Dec 14th 2006 – Server in pain

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 😦


15 Responses to Dec 14th 2006 – Server in pain

  1. Steve Pike says:

    Hi Sean, I just wanted to let you know that I’m putting together a site which lets people tag lyrics. It uses your wonderful lyricwiki to retrieve the lyrics (and I hope to allow people to edit/add them through the applications I’m creating).
    If you would like to know more or have any issues with me doing this, please let me know at the given email.
    The site is currently at and is only a very early incarnation. Still got a few bugs in my code and the site itself is incomplete; just thought I should give you a headsup.
    Hope to hear back from you.

  2. Sherry says:

    I think you’ve got a bit of an outrage right now, in fact. (Dec 31st 4PM EST)

  3. wikipedia says:

    Wikipedia is the key to most success online, when it comes to collabritive content adding. I have spent many hours writing articles for Jimmy Wales and am very happy with this project. I am based in Seminole FL close to the wikipedia offices in St Petersburg. I love contributing!

    Happy New Year Bloggers!

  4. Bob Gulden says:

    Thank You for the Advice

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