I only discovered the SDMB a couple of weeks ago, and immediately got hooked – I’m sure most of you can understand. But, half the time, or at least one-third of the time, when I click on a thread link, either it takes forever to load, or I get “Page Cannot Be Displayed.” (This time I got lucky, obviously.) Is something wrong with the server? Or are there just so many Dope Addicts out there that it can’t handle the traffic? Are there certain times of day when volume is especially high and participation inadvisable?
Tired hamsters. Depending on where you are located, late night (north american hours) are less hectic. Many people have offered to raise money to buy a new server, or the idea of a subscription has even been floated. One problem that would remain is administration of the server. There are stretches when the boards are not available for 2 or 3 days due to maintenance, and things usually hum along after that.
Also, this should probably be in ATMB.
This should be an ATMB thread.
And yes, you’ve got it in one. There are times during the day when the volume of traffic slows things down to a crawl. Like about half an hour ago. My advice is to hang on, wait a few minutes, then try again.
I just had this problem a few minutes ago. I had withdraw symptoms.
Off to ATMB.
[ul] [sup]Welcome to the boards, BrainGlutton[/sup][sub]and you too, Bloodytoe.[/sub][/ul]
A brand spanking new server was put in place around the middle of November. Since then usage has increased 53% to the point where the new server is once again overwhelmed at times. While I’m not the final decision maker in these regards I’d speculate there will be no new servers for a good 2 to 3 years unless this place starts to generate some substantial revenue.
I can put in ever more powerful servers and upgrade the bandwidth for the rest of my life and usage would still increase to the point of sucky performance. Every time I’ve done this (3 times now) it’s only been a matter of a few months before we’re maxxed out once again. The basic problem is that the SDMB is free and therefore there is no reason for people not to continuously overutilize it until the point that performance will once again at times suck. When performance starts to suck people stop using it and we reach an uneasy equilibrium point of just how much time people are willing to waste in order to get something for free. Make everyone pay and I can guarantee you there will be no performance problems because a majority of the users will simply leave. Don’t make everybody pay and we’ll have to deal with complaints from now paying members about performance problems they are incurring due to the usage of non-paying members. Don’t ever make anybody pay and at some point the plug simply gets pulled. None of those options look too great…
We’re working on some type of solution but it’s not happening very quickly.
What about the software used in the message boards, vBulletin, is it any good? Are there faster alternatives? Isn’t it a waste of cycles to update the “view” field everytime someone clicks on a link? Doesn’t that require a costly database hit? Plus keeping track of every single potential new posting for a given user (the bright yellow envelope feature), etc. etc… Our message board seems to have a lot of non-essential “extra features” that might be very processor intensive.
Not a rant, just a comment. Thanks for the update, jdavis!
And many thanks to you, jdavis, for the hard work you’ve done to keep this board up and running. I just ordered 4 books and another T-shirt to show my support (and assuage my guilty conscience). C’mon, Dopers, buy the books, buy the mugs, and buy the T-shirts - maybe we’ll generate enough profit to make a new server affordable.
You know what the books are like, but the coffee cups are really nice, not that cheap-ass souvenir crap you get from most places. Mine is my favorite coffee cup and I use it constantly - eventually I’m going to have a complete set so that everyone who visits me has to drink from one!
The T-shirts are really good quality, too, not some thin cheap crap that falls apart or starts peeling after a couple of washes. I regularly wear mine when I see my therapist (who had me pull up the SDMB on his office computer so he could see what fascinated me about this place. To lessen his shock, I took him to GD - where, amongst the creation/evolution, God does/doesn’t exist, abortion, political, etc. threads was the one titled “Blowjobs are illegal!” First his mouth fell open, then he started laughing so hard he nearly fell off of his chair. He’s a great guy.)
No, they are not processor intensive. And the new posting tracking is done by a single entry. Those are ironically some of the least processor-intensive actions on the Board.
To continue the discussion of what taxes the server, the most difficult feature used on a regular basis is the search function, and that’s obviously something that we can’t do away with. Some of the mod/admin functions like moving or merging threads might be even more hamster-intensive, but those are used seldom enough that the impact is tolerable.