Open Thread: Site Slowness

Has anyone else noticed that this site seems to have gotten dramatically slower in the past week or two?

Lately, it’s been taking me minutes to load even the simplest administration pages. When I load the front page or other public parts of the site, it seems somewhat better, but still slower than it used to be. This has happened to me logging in from multiple locations, and I haven’t noticed a comparable slowdown in any other website I visit.

If you’ve experienced this also, please leave a comment and let me know. I’m going to open a support ticket with my host.

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About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • MS (Quixote)

    Much slower…slower to get into, slower to move around in.

  • MisterDomino

    Yes, YES! I thought that it was just my computer, but I’m experiencing what my generation colorfully refers to as “mad slowness, B!”

    …forgive the generational gap.

  • hb531

    Yes, much slower since last week. I just figured you became more popular in the blogosphere.

  • OMGF

    I’ve experienced slowness on multiple computers from multiple sites. Sometimes the page doesn’t even load at all and I have to refresh just to get anything on the screen.

  • Alan


  • Ebonmuse

    I have been getting high traffic this month, actually. I’ve been averaging over 5000 hits per day, which is a record. Even so, that’s barely two hundred hits an hour. That’s hardly an avalanche, and even if it’s the cause of the slowdown, it shouldn’t be this pronounced.

  • InTheImageOfDNA

    I’ve really just noticed the sluggishness today. It took almost a minute just for the comments on this thread to load.

  • mlspoolboy

    Same. Very slow. I hope you can get some satisfaction from your service.

  • Wayne K-M

    Hi Adam, yes I have noticed lately that the site is slower to load and navigate.

  • Chicken Girl

    I usually read your posts through Thunderbird or Planet Atheism, so I hadn’t noticed, but yes, the site is loading slowly.

  • Jamie G.

    no problems on my end….up in about 5 seconds

  • Mrnaglfar

    Me too

  • Jim Baerg

    I’ve certainly noticed the problem. I guess the internet gods hate atheists;^)

    BTW I’m using Firefox. Just in case the browser used makes a difference.

  • emkay

    Yup, slow as molasses, takes about 30 seconds or more to connect and then maybe 15 more to fully load the page. Using Firefox and DSL.

  • Greta Christina

    Yes. I started noticing it either yesterday or today (can’t remember which). It takes a little longer to load your site and to navigate around in it, and this morning I couldn’t get onto it at all for a while.

    I’m using Firefox, if that helps.

  • nfpendleton

    I’ve noticed the slowness. My recent attempts at posting have failed because the page took too long to load and bombed out.

  • Trung

    I have noticed this as well. Have you ruled out the possibility of a malicious hacker?

  • Alex Weaver

    I’ve noticed a problem with occasional requests timing out or taking a minute or more, but I haven’t noticed a consistent pattern of slowness. Then again, I’m usually working in several windows at once, so…

  • BlackSun

    Yes it has been slow. Last 3 weeks or so.

  • Lynet

    I haven’t noticed. I guess I’m an anomaly.

  • 2-D Man

    Lynet, let’s be anomalies together. I haven’t noticed anything wrong.

  • Mark

    I think it was this site that I’ve experienced significant slowness on recently, although coming to it now from Planet Atheism, it loaded fairly quickly.

    For the record, I’m using IE7.

  • Brit-nontheist

    Can’t say I’ve found it any slower than normal, though since I only found your site in the past couple of months, maybe I’m partly to blame!

  • Peter

    Two minutes, four seconds to be presented with a blank page. Trimmed the URL to go straight to the home page and it took another minute and a half to get there.

    FWIW, I’m based in the UK and using Firefox. And as I write this, the page is still loading…

    Good luck…

  • Penguin_Factory

    Slowness? No, the site is loading just as fast as always for me.

  • mikespeir

    It’s horrible! Many has been the time recently when I’ve just given up and gone elsewhere.

  • James B

    I’ve occasionally found it slow to respond to making a comment (sometimes the page reloads slowly as I do so, other times the comment doesn’t appear until hours later.

    In general though it has loaded quite quickly in the last few days for me. Perhaps those of us on the other side of the globe are either:
    1. Visiting at non-peak times (for the US).
    2. Actually getting the site from a regional cache.

  • Wedge

    Very slow for me. US, Arizona, if that has anything to do with it. Using Netscape.

  • Stargazer1323

    I have also noticed a significant slowdown, no matter when I visit. I hope you can figure out what’s wrong!

  • Ingersoll’s Revenge

    I’m on a Mac using Safari and I have experienced slow loading times as well.

