time tweaking both Vanilla and our hardware and software infrastructure to ensure that it is fast. Everything from memory caching, to CDNs, to ensuring that the available plugins are well coded. You'd be surprised at how big of a performance impact even 1 badly coded plugin can have.

    Vanilla Forums Senior Developer [GitHub, Twitter, About.me]

  • TimTim Lord of Servers Vanilla Staff

    Here's a more in-depth explanation of how we handle hosting:

    Load Balancing

    Our forums reside on custom built hosting clusters containing many servers, not just one. This allows us to efficiently scale our resources based on the load our forum exerts. Each cluster starts with two loadbalancers. Only one is used at a time, while the other one monitors the first in real time, ready to take over in case of a failure of any kind. This is called "Hot Failover", and it helps keep our forums running even when something goes wrong.

    Dedicated Resources

    When the active loadbalancer receives a request, it forwards it to one of the cluster's web nodes. There are always at least 2 nodes in any cluster, and the loadbalancers monitor them in real time so that if any of them go down they are immediately removed from the pool and their requests are redirected to other nodes. This is far superior to a single dedicated server because it allows our traffic (and hardware risk) to be spread over many different systems and benefit from the resulting structural resilience. As our forum grows, we add additional web nodes to compensate for the extra traffic. This is done seamlessly without requiring downtime or hardware changes. Again, far superior to hosting on a single dedicated server.

    Monitoring

    We have an advanced monitoring system custom built for Vanilla Forums that keeps track of each server within each cluster. This allows us to react extremely quickly when things go wrong, and to compensate for changes in traffic within minutes. The monitoring system continuously evaluates the 'health' of each cluster and recommends changes to the configuration (adding, removing servers) depending on current load and trends.

    Vanilla Forums Senior Developer [GitHub, Twitter, About.me]

    422UnderDog
  • ShadowdareShadowdare π Moderator

    I don't use Vanilla's hosting options myself, but I've heard great feedback from the people who use the Vanilla servers, such as phenomenal up-time, speed, and support.

    UnderDogAolee
  • 422422 Developer MVP

    Great answer Tim,

    I didnt see any info about firewall ?

    Nice to see you back too,

    422 Real Estate Australia , now open Check it out

    UnderDog
  • TimTim Lord of Servers Vanilla Staff
    edited May 2012

    @422 Obviously all the systems are heavily firewalled to prevent unauthorized access. Additionally, software acting as a service daemon (like mysql, memcached, etc) are all configured to accept connections only from within the Vanilla network.

    But @DanielSchulzJackson was only asking about speed, so I didn't include that information.

    Vanilla Forums Senior Developer [GitHub, Twitter, About.me]

    422UnderDog
  • firewall would be a speed impediment, but a necessary one :)

    Monetary Donations will be appreciated if you use my plugins. Thanks in Advance.
    As a waiter gets a tip for a good meal, tips for successful solutions appreciated as well. Peregrine

    422UnderDog
  • 422422 Developer MVP

    Cheers, i was eeking out the virtues of going hosted with you guys. As its often the question most noobs never ask.

    422 Real Estate Australia , now open Check it out

    UnderDog
  • edited August 2012

    Thanks for all the input, Lord Of Servers etc!

    Guilty confession - I'm a customization fiend. I understand that's the key limitation of the hosted options, just as it is with most instances of wordpress.com service.

    Example: Our site is very pinterest-oriented. Lots of young moms learning how to parent. So I want fileupload with pinterest-dimensions output, and 2 different "pin it" buttons, along with facebook "like" and nothing else.

    Tough to do that on hosted, no?

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