Slow Pageloads Presently

Hello all,

    I'm aware that DearDiary (and Hamipiks) page loads are very slow at the moment. Unfortunately the new server has less bandwidth allocation than the previous one, and when it reaches its limit it is slowed down. Under normal circumstances it won't reach its limit, but this month it has for a couple of reasons;

Downloading from the previous server meant gigabytes of data needed to move into the new server. There's nearly 2 gigabytes of TEXT data in the DearDiary entries database, and that's not including any diary images. Hamipiks contains over 7 Gigabytes of images. Not huge by Flickr or YouTube standards but of course for us it's pretty big :-)

The second reason it won't normally happen is that because the server was introduced half way through the month, the bandwidth allowance has been unfortunately stretched over 45 days instead of 30 days. Consequently there's been longer to use the amount.

The good news is that the rollover date for the allocation restarting is June 25 – 3 days away, when speed should return to normal again.

Hamipiks coming back online

Hi again,

   Wow, so many updates in so short a time. Hamipiks is now relocated and as the DNS catches up should come back online for everyone. This may take up to a day or so. Be aware that if Hamipiks comes back for you, it may not have come back for everyone else yet, so if you upload and reference a new picture, it may not show for everyone until the whole DNS has caught up.

I've also introduced (or rather, fixed!) the Last-Modified headers on Hamipiks, so thumbnails should load incredibly faster now if you've already loaded them once. The same should be true for the pictures themselves, however I've noticed that my browser (Firefox) doesn't cache the larger pictures and so it has to fetch the larger ones each time. Personally I think it's a Firefox bug but anyway.

As always, let me know how you go!


Advances To Server Headers

I've fixed up the server headers so that the 'newest entry' link and reader comments now take into account the latest dates that changes were made. This should improve things a fair bit, and yes, Salamander, that's exactly right – the server would have been sending back a 'Not Modified' header which indicates to your browser that it's OK for it to take it's cached version. So the system knew you had 9 comments, but because it told the browser nothing had changed the browser only showed you the 8. Hope that sort of makes sense :-)

This is a 'performance' enhancement, because most of the spiders that try to grab the DearDiary pages for their indexes (Google and MSN/Bing being the largest) will send the 'If-Modified-Since' header. Given that there's over 1 million entries, and probably 98% of them haven't changed in 10 years, it seems silly to send the full page back to the spiders every time they visit. Instead, now the system says 'yeah, its still here, but it hasn't changed since you last grabbed it'. Which saves HEAPS of bandwidth, and processor power, and allows users to use that bandwidth instead of spiders.


Note To Self

I also need to make sure that when comments are being viewed, to take into account the latest dated reader comment – otherwise newer comments don't get shown..