  • XanderG

    Nope, no slowness I’ve noticed. Everything has opened normal speed. Using Mac Tiger, and Safari 3.1.

  • the chaplain

    Yes, it’s been very slow. I hope you can get it fixed.

  • Dominic Self

    Just to add to the anomaly brigade: it’s fine here, as far as I can tell! (UK, IE7)

  • Susan B.

    Using Safari on a Mac–I’ve found it very slow, but it’s hard to tell for sure because my school’s network is having a problem and about half the sites I try to access appear this slow. Daylight Atheism has been consistently slow, though. Hope you can fix it soon!

  • David D.G.

    I’m using Internet Explorer, and I haven’t been seeing any problems. Good luck getting your difficulties ironed out.

    By the way, I just found your site a week or so ago, and I’ve been VERY impressed. Keep up the excellent work!

    ~David D.G.

  • jack

    Yes, it seems slower than normal to me, especially when I click to see the comments page. That can take about a minute to load.

  • AC

    I get occasional extreme slowness (the page basically won’t load) – but it seems to be for very brief periods – If the site is slow, I can come back in a minute or two and refresh at normal speed. (Firefox, UK, etc.)

  • Polly

    I’ve noticed the slowness for several days, now. Sometimes, I had to give up and just check back to the site another time after it took longer than several minutes for the page to load.

  • Stephen

    Another recruit to the anomaly brigade: it’s fine here in the Netherlands. Maybe it goes slow during the North American evening?

  • JoshH

    Same here.

  • goyo

    Yes, it has been very slow for the last two weeks. And that’s logging in from different computers.

  • Karen

    Have been having lots of both problems getting the site up and navigating through the posts. Using Firefox from Southern California.

  • KShep

    Absolutely slower…….has been for several weeks. I’m not computer savvy enough to know a possible cost.

  • Crotch

    Seems same as usual for me, but I’m on dial-up, so everything is slow for me.

  • Nes

    I’m also on dial-up, so everything’s slow for me too, but I do notice the page occasionally doesn’t load. Sometimes it will load, but the stuff on the right (recent posts/comments, must read posts, etc.) doesn’t load: it’s replaced with a bunch of MySQL code or something, and an error about the server or connection timing out (printed on the page as part of that MySQL stuff, not in a message box). A refresh usually fixes either problem. Other than that, I’d say at least 50+% of the time it goes normally (for dial-up).

  • Nes

    Ok, posting that comment took about 5x longer than it should (read: has in the past), even with dial-up.

  • Crotch

    I’m also on dial-up, so everything’s slow for me too, but I do notice the page occasionally doesn’t load. Sometimes it will load, but the stuff on the right (recent posts/comments, must read posts, etc.) doesn’t load: it’s replaced with a bunch of MySQL code or something, and an error about the server or connection timing out (printed on the page as part of that MySQL stuff, not in a message box). A refresh usually fixes either problem. Other than that, I’d say at least 50+% of the time it goes normally (for dial-up).

    That hadn’t happened to me… until I checked back in five minutes ago. Curses!

    And don’t get me started on trying to load the Slacktivist “Left Behind” archives…

  • hb531

    Have the server request logs checked for possible signs of a DOS (denial of service) attack. You would have a high frequency of requests coming from the same IP address (thousands per minute, etc). You can also check with your hosting provider and see if they are having bandwidth issues in general.

  • terrence

    this is weird —- some days yes yes very slow, other days, just fine….WTF? But then….doesn’t SATAN sow confusion???

  • RiddleOfSteel

    50 seconds for Daylight Atheism home page to first appear. Another 25 seconds for the page to fully load. Don’t recall it taking that long in the past but I have been away a few months. I have DSL and am not experiencing the slowness when accessing other web sites. Seems localized to your site.

  • Douglas Paulsen

    On a related note, I often read RSS feeds on my cell phone while riding the train. Your site rarely works, as I usually time out. This has occurred for far longer than the site has been slow though, like the last 4 or 5 months. Not sure you can do anything about it…


  • random guy

    Thought Experiment:

    If you get 5000 hits a day isn’t asking if anyone else is experiencing slowness just going to guarantee that people who, for different reasons, have experienced slowness on the website respond yes, thus giving you a conformation bias for a problem that might not exist?

    Given such a large sample size and 30-40 yes comments, doesn’t that mean slowness is statistically insignificant? (of course this assumes that everyone experiencing slowness has reported it)

    I haven’t experienced any slowness that wasn’t directly related to my own downloading, so no for me.

  • L Delaney

    The site responded much more quickly today. Everything worked normally.

