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The Need For Speed

5

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Can a website load fast enough for you? For the average user a website needs to load in less than 10 seconds or they don't bother to look at it. When you're trying to reach people this is a challenge we need to more than overcome. This week we tackle some simple things that any website can do to enhance performance. A small website on a low end host or a website with thousands of hits a day can do things that can give their visitors a boost in speed.

Before we dive into our need for speed, we dive a collaborative effort to get better reoccurring events in drupal. If you are interested in donating to the effort please contact Rob here.

It's another one of those seasons in life for your G&G hosts. Last winter we took a 2 month break and we are, again, going to take a break. We will be back with a new episode the 1st Monday of October. So, strap in.... it's time for Geeks and God.

PS...please excuse the messed up audio in the flash player this week...we're working to fix it...

Almost freaks me out a little

It seems like what ever issue Im having at the time with a website, I listen to the G&G podcast and you guys are talking about it. A little freaky but after a thorough sweep of the room for bugs I feel safe now :)

I have a friend who wanted a website to talk about his cheesecakes that he wants to start selling locally. I offered to throw up....sounds a little gross....I mean create a quick website for him. I decided to go with joomla and get a decent template for him and got it up in no time.

Pages were running really slow. Contacted tech support and they were able to duplicate the problems. They are looking at it right now on their end, and Im going to try some of the techniques discussed in the cast to see if I cant get it do load a little quicker myself. I have a feeling its a server issue because about a 20 seconds to a minute or more is a tad to long I would say.

Great tips guys.
Thanks

Follow up: Server issue

As I was typing my last comment, support contacted me with an update on the issue. It was a misconfigured server.

Here's what they said:
"It would appear that there was a mis-configuration on the MySQL server where your database is hosted. Normally we turn off reverse DNS lookups on the MySQL server but this was not the case. Compounding the issue it appears that the DNS servers configured on the database server were also incorrect.

Thus MySQL was trying to do a reverse DNS lookup on your website's IP address, however it could not do so due to the fact that the DNS server configuration was incorrect. This is what was causing the time outs on your site.

Our Infrastructure technicians have updated the server's configuration and everything appears to be operating as normal."

This all made a huge difference in load times now.

troubleshooting vs tweaking

What you are talking about is troubleshooting a problem. Sometimes these things happen and you have to go to support.

This episode was more the things you could do. For example, I did some basic testing on G&G load times. From the time I click a link to the time the page was being viewed. We cut that time to 1/3 to 1/4. That's significant. We, also, cut the total number of bytes being sent back and forth which is, also, important.

There are many things that can cause slow downs. If your host is running slowly you need to work through them. If they are working like the promised some of these tips can give you an extra speed boost.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Link for Hosting company mentioned in the Podcast

Hey Guys,
Love the podcast. Enjoy your time off!

Can you guys post the link to the hosting company that you mentioned in the podcast that is offering free hosting for registered non-profits.

Thanks!

J.C.

Link...

Hey JC...our bad, sorry we didn't post it:

http://www.dreamhost.com

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.bobchristenson.com

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mustardseedmedia.com

Heres a wiki talking about

Heres a wiki talking about it also http://wiki.dreamhost.com/index.php/Non-profit_Dis...

Dreamhost for non-profit

The Dreamhost deal is very generous, but unfortunately a lot of churches won't be able to participate. The reason is that the only proof of non-profit status that they accept is a 501c3 determination letter from the IRS. Churches are not required to have a 501c3 determination letter.

I tried to get the Dreamhost deal, but I couldn't because we don't have the letter.

I haven't looked at the google deal, but they say that they check via the EIN so that might work.

Does anyone else have comments or suggestions?

Same Issue...

Hey kswan..
Yup, you're exactly right. Our church is running into this same documentation issue. They just don't have the paperwork.
Haven't looked into google yet...

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.bobchristenson.com

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mustardseedmedia.com

frustrating Dreamhost performance

Dreamhost hasn't worked well for us.
It's been down too often.
Right now its down again (for over an hour)... so I'm here visiting G&G and not working on the site like I planned.

We've found that even for our standard static site updating we have to work around their downtime from several times a year to several times a month. Also our database response tanks several times a day.

Mail reliability was even poorer than that for the site and caused us to pull the plug and go to separate hosting for both mail and our DNS around a year ago. It was driving the staff crazy.

From reading online postings, it seems apparent that experience varies based on how fortunate you are, but if you are investing a lot in your site in other respects, you may want to think twice.

For us the move to database driven apps was kind of tipped the balance in favor of seeking out other alternatives for our primary site host.

We found even a Wordpress blog with little or no activity edged into the 5-10s response time many times during the day.

On the plus side they have very open and flexible setup with very generous storage and transfer limits. Their one click installs for Wordpress and Gallery also mangage updates well. They have been very honest and cooperative when problems were encountered, but rather slow to respond (has varied from 4-30 hours).

Still free is good and they are inexpensive even if you don't get the free setup.

Mark

Mark

What Package?

What package are you running?

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

re: Same Issue...

