Dec 14th 2006 – Server in pain

December 15, 2006

The server is in a bit of pain at the moment. Pages are taking a little while to load and some are getting dropped.

This is a problem that we haven’t had since moving to the new server about a month ago. After investigating it seems that this is most likely a traffic issue. Over the last few days, traffic has been growing sharply… the only reason I can deduce from my log of referers is that a google-dance worked in our favor. This is a welcome change since our PageRank plummeted from 6 down to 3 due to near-constant outages when the site was hosted on DreamHost. Traffic has had steady linear growth, but in the last few days that line got significantly steeper.

That explanation is bittersweet. On the one hand – it’s always good that traffic is increasing… on the other hand, the site is already losing a decent amount of money each month because hosting fees are greater than ad-revenue from that little google-adword block on the side of the page. If this traffic is the peak of what a single server can handle, I’ll need another couple-hundred dollars a month for another server (it’s a pretty powerful server on some really thick wire).

Possible solutions:

  1. Wait it out – maybe this is just a temporary problem on the server and it will sort itself out (maybe too many templates being updated at once?). This seems like wishful thinking, but we’ll see.
  2. Change ad / Get new server – Google AdSense is notorious for low payouts, and since we have a bunch of traffic, one of the better-paying ad networks may be willing to let us use them (they have minimum pagehit numbers in the millions per month). If we get a better – and unfortunately maybe bigger and possibly even image-based *shudder* ad – then we can get another server and set up a Squid cacher on it like Wikipedia has. At Wikimania 2006 I talked to the guy who runs Wikipedia’s datacenters and the way he explained it makes it sound like a Squid would really make things purr.
  3. Go broke until Pedlr – As will be explained in more depth, LyricWiki is going to be tied into a new service (don’t worry, the wiki will still be the same… it will just have extensions to interface with another, related site and the nav menu will probably change). The benefit here is that this new service will have a budget and will be able to pull the extra weight of the wiki as long as the overall site is going well.

It’s going to be about a month or two until Pedlr is done, so probably #2 will hold us over to manage growth until #3, but with any luck maybe #1 will be the winner and we won’t have to do anything!

Sorry for the outages 😦


Introducing the LyricWiki blog

December 14, 2006

This is the official LyricWiki blog.

During a recent outage, a LyricWiki contributor – Julian Castle – recommended that I create a LiveJournal community or something similar for LyricWiki to keep people informed during outages.

After I signed up for LJ with the username “lyricwiki” effectively blocking my own ability to create an LJ community (after deleting your account there is a 30-day waiting period)… I decided that was looking like a better and better idea!

The purpose of the blog is for major announcements and to keep the community up to date when there is something strange happening on the main server (like today).