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Technobabble: website performance

52

As of yesterday, most of the 'static content' on BlenderNation (images, CSS and Javascript files), is no longer served from our own webserver. Instead, we're now using a 'Content Delivery Network'. They have over 500 servers worldwide and automatically choose a server near you to get you the files.

It should speed up the website quite a bit, but it also costs quite a few dollars per month to run. So I'd like to ask you: did you notice any change in loading speed? Should we keep this?

About the Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.

52 Comments

  1. I dont notice a big difference in north germany. I always had good performance on BlenderNation maybe i'm close to the original server location.

  2. I did not notice any difference at all, too (South Germany here). As the servers are hosted in Amsterdam, the link is not that far away. But the content of blendernation is not so big anyways - do you really need a CDN?

  3. The difference of a few seconds isn't worth extra money outlay unless you're posting major, significant upgrades and expect many people to access the site for downloading the newer, cool stuff.

  4. I didn't notice any big improvements (Norway). Sometimes it's slow, but that's generally my network deliver's fault and not BN fault. But if the improvement helps other, than keep it ;)

  5. east coast usa here, no noticeable difference in loading.

    it's a tricky question: balancing site performance and traffic metrics.

    i don't know how much traffic you get, but appreciate the optimization efforts. for instance, your new service "minifies" the delivered html. very nice.

    on the other hand, there are other steps you could undertake yourself to optimize delivery that don't cost anything:

    javascript calls that can be moved out of the header and put right before i've found to be very helpful. as is minified javascript and css files.

  6. Outside Raleigh, NC, the speed-up has has been dramatic, from a few seconds (or several) to a second, but I'd never regarded Blendernation as a noticeably "problematic" site. If it's a financial hardship for you, I could go back to the way it was without thinking twice.

  7. Melbourne, Australia, here. No noticeable difference. Our servers are bad all up anyway, so that's no surprise. I wouldn't personally justify forking out for something that's a touch inconsistent worldwide.

  8. Hmm... now the "search" frames on the BlenderLinks page are only partially working... you can break out the first level of categories but you can't "drill down" into the actual subcategories any more. Is this related to the move?

    On the other hand, the AJAX Edit Comments feature is working again!!

  9. Maybe it seems a little bit faster from here, from Hungary. But I did not have any issues with speed hitherto. I think it's not worth spending on this. I'm sure you can use that money for better purposes.

  10. Fine now, fast enough before (didn't remember it being particularly slow nor fast).
    Maybe static content was properly cached by my browser ..

  11. From Slovakia. I think the website is maybe loading faster but it is not noticable. And I think it had a good before, never thought it was slow. Better go and buy your wife a necklace rather than making this website faster, or if you like buy my wife a necklace! :) And I don't think this website requires faster speeds.

  12. Here in Austria, I didn't have much issues with speed anyway... - there where problems with speed from time to time, which then usually turned to be on my end. When everything works fine on this end, the site loads blazing fast with or without that dirstribution service.
    So for me, it's not a requirement :)

  13. Hmm, from Haarlem, I don't notice any difference really, but then again with the original server being only 10 miles away it probably has to come from further away now ^^

  14. Colorado, wasn't bad at all before, definitely faster now though. For me right now I'd put it as one if not the fastest sites I've visited in a while excluding Google. but then, I tend to frequent a lot of minor sites, and avoid the big nastier companies like facebook. :P my take away is that if it isn't a financial strain go for it, but I'm not going to be bothered much if BN doesn't load instantaneously.

    Keep up the great work Bart!

  15. so. california usa..........pages load up swiftly now....before i would usually get a page error when clicking on the link a to a new posting, 'saying that this page does not exist'. But now i don't get that error, just a quick loading page! :)
    thanks!

  16. Juan Dario Rodas (JuanD) on

    Hi! Not big difference here in Colombia, South America. I never had problems with the speed of the site, but with the embedded content from hostings like vimeo o Youtube, you know, maybe some low network priority for streaming content in my ISP. I agree with Nathan, If you ROI is OK... Keep it!

  17. western US here. Didn't see any significantly higher speed. Wasn't really slow here to begin with though. Unless it was seriously slow in other places, I'd say save the money and put it to private or Blender use.

  18. To be honest, I didn't notice. However, on second thought, it looks snappier now, although the performance wasn't dismal to begin with.

  19. Now we're at it can I complain about the fact that the Ajax Edit Comment load takes what seems an eternity? Isn't Ajax supposed to improve the performance of a website?

  20. Didn't notice any significant difference here in the UK. If it costs money that the Blender Institute can't really afford, then scrap it! But since the Blender Institute's funding sources are a complete mystery to me, then perhaps you can afford it? Who knows?

  21. Oh Bart, burning 'quite a few dollars per month' to get a few milliseconds faster website response? Well good for the economy I guess, but 'quite a few dollars per month' sounds more than 5 dollar per month. If it saves you more bandwidth cost then its ok. I wonder however what effect it has on the speed, I mean a few images and ascii files take that much time? More time than going through some geo-location hoop, redirecting to another server, loading from there?

    @Reaction: BlenderNation is not connected to Blender Institute.

  22. I'm in The Netherlands (Limburg), and BlenderNation always felt pretty responsive!
    Even if there was a difference, it didn't 'feel' any slower than now, as far I notice!
    ....not that it feels 'slow' now, it doesn't....ah, language...you get what I mean! ;-)

  23. well, I've noticed it's been running at good speed for a few days, which is actually strangely consistent and stable... ;) lol, I often had trouble loading the pages, sometimes they'd just time-out and I'd have to start over, with the same result :)

    ...knock on wood though, you never know ;)

    Go BlenderNationsDevs!

  24. Hi Bart, I didn't really notice, but for some reason the original setup was never slow enough for me to notice either - I'm in North America, but perhaps it is due to luck or my browsing pattern.
    Great site either way :)

  25. no, not really an improvement.
    On the other hand I realized that the links in the RSS feed to the BlenderNation articles are know through feedproxy.google.com. This wasn't before.
    Is this kind of the deal? Google's collecting click data? ;-)

  26. Hi Bart - I've noticed a slight improvement in speed but I'm seeing one issue. When I'm navigating around the site (say click on an article, then click the header to get back to the main page) I always seem to be getting cached versions of the page and they can be quite significantly out of date. Hit F5 to force a refresh brings down a current copy.

    I thought it might be a config issue on my end, but it only seem to start with the introduction of the CDN and I've seen it on Firefox on two different machines and IE on one of those same machines.

    Another example is if I post a comment, when it brings me back to the thread the comment isn't there. I have to go back to the article list, re-enter the article, then hit F5 to refresh and see my comment - I suspect hitting F5 immediately would re-post the comment!

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