Field of Science

Good problems to have will be experiencing periodic outages as we upgrade* the server. The incredible response we've had for WhichEnglish has completely overwhelmed the server. After bringing it back from the dead multiple times, the techs at Datarealm convinced me to upgrade to the next tier of server.

This is possibly overkill, in that we don't normally get the kind of traffic we got today. Over 12% of *all* visitors to the website since Jan. 1, 2008, came in the last 24 hours! Still, traffic has been steadily rising over the last year, and large spikes are getting much more frequent.

Worst case scenario, this should result in a faster, more stable experience for people going forward.

*Upgrading while there is heavy traffic to your website is not ideal. But then neither is having the site crash constantly.


After my optimistic comments about "overkill", I've spent most of the last 5 days performing various upgrades to the server. Traffic to the site peaked at about 100,000 visits/day (it was a little lower Sunday, but then weekend traffic is usually down).

There was a lot I could do to shrink page-load time (compressing images, minimizing javascript files, etc.). But the biggest issues were with sending data to and from the database. Here, I did some work to optimize and cut down the number of calls to the database, but the real heroes are the folks at Datarealm, who -- based on the amount of time they've put into helping me with the site over the last week -- have definitely lost money on having me as a client. If you are looking for someone to host your website, I warmly recommend them.

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