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Anna J

A&F Bandwidth Issues: UPDATE 11/22

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Jason, when you say "fast service" do you mean fast forum browsing, or fast customer service?

Well, to be fair, the site I was working on was not a forum site. That being said, their web hosting service can be spotty, in my experience.

For more intensive sites, I've heard good things about MediaTemple and RackSpace.

Edited by opus

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**UPDATE**

We are going to attempt to alleviate our bandwidth by removing the search box. Apparently, it's the high level of searches we do that has caused the server to work overtime.

Don't panic! We will be replacing it with Google site search, which won't stress the Invision servers, and is a better search engine anyway - I know the one we have has not been super useful. (Except for Peter, who is magic ;)

Then we won't have to move OR pay.

We may have to revisit the moving option sometime in the future, but until then we are going to try this and see if it works.

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Is there any way we could consider removing or pruning some unnecessary posts? Would that help? We could, for example, delete all of Persona's posts.

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I'm sure that would help, Mike.

I imagine it would be extremely time-consuming to go through each thread in each forum and prune the unnecessary ones.

Perhaps there are entire forums or subforums or threads we could cut? What do y'all think?

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Cutting out searches altogether would probably cause PTC to go into a coma, thus reducing the site's overall post flow by about 40%. That could solve some problems.

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I'm sure that would help, Mike.

I imagine it would be extremely time-consuming to go through each thread in each forum and prune the unnecessary ones.

Perhaps there are entire forums or subforums or threads we could cut? What do y'all think?

I rejoice that the politics forum is as dead as Jacob Marley, but I'd hate to see any of the others go.

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I rejoice that the politics forum is as dead as Jacob Marley

But ... but Marley was only as dead as a door-nail ... and there's nothing particularly dead about a door-nail.

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I rejoice that the politics forum is as dead as Jacob Marley

But ... but Marley was only as dead as a door-nail ... and there's nothing particularly dead about a door-nail.

I was wondering if and from whom a snarky comment would emerge apropos Marley...

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I was wondering if and from whom a snarky comment would emerge apropos Marley...

I suppose whether I should be smug or crestfallen is best left as an exercise to the reader.

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Go with smug, definitely.

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We don't need avatars to function. Would dropping them help?

We could move the A&F Top 100 site to the Image site, and off of A&F.

I won't mind losing Search, since Google is often more effective for searching A&F anyway.

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I won't mind losing Search, since Google is often more effective for searching A&F anyway.

I often use Google with a site operator to search A&F -- it's OFTEN more effective than the site search, BUT it has limits. Google doesn't see everything -- member only forums and other stuff fall through the cracks -- AND it can't target specific authors and thread titles for specific search terms. Search is a valuable tool. I'm concerned about losing it.

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Anna J wrote:

: We are going to attempt to alleviate our bandwidth by removing the search box. Apparently, it's the high level of searches we do that has caused the server to work overtime.

Eep.

: Don't panic! We will be replacing it with Google site search, which won't stress the Invision servers, and is a better search engine anyway - I know the one we have has not been super useful. (Except for Peter, who is magic ;)

But... but... it's only because A&F has that search engine that I get to seem so magical in the first place. (Hmmm, maybe we wouldn't have that "high level of searches" in the first place if it weren't for me...)

Overstreet wrote:

: I won't mind losing Search, since Google is often more effective for searching A&F anyway.

Wow. My experience has been the EXACT opposite. There are major, major holes in Google's archives, and one of the HUGE advantages of the A&F search engine is that it lists all the results in chronological order (and it can link you to the precise post that contains the thing you're searching for). The A&F search engine also lets you search in "hidden" forums, such as the 'About You' forum, that are not accessible to outsiders such as Google.

The only advantage Google has, that I can see, is that it lets you search for words that have less than four letters. It's fine to have Google as a back-up search engine in such cases, but I would hardly want to rely on Google exclusively.

Losing the search engine would be losing a major part of A&F, for me. One of several reasons my blogging took a dive in 2009 was because Blogger's search engine suddenly stopped showing you all the posts that had the term you were searching for; my ability to scan through (and link to) my earlier posts was compromised. I wonder if a similar loss of functionality here would have a similar effect.

SDG wrote:

: Google doesn't see everything -- member only forums and other stuff fall through the cracks -- AND it can't target specific authors and thread titles for specific search terms. Search is a valuable tool. I'm concerned about losing it.

I agree.

