Slow to load

The forum has always felt very slow to load.

I have it saved as a favourite and have been timing it from my click to the forum home page actually appearing. It’s averaging 10 seconds which is unaccountably long. No other site I use regularly takes anywhere near this time. For example, Chowhound is about 3 seconds and two major forums running on Invision take 2 seconds.

FWIW, I’m running on Windows 10 and Firefox and have tried clearing cookies to no effect. Is the slow running just a fact of life because of whatever server it’s running on?

I am wondering if its because I picked a west coast USA server. Is it slow for other UK users @Kake @Hyperion @paprikaboy ?

Does anyone else run into this issue?

If its a UK problem, perhaps the solution would be to try to see if the hosting company can serve up the content from a location somewhere in the middle for everyone, like US east coast. In the longer term, it’ll be an investigation into multiple server delivery to reduce latency.

10 seconds is awfully long.

If you are able to, can you give me the results of a ping to this site? E.g.

From London. Loads ok for me, but I’ve a quick connection.

PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=45 time=170.709 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=45 time=171.711 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=45 time=169.962 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=45 time=171.379 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=45 time=168.901 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=5 ttl=45 time=168.831 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=6 ttl=45 time=171.584 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=7 ttl=45 time=170.259 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=8 ttl=45 time=171.674 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=9 ttl=45 time=170.192 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=10 ttl=45 time=171.439 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=11 ttl=45 time=180.019 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=12 ttl=45 time=171.705 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=13 ttl=45 time=172.436 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=14 ttl=45 time=169.746 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=15 ttl=45 time=171.398 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=16 ttl=45 time=170.981 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=17 ttl=45 time=169.043 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=18 ttl=45 time=170.180 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=19 ttl=45 time=171.608 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=20 ttl=45 time=177.761 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=21 ttl=45 time=178.384 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=22 ttl=45 time=168.960 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=23 ttl=45 time=168.935 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=24 ttl=45 time=168.885 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=25 ttl=45 time=168.862 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=26 ttl=45 time=171.125 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=27 ttl=45 time=170.584 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=28 ttl=45 time=170.038 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=29 ttl=45 time=169.743 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=30 ttl=45 time=170.812 ms

From just outside Paris. Generally is OK.

Seems fine to me.

I noticed something. Each morning when I first check, it can take a long time to load for that very first click - not always but often. Afterward, everything is very quick.

I wonder if it has to do with how long one last visited the site.

No problems ever from East Coast USA here.

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Well, I finally managed to find out what a ping was and how to do it. Here’s what came up: bytes = 32 time = 19ms bytes = 32 time = 11ms bytes = 32 time = 11ms bytes = 32 time = 20ms

Hope that means more to you than it does to me.

You mentioned the site has always been slow. So is it safe to say it’s not something that started since last week? (Trying to narrow down the issue)

Is it slow on threads with lots of pics, like wfd? Or slow also with short text threads?

Which browser are you using?

Thanks for diagnosing with me.

It’s always been slow for me. I didnt raise it earlier as I was going away for 3 weeks and it’s only since I got back that I started to time it.

It’s specifically only an issue on initial load - the time from clicking on my bookmark, or clicking on the Google listing, to the forum’s front page loading. Once I’m here, it’s generally fine . As I mentioned, I have the same issue with the FTC site but nowhere else. I’m running Firefox.

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Then it is similar to some of my experience too. Sometime when I haven’t logged on HungryOnion for a long time, the first log on can take awhile, like 15+ seconds.

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One more question from me. Is your bookmark

If it isn’t, make sure it is. It may not make a huge diff but (www.) and gets redirected to the redirect takes time.

Let me try to move the server around geographically next time i take the site down. I will send you a note and you can tell me whether it makes a difference. thanks.

I did some additional testing- Most of the load time in the London- Manchester path

San Francisco users load the page in 4s (where the server is based)
East coast USA in 6s
London in 7s
Manchester in 13s

Unless I move the server to Manchester its not really going to significantly help you. (Moving to East Coast may save you 2 seconds).

I found another Discourse-based forum using multiple content-delivery network server (i.e. delivering content from servers near your location), the load time surprisingly isn’t any better (which I don’t think its possible if their servers are optimized). Which led me to believe that the forum software itself isn’t completely optimized. The page loading is kinda slow in the middle of the load. (that purple part is I think when they load those 2 Mb of forum software to your browser.

I’ve looked into ways to see if there is something that I can optimize the actual software, but so far no great ideas yet beyond saving you perhaps 0.5 seconds.

Thanks for trying.

It’s sort of more evidence that London is a different country from the rest of the UK (he said - with heavy cynicism). I bet you would get the similar disappointing results for other regions outside south east England.

I just switched the site hosting to distributed servers around the world. The speed tests suggested that its 9s loading for Manchester. Does it feel faster for you in real life?

I suspect this site is pulling in a lot of subpages. That hurts when latency is high ( like, ahem, “parts” of the UK ). It is normal to have 150ms latency from the UK to the US.

The “cheap” solution is to optimize site load times by pulling together lots of small files into fewer bigger files. But you may be right that there are too many generated pages, too much server side processing. If you’re having trouble with databases, give me a call - I know a few things :smile:

Or, as you’ve done, by improving caching by using a service that employs a global CDN. If that doesn’t work, the problem will be end-to-end site design having dynamic, blocking components.

My site load times were never 4s — I was before in the 1 s range, generally.

I think HO’s attempt to improve speed sort of worked. The site seemed to load quickly. However, it left me with a completely blank screen all afternoon - as though there was nothing on the site. It was only when I emailed HO that I found out about the switch. I gather we’re now back to the old, slow system. And I can see what’s here again.

There really has to be something in the set-up for HO and FTC that slows it down this much, when no other site (even those I know originate on the US west coast) are so slow.

A few things slow down the site in my observations because of the way the forum developers design the software:

  • They load a bunch of javascript (the forum engine). That takes forever, and also I believe they don’t load asynchronously so it blocks the page rendering until the loading is done. Technically I think I can change that in the NGINX server configuration, but the forum is installed via Docker, so I have yet to find how to change these server setup within the Docker itself. Also the Javascripts aren’t gzipped, so its 2Mb of scripts to load on first attempts.

  • The forum developer doesn’t have a function where they enable https for only the login screen. Its either all or nothing. I don’t have an issue with all https per se except that Safari and iOS doesn’t cache static resources over https. So loading on the iphone/ mac is likely slower on the first attempt. To me, though, having https, i.e. more security logging in, is better than having a faster site.

  • The mystery of CDN- the other site uses CDN because they ask the developers to host the site for them and the developers employs CDN- curiously it doesn’t seem to be faster according to speed tests despite the CDN. And from the brief experiment yesterday we don’t seem to be faster with CDN alone (without turning those experimental features that bundle the javascript files together for faster and async load, which have more to do with site optimization vs CDN)

  • My images aren’t completely optimized- but that’s like 0.2 second savings compare to the big stuff above.

This fully matches my intuition. Parallelism is a tough thing - you need all the bits to work - if it’s about SSL parallelism you want to enable HTTP2 ( SPDY++ ), but you also need the forum software itself to be right, and you need caching for just the right things… but you know all this.

My perspective … A commercial site with ads is using that revenue to hire people like us to maintain and optimize ( but then they need to optimize for ads as well ). HO shouldn’t be compared to a commercial site in a sense. The goal is to make HO usable, not as fast as weibo or twitter. HO / Discuss is a pretty swank system to have thrown it up “for free” and in a hurry.