Slow to load

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.

Here’s my feedback to the Forum developers. Let’s see if we’ll get a response.

Site migration to faster server didn’t quite work. If you encountered site loading issues yesterday evening/ today morning, please comment on site discussions.

For me, the site loads faster after migration.

How much faster? Slightly? or much?

I wasn’t feeling the site was slow before, but now it’s snappy and peppy. ( I live in a major metro area with a ton of bandwidth and keep my computer well maintained. )

If I was blowharding, I’d say the site was cobbled together with open source and not well optimized for page load times, but OTOH doesn’t have ads, which more than balanced out the multiple libraries. I saw this on my phone, where the first page load would take a long time ( 10 seconds ? ) but subsequent loads were fast ( lots of pages & includes, but they get cached ).

I expect those with slower / older computers, or have network latency issues, will feel the site has gone from slow to normal / fast.

Nicely done ! Do you need money / contributions ?

The experimental features that I turned on to make the forum engine (javascript) load fast apparently didn’t work for everyone- for one user the site didn’t load at all. For another, Blackberry didn’t load the site. When I turned off those experimental features there wasn’t performance gain, so I just revert back to the old servers.

No money needed- I used the free CDN plan of a major company, so I didn’t spend a single dime. It did get me excited for a while until I found out there were problems.

I think it did work for most people, though breaking the site for some isn’t quite good enough. Theoretically the forum developers can do similar optimizations on their software, rather than relying on the CDN companies to optimize. Though the developers probably have other more important things on their plate. I was surprised, however, that serving those pictures/ forum engines from servers close to people, without turning on the experimental optimization feature, didn’t seem to speed things up for anyone. That kinda defied physics for me.

If it’s any consolation, I didn’t notice any difference, but it always loads pretty quickly for me using Safari . . .

It actually seemed a little slower to me (Safari/iPhone) right after 9PM last night. Could have been you fiddling around.

Site was slower today all day, taking 5-6 sec to load vs. about 4 previously, remained slow after you reverted to the old servers. However, when I came to the site at about 7 pm (CST) it was much faster, less than 2 sec. Has remained that way for a couple of hours. Never been this fast before.

Win 7, Firefox with NoScript, Dell desktop.

Tried it once during the day on IE, took more than 6 sec to load, but I have seldom accessed it on IE.

I reverted to the old server some time around noon MT time. After that I haven’t done anything since to the site. So the slowness and speediness you experienced was external to the site.

I happen to be on the east coast for a couple days and I find the site a little less snappy than on the west coast, but just fine, really. Pages take about a second.


Have you been tweaking again today?

Access is positively speedy - 3 or 4 seconds to load the front page. Perfectly acceptable.

I wish I can take the credit but I have no idea what happened. I am glad its fast though- let’s hope it stays that way.

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