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Heh. I would never worry about you running out of stuff to post, Peter... at least from knowing you from various email lists and such since 1996 or so.

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Would it be possible to limit use of the search function to registered members only? I have seen other forums do this, and it might cut down on searches significantly.

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metalfoot wrote:

: Heh. I would never worry about you running out of stuff to post, Peter... at least from knowing you from various email lists and such since 1996 or so.

Out of stuff, no. Out of motivation with regard to a specific forum, though, maybe. Like I say, loss of functionality became a significant discouragement to my blogging a couple of years ago, and I know I took a loooong hiatus from Facebook after one of its re-designs a few years back, so if the environment HERE were to undergo a significant change -- and one that made it LESS functional, rather than more -- then who knows.

David Smedberg wrote:

: Would it be possible to limit use of the search function to registered members only? I have seen other forums do this, and it might cut down on searches significantly.

Can people use the search engine without logging in, then? (I'm almost NEVER not logged in.) Yeah, if only registered members could use the search engine, then that sounds like a good idea.

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I want to emphasize that this is just an experiment. We can get the old search box back if we hate Google, or try a different one (any suggestions?). I don't know if members-only-access search will work with the old search, but that is another thing we could try.

But the fact is we have to tamp down our bandwidth starting today, or the site will keep crashing. At least this buys us some time so we don't have to immediately switch to a different host.

Please keep your comments coming! We want to know what you think about the functionality of these ideas since you guys spend the most time here (as opposed to IMAGE staff).

Let's also keep talking about the possibility of deleting forums. Would anyone object right off the bat to deleting Politics, for example?

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Let me amend this post. Here is the breaking news.

Jeff's friend Brendan says:

If being able to search private posts is a goal, there really isn't a solution outside of switching to Sphinx. It makes perfect sense to me that fulltext database search would cause this sort of issue. It's a sort of anathema, and using sphinx would solve it. It also makes sense that they'd want you to change plans in order to install sphinx -- right now you're in a shared environment, and sphinx should use a private environment. This would make something like Hostgator more expensive, too -- you can't just run any old program in that $5/month package. However, a Hostgator VPS would be much cheaper than $120/mo.

Right now we are paying Invision $30/month for 1GB of diskspace and 50GB of bandwidth (which, you will remember, was not enough to sustain our first post-IMAGE Top100 launch and we had to buy extra bandwidth).

We need more bandwidth no matter what, to sustain our searches and archived posts.

Invision won't continue to host us unless we switch to Sphinx.

If we move to Hostgator, we can buy 30GB of diskspace and 500GB of bandwidth AND Sphinx for $40/month (plus $150/year to Invision to keep the forum software as is).

It sounds like our current search box is becoming obsolete anyway, and there's no guarantee that if we moved to another host, keeping our current search engine, that we wouldn't run into the same problem in a year or two. [We can get away with just using Google search as a stop-gap at this point, until we make a decision.]

What I need to know from all y'all: What do you think about Sphinx fulltext search? Have you used it on other forums? Do you prefer it to our current engine?

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Does anyone know anything about Sphinx?

I've heard he's somewhat mysterious.

thesphinx.jpg

Source.

Edited by Jason Panella

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Have you considered running banner ads to provide the revenue? Is that off the table? It just seems like making $200/month on Netflix, Blockbuster, studio ads is low hanging fruit.

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Have you considered running banner ads to provide the revenue? Is that off the table? It just seems like making $200/month on Netflix, Blockbuster, studio ads is low hanging fruit.

It's possible, but I don't think we have the traffic for it.

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Have you considered running banner ads to provide the revenue? Is that off the table? It just seems like making $200/month on Netflix, Blockbuster, studio ads is low hanging fruit.

Vader-Noooooooooo.jpg

No, seriously, NO. I would much rather pay $5/month for A&F than have ads. I may be alone in this, I am curious to know.

Anna, I have no idea what difference a user would experience with this Sphinx thing... :huh:

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No, seriously, NO. I would much rather pay $5/month for A&F than have ads. I may be alone in this, I am curious to know.

Anna, I have no idea what difference a user would experience with this Sphinx thing... :huh:

Honestly, we would exhaust every other effort before buying ads.

The Hostgator option would mean a little more expense but nothing near the $1000. I think that's our best option - just wondering now if we should upgrade our search software since it would be free. It's up to you guys, since you use it the most often.

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If upgrading the search software is free and potentially better, I don't see any reason not to. The current search works fine for me when I need it, but it's not intuitive.

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