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Site Performance - optimization workshop thread

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jimsflies

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[MENTION=3]Max Taxable[/MENTION] Feel free to expand... I truly am not sure what they are trying to accomplish.

I will say that a lot of the features that have been added to vbulletin, in my opinion seem to take away from the activity level of the forum. For example (although a vb3 addition) Social Groups...give people a place to have private discussions and don't even register in the new posts. That activity is largely un-noticable and can make a small forum seem even more desolate. Even the photo album feature creates activity areas that don't appear when someone looks for new posts/activity.

I like the integrated comment section on vb4's CMS articles where the comments become part of a thread. That's a step in the right direction. If the comments are simply posted to an article, they don't easily get seen by the casual visitor. Blogs are another area of division of forum activity that I'm not crazy about.
 

jimsflies

New member
New features such as?

The one that comes to mind first is I've added vbNotifications from dbtech. I like the fact that members will get a notification without having to refresh the page if they get a pm, etc.

I also like the auto save message editor that is default with vb4. That's already saved me having to retype a few times.

Although I haven't rolled it out yet, I do like the CMS and articles area of the vb4 CMS. I just wished I could get a widget coded up that would give the standard forum threadbit info (e.g., vbAdvanced CMS style) instead of the facebook style "activity" widgets that come with vb4.
 

Max Taxable

The Wyatt Earp of Anti-Spam
Here's a link to my site: Captive Reefs. I've still got a lot of work to do...
I'll say.... You have horrendous load time with well over 2 MEGAbytes of pageload. (Even bloated vB4 out of the box and unmodified is still under 400 KILObytes.)

129 requests, 20 second load time. Massive images making your site really slow to load and a hell of a byte load on people's browsers:

WebPagetest Test Details:
Also on the above, look at that terrible CPU loading your site is doing.

78% of your load is, images.

To optimize, take a look at your images found on this page, need to be optimized. Biggest offenders are call numbers 90, 96, and 99.

Your widget icons, you might not be aware, are being called in the pageload whether they are being displayed by the script or not, and are also counting for a great amount of KB each time a page loads.

If you disable hooks in adminCP>Options>Plugin/Hook System then run this same test, you'll be amazed how seriously all your Mods are slowing down your site and how many more calls, DB queries, and KB load they are giving you.

Get a fresh test Here and do a baseline test with the hooks disabled.


Don't feel bad, this is only too typical anymore. People way overmod and overimage their sites, all the time. BUT:

I have seen a good many sites get kicked off their host, for this stuff. It also hurts your SEO because Google HATES slow sites. People do, too.

Speed is what cuts it on the web. People will leave if a site doesn't load in 2-4 seconds, no matter how pretty it is, or how many bells and whistles it has. Does it load fast and function, is the question.

You gotta find that happy balance between form and function.
 
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jimsflies

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No doubt, now that I have things looking about where I want them, its time to do some optimizing to increase page loads. I appreciate your feedback.

Is there a better way to serve those widget icons?

(maybe I should start another thread...don't want to hijack the topic?)
 

Max Taxable

The Wyatt Earp of Anti-Spam
No doubt, now that I have things looking about where I want them, its time to do some optimizing to increase page loads. I appreciate your feedback.

Is there a better way to serve those widget icons?

(maybe I should start another thread...don't want to hijack the topic?)
I'd ask the developer of those...

But the deal is, you need to decide how much of this extra stuff your VISITORS need to see. You can put IF conditionals on Mods to make them called only when people are logged in, can help alot. Visitors and search engine bots don't need to see all your fancy toys, gadgets and doodads. Many mods have this as a option built in too. You can find out how bad this really is by doing the baseline test with the hooks disabled - this invariably shocks most people who actually do this.
 

Max Taxable

The Wyatt Earp of Anti-Spam
The one that comes to mind first is I've added vbNotifications from dbtech. I like the fact that members will get a notification without having to refresh the page if they get a pm, etc.

I also like the auto save message editor that is default with vb4. That's already saved me having to retype a few times.