  • Ngeli

    The site was doubleplusunfast when I tried loading it today! It reminded me of the good(?) old days of 14.4 modems. :/

  • http://www.yunshui.wordpress.ocom yunshui

    It’s still very sluggish for me – using Internet Explorer. Seems fine on my Firefox connection on a different computer, though.

  • Tanapangarap

    I haven’t experienced any notable slow down. I’m using Verizon DSL.

  • Brock

    doesn’t SATAN sow confusion???

    Let’s hope it’s that and not a sign from gawd.

    Just to add one to the statistics, Yes, I’ve noticed a slowdown.

  • Aspentroll

    Maybe god has tried to shut you down, you black-hearted sinner. (HEE, Hee)
    Naw, can’t be that, god is imaginary and why would HE try and shut you down when he didn’t do anything about 9-l1 or any other atrocity that has happen in the past 2000 years. Maybe you should use a registry cleaning program.

  • Kevin Morgan

    Absolutely! I stopped visiting after a couple of days out of frustration. Just sits there “loading…” with nothing happening.

  • exrelayman

    A half-fast site?

    Today was very slow compared to past experience.

    Maybe if we all prayed about this?

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Had to close and reopen twice the page twice in the last three days.

  • Ebonmuse

    It’s been a few days; here’s an update.

    I contacted my host, who claimed they ran some tests and didn’t detect any database connectivity problems. They had me run a traceroute to my site, and when I showed them the results, they said the problem was that my internet connection had high latency, and that I should contact my ISP.

    This explanation was obviously not the correct one. First of all, there are the many people in this thread who’ve also noticed the same problem. Second, I’ve also noticed this problem logging in to my site from a different location and a different ISP. Third, what the traceroute actually showed was that no packets were dropped until the probes reached my host’s network. The server running my site, in fact, has shown better than 50% packet loss in responding to pings, which would certainly explain the slowness that so many of you have experienced.

    As you can imagine, I’m not thrilled at being given the run-around. Personally, I’m inclined to suspect that the shared server on which my site runs has been set up to host more sites than it can reasonably support, and either its outgoing bandwidth or its CPU is saturated. I wrote back to my host with these points, and at last notice, they said my message had been relayed to their “advanced technical support team”. I’m hopeful that that means it’s being investigated by someone who actually has the power to fix this problem. I’ll give them a few days, and if I get no satisfaction, then I’m going to explore alternate hosting options for Daylight Atheism.

  • Chronos

    If it matters, I’m having the same problems. Loading each page takes nearly a minute for me.

    I’m using Comcast from San Francisco (ARIN block Ping doesn’t show any packet loss, average round-trip-time is 32.571ms (pretty normal), traceroute isn’t being terribly informative but nothing abnormal. It doesn’t look like a network problem at all.

    Using a packet sniffer to time things, the traffic appears very bursty. The TCP handshake is almost instant, and data packets are immediately ACKed, which is good. This means the network is in good shape, and the OS kernel is responding in a timely manner. However, the lag between the request packet and the “200 OK” is over 4 seconds, and the data stalled for 32 seconds shortly after that. In total, the page took 68 seconds to load from SYN to FIN, which is outrageous. Only about 1 second of that was actual transmission across the network; the other 67 seconds of delay was the browser waiting for the webserver to continue.

    Looking more closely at the transmission, there were a ridiculous number of tiny packets. Saving a copy of your index page to a remote webserver of mine and fetching it from there, I required 245 total packets (590 byte packets, 524 byte payloads). Requesting it directly from your server, I required 316 packets. A majority were of normal size (again, 590 byte packets, 524 byte payloads), but 23 were under 200 bytes (134 byte payloads) and 8 were under 100 bytes (34 byte payloads). One was actually 68 bytes (2 byte payload) and another was 67 bytes (1 byte payload)!

    These are unbelievably tiny packets. This tells me that output buffering is turned off on your host’s copy of PHP; the first thing I would do is ask your hosting company to make sure that “output_buffering = 4096″ is set in php.ini, because those tiny packets are hurting both your website and their network infrastructure. There’s probably more than that going on as well; I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a runaway process on the webserver machine. The burstiness and inconsistency suggest that things are swapping to disk, which no production webserver should ever do.

    I’ve saved the packet capture and made it available on my personal webserver if you need evidence to convince them. It’s in libpcap format, so any reasonable packet sniffing program (Wireshark, tcpdump, etc.) should be able to read it. For comparison, I also saved an example of what the packet capture should look like.

  • Ebonmuse

    Thank you for your work, Chronos. I appreciate it greatly.

    I may have some news to report on this situation. Follow-up thread to be posted shortly.