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The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

Liam
Grafter
Posts: 2,083
Registered: 04-04-2007

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

The 'Two-Second Website' – Where are we at?

A couple of weeks ago we told you about our “Don’t Make Me Wait” programme, which has the objective of optimising the Portal (and our internal Workplace) experience to delivering webpages in 2 seconds, where possible.

A number of actions are required in order to achieve this and Dan Kirkland, our Software Platform Manager, outlined these in his announcement here :

http://portal.plus.net/central/forums/viewtopic.php?t=50940

We thought it was time to update you on our progress and how far away we are from achieving our goal!

Database Optimisation
Dan mentioned in his last post that we had recently moved our core databases to some new, high-end, servers. The next phase of this work is to optimise the database as best we can. We were recently visited by a consultant from MySQL themselves who documented a number of pointers which we are currently working through.

Splitting Server Platforms
Up until now, we have been running our customer and platform management system (workplace) on the same servers as our web portals. Up until recently, this made sense; but as our business has grown, this implementation is no longer sustainable.

Workplace has evolved, and more advanced tools have been continually added to the platform, putting a further load on the servers. This means that the work we do internally to service customers and run our business has been directly impacting on the performance of these servers – and therefore the portal experience that you guys have.

To avoid this, we recently made the decision to move Workplace onto its own internal ‘w-servers’. This means that what we do internally should have less of an impact on the Portals. For the last 14 days, therefore, the Business has been slowly moved over to using the segregated Workplace platform.

Upgrading PHP & Page Caching Systems
Our web portals are built using PHP scripting, and we believe that the time is now right to be upgrading the PHP service on our servers to the most recent, stable version. At the same time, we plan to improve our page caching systems to improve response times and efficiency.

This requires intensive testing to ensure that the Portals operate effectively under the new PHP service, and the UserGroup are currently conducting beta testing on an isolated Portal server that has already been upgraded to the latest version of PHP. If you’re interested, you can track bugs and progress on the UserGroup Issue Tracker (at http://usergroup.plus.net/pugit/ ).

The new Workplace servers mentioned above are now successfully running with this latest version, and we hope to have the Portal servers upgraded by the 17th December.

Reducing the size of the PHP Source Files
Two nights ago we rolled out the PHP4 / PHP5 compatible code to our Portal servers. This is in preparation for the PHP5 upgrade, and part of this involved rolling out more efficient code so that the server performs only the necessary work for each specific page request.

Have these changes helped?

Internally, we are already seeing the benefits of improved performance from the progress we've made thus far. We have certainly noted an increase in performance of Workplace - and the Portals, to us, seem to be operating faster since we split into two separate platforms. Is everybody else seeing the same? Feedback gladly accepted and appreciated as always!
86 REPLIES
N/A

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

I think the portals have improved, although in the past they did sometimes performe this well.

They are better than they have been in recent times though, thats for sure. Its not like wading through treacle so much any more.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,357
Thanks: 607
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

I was thinking of posting a couple of hours back that these forums seemed unusually slow today. Is there any point in asking for feedback on portal performance when the general performance issues are affecting everything?
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
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Firejack
Grafter
Posts: 921
Registered: 26-06-2007

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

The Portal definitely seems faster these days. Slows down a bit in the evening but I put that down to the current speed related problems and DNS responsiveness of late.


How is the development of the Plus Community site for all PN/F9/MN/FOL customers coming? Want to try out the chat room Smiley
Community Veteran
Posts: 2,322
Registered: 01-08-2007

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

Yup - some time ago I found the portals a little slow, but now from work they are like lightning.

They do however take longer than 2 seconds to display at home, but Im connected via a PN connection at home. Sadly the issues experienced on the PN network at present make any efforts to speed up the portal a little futile.

But from an external connection, the website certainly seems to perform very well.
jnwright
Grafter
Posts: 281
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

Refreshes still take some time so that I can see new posts. I don't appear to have stopped exclaiming "Come on PlusNet!" at these times. It is still very slow around 1a.m. A little way to go?

BTW It took 7 seconds to preview this message! Waiting for portal.plus.net..
Liam
Grafter
Posts: 2,083
Registered: 04-04-2007

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

Speed issues in general are for another thread.

The Portal is not a media-rich site. They have previously been slow due to server side issues and load and this is what the work has the aim of improving.

I use the Portals daily and I notice no difference using them at work, on the work network, than I do at home. In reality, little difference will be seen on general web browsing using a 512k connection or a 4-8Mb connection.

I'm glad to hear that people have been noticing increased performance though. I certainly have.
N/A

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

Funnily enough I never had problems until the past few days, now it takes forever to load the forums.
Liam
Grafter
Posts: 2,083
Registered: 04-04-2007

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

That is strange. Is it just the forums or elsewhere too? Do you have the same problem elsewhere?
Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: 05-04-2007

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

Community site is in the speccing stage still, but the spec has been signed off by part of the co-design team and we are nearly done with this stage (Designing the thing is always the hardest bit!). We still have a couple of outstanding questions, but I hope to commit the spec this week and then we can start talking to the developers about the development schedule.

I don't think the end of Jan is an unrealistic target, but it certainly won't be here sooner...

Ian
N/A

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

plus.net = over 3 or 4 minutes right now to load a page, something like cnn.com is only around 20seconds.
Liam
Grafter
Posts: 2,083
Registered: 04-04-2007

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

3 or 4 minutes? Now something is certainly up there. Can you do a traceroute to portal.plus.net?
James
Grafter
Posts: 21,036
Registered: 04-04-2007

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

If it were taking 3-4 minutes, surely your browser would time out before the page loaded?
Liam
Grafter
Posts: 2,083
Registered: 04-04-2007

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

Not if it was downloading or processing the page.
N/A

The 'Two-Second Website' - Where are we at?

I'm not trying to be awkward, but it really was. It's down to about 8-20 seconds now so I guess it was just a hiccup - it's not just plus.net's site actually. I'll reboot in a minute see if that helps.



C:\Documents and Settings\Steve>tracert www.plus.net

Tracing route to portal.plus.net [212.159.8.137]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms t1 [192.168.1.1]
2 54 ms * 77 ms lo0-plusnet.pte-ag2.plus.net [195.166.128.72]
3 62 ms 40 ms 57 ms ge0-0-0-504.pte-gw2.plus.net [84.92.4.90]
4 61 ms 40 ms 40 ms ge0-0-0-22.ptn-gw1.plus.net [212.159.4.1]
5 53 ms 42 ms 41 ms gi0-2-32.ptc-gw1.plus.net [195.166.129.10]
6 * 66 ms * se3-0.pih-gw1.plus.net [195.166.129.250]
7 51 ms 49 ms 51 ms vlan8.pih-gw4.plus.net [212.159.0.30]
8 61 ms 49 ms 51 ms pih-al4.plus.net [212.159.1.36]
9 66 ms 50 ms 47 ms www.plus.net [212.159.8.137]

Trace complete.

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