My #1 Favorite Website Monitoring Tool

Now in the spirit of sharing good cheer to our friends and partners in need, I have to take a minute to say a big THANK YOU to the services offered by Pingdom over the years. I’m always recommending to people that they sign up for your website monitoring plans, but I’m never making much progress towards bringing you a closed deal.

This last month, I was investigating a Website that was utterly broken. As soon as I got it fixed, I started focusing on the widespread performance issues that the site was facing. There were no single problems that were causing a 14-16 second page load, but it was about a dozen medium-scale mistakes that were putting a major drag on my quick fixes.

I’ve always claimed that it’s ridiculous to try to fix a performance problem unless you have cold hard evidence to support and quantify the performance issue at hand. It was funny, I was running around trying to fix things the good old fashioned way – a thorough review of EVERYTHING, and my client kept piping up:

But Aaron, these three pages are horribly slow

Anxious Client

It wasn’t for a full half a day labor that I had metrics to confirm his assertion that these three pages were the slowest ones around. Yeah, the images needed to be resized. But sometimes a simple image resizing issue keeps coming back to bite you, and sometimes you’ve just got to throw up your hand and proclaim:

Of Course These Images Look Horrible, they are clearly too wide for their container. 3 images that are 400px each are being downconverted to a MUCH smaller size because 3 images with all the padding, margins and borders CLEARLY didn’t fit into a container that I’m guessing was 1050 pixels wide.

After a day of repeating problems with the SAME IMAGES still being too low of a resolution.

Sometimes, there just isn’t an easy answer. Thank goodness that I am always an absolute NOT about taking a good backup before I change anything. And once I have a GOOD backup then I start searching for a GREAT backup until I can find the PERFECT backup and migration strategy. That was my diagnosis after about an hour. Look, I can run this EXACT same website on my VPS and the performance is TEN TIMES FASTER.

This brings us to a different article:

THE GOLDEN RULES ABOUT WEBSITE PERFORMANCE

So, back to the discussion at hand. I ended up finding not just 1 but 60 different php.ini files in this simple wordpress install. Every config file was jacked up to 256mb of memory per process, and again, I don’t see that memory allocation as FITTING on a server with only 512mb of ram.

I don’t know what I would do if I was forced to use a Shared Server environment like the bare-bottom service available from GoDaddy.

In looking at this performance available from MediaTemple (a subsidiary of GoDaddy along the last decade) it immediately stood out as a DECENT control panel that had cool features. But it was stuck using Php 7.2 which I think is out of support the end of this year?

I lied, it was actually previously announced that Php 7.2 end of life has already occurred. And for a web hosting company to ONLY OFFER an unsupported version of Php, that is a drag. My hosting platform already supports php 8, but I’m going to refrain from testing in production, I’ll spin up a dedicated VPS to benchmark it. But I’m not expecting a huge spike in throughput with Php 8.0. It seems like it introduces a lot of cool developer-friendly features like being able to NAME your arguments, (gosh that seems like such a basic feature, I’ve been doing that in MSSQL for 25 years now).

I’ll do SOME custom Php dev to horse around, get my feet wet. And then I’ll probably try to install a plugin that does NOT support php8 and see what WordPress does. I’m going to be REALLY disappointed if WordPress can’t minimize or alleviate this occurrence. I just guess that it needs to be tested, and i’ll share the findings not just with WordPress Developers, but with my precious hosting control panel.

Talking about my favorite Hosting Control panel, I’m going to have a hard time NOT growing from 2 to 4 VPS this month, but those will just be a couple of days of quick tests and then flatten and retire. It’s called Guerilla Development when you HAVE TO rent a VPS because you’re too poor to run Virtualization Software at your home office.

I’m DYING to order some new Ram, and to purchase some used stuff on Craigslist. I’ve been falling in LOVE with some of the 24-core Servers ive found. They’re not perfect, but 24 cores and 48gb of ram, I don’t foresee any problem trying to spin up a couple of Hadoop VMs and check out what I’ve missed since 2017. Every day is a journey into the great unknown. And every day I get to play in the computer world, it’s like a dream come true.

Who knows, maybe someday I’ll start doing construction work or something along those lines and not be AVAILABLE to try and resurrect my career. (not entirely likely, but I’m passionately pretending that I’ve got a fighting chance on every sale and every proposal).

Moving up the list of my next highest priority. I’ll discuss that in a seperate couple of blog posts. I’m REALLY going to need to syndicate everything back into the ‘Best Of Aaron’ blog somewhere so I can keep it all straight.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my writing, if not.. let me know.

My Facebook ban is going to expire in a mere 10 hours, so I’m going to go try to find a beer, sleep it off, and then the start of ‘Operation Barbarossa Part II, the REVENGE’.

Gosh, I hate Facebook. I hope they get split into FIFTY baby Facebooks, one for each state.