Although I haven't rolled it out yet, I do like the CMS and articles area of the vb4 CMS. I just wished I could get a widget coded up that would give the standard forum threadbit info (e.g., vbAdvanced CMS style) instead of the facebook style "activity" widgets that come with vb4.
These are all available for vB 3.8.x. In fact the first two, were added to v4 after they were already popular Mods for vB3.
 

Max Taxable

The Wyatt Earp of Anti-Spam
Oh yeah, I know that site is faster without the mods and graphics. I've seen it first hand already.
You should run the baseline test anyway and bookmark it, to get exact amount of calls, DB queries, bytes loaded, CPU load, as different from the full version. So you know details instead of in general.

This is for making intelligent decision as to what the visitor really needs to see.
 

jimsflies

New member
I've got a test board that I can run the baseline on, its on the same server. Would that be about the same as turning off hooks on the production forum?
 

Max Taxable

The Wyatt Earp of Anti-Spam
I've got a test board that I can run the baseline on, its on the same server. Would that be about the same as turning off hooks on the production forum?
Turning off hooks temporarily doesn't hurt a thing. You turn them off, run your baseline test then turn them back on. It won't damage or crash anything, it merely ensures that only native vBulletin code is ran. Template edits will still run, however and this is why you want to do this on the live site.

You want to do this on your live board, as a test board isn't the same installation.
 
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Max Taxable

The Wyatt Earp of Anti-Spam
If you want something to shoot for here's a couple of examples.

We wouldn't call Ozzy's site here, "plain Jane" would we? Nope, he's got it nicely modded, has alot of images showing on his rather long main page.... All that. Looks nice and all, looks bizzy. Looks like it might be a big, slow pageload right?

Ozzy's WebPageTest Results

For a well modded vB4 site this is splendid. Only 70 requests and only 435 KB loaded, total. You have single images bigger than that! His 6 second load time isn't that far off from just the native vB 4 out of the box.

Here's a well modded vB3.8 I modified and optimized for a fella:

MLB Fans WebPageTest

51 requests, 351kb and 1.7 seconds. And if you go look, you'll see alot of images and Mods working, it's not planey-Janey either.

Form and function Pal.
 
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Max Taxable

The Wyatt Earp of Anti-Spam
Here's the test with hooks off:
WebPagetest Test Result - Dulles : - 02/05/14 21:32:59

Some improvement from earlier....
WebPagetest Test Result - Dulles : - 02/05/14 21:36:48

But yeah... a lot more work to go.

How to get that first byte time down?
Your grade on that improved from a F to a D with hooks off....

The sheer volume of what you're loading - with hooks off you are still 1.2 MB. That's Megabytes - can often cause a server to respond slowly like that. It's one reason hosts suspend people.

Next thing to do is optimize the images I pointed out - the webpagetest site actually gives you the optimized images, for free. You'll be taking around 1 MB of load off just by doing that.
 
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jimsflies

New member
Fortunately, I haven't been suspended yet. :wacko:

When I get to a spot that I can move some files, I'll shave the images down a bit tonight. The first couple weeks of this upgrade have been spent trying to put the site back together and have links work like they did before.
 

Max Taxable

The Wyatt Earp of Anti-Spam
Fortunately, I haven't been suspended yet. :wacko:

When I get to a spot that I can move some files, I'll shave the images down a bit tonight. The first couple weeks of this upgrade have been spent trying to put the site back together and have links work like they did before.
Earlier where I posted the link to all your images, you will see that on the jpg images they have a link for analyzing them. Clicking that link produces the optimized images for you. They're provided. All we do is copy them to our computer, change the name of them to match what's on the server, and upload them to overwrite.

We don't have to mess with photoshop or any other photo editor, WebPageTest does this service for us.



A Kilobyte is 1000 bytes. A good number to shoot for as a total pageload is anywhere from 4-700 Kilobytes.

A Megabyte is 1 million bytes. A page load should never approach that.
 
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Max Taxable

The Wyatt Earp of Anti-Spam
It seems some of my worst offenders on the page are the banner ads.

700kb is "approaching 1MB"...right?
Right but you can't do anything about 3rd party sources, you can only fix your own stuff. This is why it is imperative to do it everywhere you can.

But you're starting to see, you have single images that are bigger than most decent entire pages!
 
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