As I have documented extensively over the last three days, cncpics.com has been causing me a lot of grief. To re-cap, the mega post of photo’s combined with a failed cron job several weeks ago combined in a ‘perfect storm’ to seriously annoy the godaddy network admins.
I had three choices.
1 – find a new and inexpensive host and hope that they would be able to deal with the traffic that came their way.
2 – give up and walk away from something that I have put serious time/effort and passion into for many years
3 – do it correctly and get a (virtual) dedicated server to handle the load and fix the issues.
Obviously I chose to walk away from it. NOT.
Initially, because it was cheap and had a good reputation, I created a domain on a basic hosting platform using Siteground, they are a lot more techno than GoDaddy and I thought that it might me a risk going to them, but for under $20 it was worth a shot. Initially it seemed that this may just be the right host, PHP5 support would allow me to move to Gallery 3 and the control panel is full of cool stuff.
Problems with the database restore should have told me that I was wrong, but the curve-ball of getting an old backup from godaddy threw me and I pretty much worked through the night last night.
When I finally got the site up with the last two weeks of images loaded, the impact of the viewers from around the world simply swamped the poor host and they throttled the scripts.
In short they are a great host, but not tough enough, I will be using the hosting space for this blog and my personal sites once I have got my new host up and running.
So, my new host…..
Following some advice on fatwallet.com I am now the proprietor of an extremely cool Virtual Dedicated Server. I am not going to say where just yet as I want them to prove that they can handle the traffic before I give them a shout out, but I certainly got a ‘deal’.
Initial impressions are very, very very good indeed.
The MYSQL database that took ‘all night’ to create last night on siteground took 4 minutes and 15 seconds here.
Approximately 120 times faster.
FTP is uploaded at a solid 1.4MB vs 240KB on the old host.
But the best part is that we are no longer worried too much about processor and memory use unless we try to exceed the apportioned amounts.
So, the new URL that I am building on is cncpicsarchive.com all other domains point here.
As I intimated with the title of this post, I have learnt a lot during this fiasco.
I found several ways of interacting with a remote SQL database, running Linux (and I presume other OS’s) and having access to mysql ‘locally’ allows me to experiment with the database creation and even the dumping of data. In order to keep the import transactions manageable and not consume too much processor time on a single activity I was able to write sql that dumped the data in blocks of 10k records.
Secondly I realized that our current strategy is probably horribly wrong.
let me explain.
Currently the three of us have uploaded the majority of the photographs that we take. We also upload them at full resolution in order for potential buyers to get the full version.
Except we do not really sell many shots.
So why do we need to upload at full resolution for the small percentage of shots we sell ?
How about we change our stratedgy ?
I think that having the commercial aspect is potentially hurting, so I intend to stop selling and start giving away.
Up to 1600xnnnn will be free and will also be the highest resolution that is available. Simply setting the available sizes to 800, 1200 and 1600 should account for the vast majority of desktops and will allow people to get a free wallpaper of any car that they like from cars and coffee.
Increased traffic, less commercial, have I gone crazy ?
While I have been hammering away getting this site up and running again, it occurred to me that I enjoy the site and the show and I am not in this to make money. The google adverts make money, not proper, serious money, but I would rather that the visitors that are interested in the ads would fund the site than someone that randomly wants a nice wallpaper.
So, that is the plan.
Smaller, faster uploads pre-sized to 1600xnnn, removal of the cart a new, clean watermark (currently broken) and free wallpapers for all.
Oh and at some point I will get some sleep too…..