I have already tried the Google apps and submitted our EIN. Don't know how Google verifies it but they were able to determine from our EIN that in fact that we did not have 501c3 status. We're currently trying to make application for it. The state of West Virginia doesn't require it for us to be a church so we never went for it, but for other reasons, we are going after it now and hopefully I'll be able to take advantage of these free offers.

501c3

Basically, I think it is an IRS rule that says that churches don't have to register. It is probably a "separation of church and state" thing. Actually, I completely agree that a church should not have to "register" with the government.

I guess it would just be nice for these companies to provide an option for churches, but even if they don't, the offer is very generous.

churches vs non-profits - the tech non-christian

I keep asking myself what's in it for these companies. Why would they offer free stuff to non-profits?

Part of me sees a current trend in techdome. Look at Bill Gates. He is all about helping others through his non-profit. This is a common occurrence these days. Many of the leaders in these tech companies want to help people. But, it's not just help people but help them by showing them kindness and removing suffering. Their care is in a specific kind of help.

If you look at many of the top techies these days you will see that they aren't Christian. So, while they are interested in helping non-profits and in particular those that bring about social change they aren't so interested in the church.

But, there is also that money factor in there. Why is Google only offering it's apps in the US? My guess is that there is some financial write-off benefit from doing this. It has something to do with taxes. So, the leaders of these companies are rarely Christian and want some tax write-off. So, it becomes about the non-profit.

Would it be nice for companies to offer more? I don't know about that. Do we desire more for less? Yeah, we do. It would be good for the people in those companies to follow God and give back to His mission.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Which editor do you guys use?

I write my own XHTML CSS and PHP and I have tried several editors. I tend to use Dreamweaver (in code view of course) because I like the code coloring, snippets panel to store some of my frequently used code snippets etc. I guess I am one of the exceptions to the Dreamweaver stereotype because I don't use the wysiwyg features that it is known for like the CSS panel etc. I am more comfortable writing code myself. I feel there is probably a better editor out there for someone like me but I haven't found one that I really like and I was wondering what editor you guys use.

Thanks for the great podcast. I will miss listening to it over the next few months but I completely understand the need for time off. Take care!

-Rick

Rick
"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" (Mark 8:36 NKJV)

eclipse

There are a number of good IDEs out there. Personally, I have been using elcipse with their php development environment called PDT. This system works on all systems as it's in java, there is built in support for debuggers like xdebug and the zend debugger, there are function autocomplete features, and so much more. I, also, use this because I can run in on Linux, Mac, and Windows and have everything setup the same.

This is just a preference. There are many good setups out there.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Thanks Matt!

Thanks for the reply Matt. I am looking over the eclipse website. Do you think eclipse would be suitable for someone who is sort of a mix between Rob and yourself?

Because I am a one man show my job duties entail creating the frontend ui for our sites but also building MySQL database tables and coding php to interact with the them. I don't know that I would call myself a php developer however. Most of the php I write is more or less basic. With that said I am still primarily a designer and not a programmer. I have been dabbling with Drupal since your series and I'm working towards using Drupal more in the future.

Do you think eclipse would be a good fit for me? It looks like more of a tool for hardcore programmers and not for someone who does a lot of work with the front end of a site would you agree?

Thanks for your help Matt!
-Rick

Rick
"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" (Mark 8:36 NKJV)

how you do it

Eclipse is often used for programming. It has a lot of great helpers for that. It is very much a programming tool.

How do you go about design? That's the first question to ask. Do you do it in photoshop as a mockup first? Do you design the look in dreamweaver? What's your process? I'd need to know that before I could really say much about using eclipse in the design process.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

No WYSIWYG

I don't use Dreamweaver's wysiwyg features at all. I typically sketch out a design on paper, create the graphics in photoshop and then code it using dreamweavers code environment. The only reason I use dreamweaver is the fact that I like the code coloring and code completion. So for example if i type <a hr it will create a small drop down with the rest of the code ef="" and I can just hit enter to place it. The code snippets panel is nice also as I can store frequently used php code to reuse easily.

I also like the fact that it has a built in ftp. So after I'm done coding a page and I look at it on my local testing server I can just hit a button and upload it to the remote server into the correct directory without having to open a separate ftp app.

-Rick

Rick
"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" (Mark 8:36 NKJV)

ftp, auto complete and more

eclipse does do ftp (a add on), code completion, and more.

One of the things I love is that I can tell is code completing for php4 or 5 and it does it correctly depending on the version. Though, I have not used HTML code completion.

If you're comfortable with that I would say keep using dreamweaver. For me, I need CVS and SVN integration along with error checking and several other advanced things.

Though, eclipse can do html error detection. It can tell you where tags aren't closed and things like that. That might come in handy.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Great episode...

5

Just listened to this back catalogue number... great episode!

Found this handy site for confirming whether gzip compression is enabled with mod_deflate... I found that all of my sites were already doing this, without my having configured anything for it, which is great.
http://www.whatsmyip.org/mod_gzip_test/

Lots of other tips to follow up. Thanks G&G!

awesome find!

Thanks for the gzip test link.. Cool!

Mark Shropshire "shrop"
Geeks & God Forums Moderator
http://geeksandgod.com/users/shrop