Site Upgrade - Why is GMTC slower than it used to be?

Discussion in 'Announcements & Feedback' started by ChevyFan, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan The Sheriff Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I started this website in late 2004 when I needed to find information on my Trailblazer and I didn't see any good online Chevy communities. It started as a hobby, then turned into a passion.

    Several major upgrades have been made over the years. None of them have been easy, but until recently I have not second-guessed my decisions to move forward in order to advance the community.

    Here's some history on the site, followed by my thoughts on the current site slowdown that we're all experiencing.

    The early days of

    My background is in web design and marketing, so I started out with some of the simple open-source website packages that I tweaked myself. It was PostNuke and phpBB2, which Postnuke isn't even around anymore.

    In late 2006, after struggling to make the site advance like I wanted to, a large move was made to vBulletin 3.

    It took a week to move over, but the end result was a full-featured forum that was the framework for the GMTC website that still exists today. Yes, it changed over time - we redid the style a few times, added in blogs, photo galleries, user-experience bars, arcade games, and just tried to make a strong community.

    The People make the community

    What really mattered was that we have strong user-generated content and activity. Plus, we don't have flame wars, no name calling or personal attacks, no 3rd grade stuff ... just a solid forum that was very attractive to a lot of people.

    It worked. We used to get 10 visitors per day, now somedays we see 10,000.

    Recent GMTC Upgrade to vBulletin 4.0 - can you say SLOW?

    So, in an effort to move the site forward and in-pace with current standards, I made the descion to move from the very stable vBulletin 3.8.6 to vBulletin 4.0 CMS system.

    Some of what I was hoping for when doing this upgrade.
    - Improved Articles section on the front page
    - Better ability to include other pages into the front-end
    - Faster system!(HAH!)
    - Improved optimization for search engines
    - Better use of widgets for sidebars
    - Easier text editors with more features and functions
    - Better way to upload large photos to each account
    - Easier to attach photos and files to each post
    - etc, etc, etc

    The features on the demo sites are pretty impressive, but there are some bugs (all software has bugs) and some slowdown issues. I figured I could work through those issues and find a way to get the site to run faster pretty quickly.

    Online Communities in revolt against vBulletin 4

    After nearly a month - many of the issues still exist, and vBulletin has really not been very responsive in fixing issues that thousands of site owners are complaining about. On a technical note, we used to see server loads around 1.5, now they are 3.5 to 4.3, so we're hammering the server a lot harder than we used to.

    The problem is that vBulletin was created by a company called Jelsoft out of the UK, beginning around 2000. They were bought by Internet Brands a couple of years ago, who's trying to make money off the software. That means that they are trying to make a profit and keep costs down. They're not interested in trying to make the best product, that's my conclusion.

    It's been reported that top developers have left vBulletin and have taken their talents to other companies, including Invision Power Board. A lot of vBulletin site owners are just fed up with the slowdown on vBulletin and have moved over to IPB as they have really done a nice job improving their product.

    Even though I invested $600+ in vBulletin 4 I am thinking of doing the same thing.

    So, that's where we are at - Feedback, thoughts, ideas, comments, concerns?

    I know that the current site is slower than it used to be. I also know that some people understand that and can live with it as an annoyance, and some people want it to change back to the way that it used to be.

    I'm very hesitant to revert back to vBulletin 3.8 (the old site) becuase I have done a lot of code changes and even DNS changes to re-route the website to what it it now. That would take 20+ hours to revert and then I would still need to move to something else to keep up with industry standards for what a forum needs to be.

    I am very interested in working with vBulletin to see if we can get the site working faster - I might even hire a consultant to help me on this.

    I am also very interested in taking a look at IPB and seeing if that's the right move for the site. I invite all members to go to and take a look.

    In any case, I thought I would share my thoughts with everyone as to the current un-satisfactory state of the website. Feel free to leave comments as we can all work through this together to get the site back on track.
  2. murdog94

    murdog94 Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    Well steve let me start out with THIS SITE ROCKS, mabey not the current slower than normal format, but the site itself, and i appreciate the work that you have put in along with the other mods if i am correct? to make a great place to shoot the breeze with, also to get and try to give advice when i can.

    But the new layout is bloody SLOW.... I know nothing about software hardware etc.. But it seems that every day it is getting slower, mainly when i am trying to upload a comment, or go to a forum. Also it seems that the layout of the buttons for different parts of the site overlap or just plain dont work (IE clicking on the last page of a thread) I know this is a glitch but it seemed to get better after you were alerted to it and then it has been creeping back in. Is that a Vbulletin thing or is it just my imagination?
    Either way you decide to move the site im on board. since it took me a while to get used to the new format but i have come to like it for the most part. Ill just learn as we go.
    Also i saw a post that the server was full again already? well i guess the site is growing faster.
  3. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan The Sheriff Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Thanks, it's a lot of work. All of the code is me, but the mods have been helping to make the content useful and well organized, killing spammers that hit the site all the time, etc.

    For server speed there are a few issues. 1) Bandwidth. 2) Hard Drive space. 3) CPU Speed. These are the big three to look at. Our bandwidth is something like 200 GB per month, so that's quite a bit of bandwidth, but it's not super-huge crazy so we can't handle it. The Hard drive space is ok, but we need to keep expanding that to hold the database and all of the photos on here. The CPU speed is killing us. The new version of vbulletin is not optimized in the way that it's coded, so it's doing a huge amount of database queries, this is killing performance as the CPU is being run upwards of 80% capacity for hours on end.

    The word on the street is that vBulletin just doesn't have it anymore, they're not being innovative, they're just keeping their product alive to cash out and make a profit. IP.Board, on the other hand, is a hungry company trying to make awesome software ... probably so they too can be bought out by a large public company, I dunno.
  4. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy All hail the Mad King!! Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Looks like the site is slowing down again on us. Page loads for me are taking a solid 5-7 seconds. Looks like there's still some tweaks to be done.

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