Yes, dear readers, we know the site is not performing well for some of you. I’m hoping you will bear this with some patience once I give you the background.
Two weeks ago, we had two bad crashes, both after 5:00 AM when site traffic was low. This meant it almost certainly had to do with WordPress rather than our servers (which a 24/7 webhost runs) particularly since I called them, nothing had fallen over on their end and rebooting the site didn’t fix anything. The result each time was I didn’t get to bed until 8 AM or so each time, plenty upset because I could not raise my WP guy (who has staff and does work a long day but not 24/7) and as a result slept badly and got pretty sick that weekend (in bed a full 16 hours Saturday and 14 hours on Sunday, among other things leading me to turn down the opportunity to appear on Chris Hayes’ show).
He did some tweaking but that plus installing some plug-ins seems to have caused problems with comments (we also had new problems with the backstage but those seem to have been resolved). We’ve also determined we need someone who can be 24/7 but we don’t have a solution yet (or even references save WordPress VIP, which I should call but I have a prejudice against buying IBM, so I probably won’t do it until I have at least one other option for comparison purposes). We’ve had some chats with people who have sites that run traffic like ours or a low single digit multiple higher, and the word we get back is they are unhappy too. Our webhost, who runs a fair number of pretty high traffic sites, said basically that WordPress is the problem, and the only company he knew that provided really reliable service was in the $100,000 per year range.
I’m sure some of you either have blogs or know of bloggers who run sites on WP and have tech guys they are happy with. But please refer them only they have run multiple sites with 2 million page views or more per month and can provide 24/7 support. WP does not scale well, and running WP does not mean you know how to run WP on a high traffic site. I’m in the awkward size range where the site does not generate enough for me to be able to pay for full time tech employees, and third party providers don’t seem at all well equipped to handle sites in the 1 million page views a month and up traffic range.
As for current anomalies, to help us isolate problems, since most readers are able to access the site and post comments, we need you to give us sufficient detail. One thing users have difficulty understanding is that we can’t see what you see. So when you make a statement like “My comment didn’t post” all it does is produce is anxiety on our end, since it’s not detailed enough for us to figure out what is happening. Before filing a bug report, please clear your browser’s cache and cookies. Often, that will clear the problem up. Then, to do any serious debugging we need:
1. Ideally the comment text (to make sure that the comment didn’t get caught by a filter and queued). You do keep a copy of your comments before posting them, right?
2. The error message that WP gives — “Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!” for example. If there’s no message, say there’s no message
3. Your operating system with version (Windows 7, OS X 10.5.1 , Ubuntu 11.10, etc).
4. Your browser with version (Firefox 10.3.2)
5. Your platform: Computer, phone, iPad
If it’s any consolation, this is much more painful for Lambert and me than it is for you. And I’m out of town at a conference through Wednesday evening, so I can’t do much to advance the ball till later in the week. Thanks for your patience!