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Why I think this board is so slow.
Old 10-29-2007, 07:38 PM   #1
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Why I think this board is so slow.

I've never seen an ad on this discussion board. Never. I even had to compare screen shots with another user to figure out where the ads are supposed to go.

I've tried to log out to determine if I'll see ads as a guest, but my cookies file still has an entry in it from the various server & software moves. Something keeps auto-logging me in each time I return to the forum-- even after assuring me that I'm logged out. I haven't figured out where the cookie is hidden and rooted it out.

Every time I've gone to a forum page, there's a delay of at least 3-4 seconds until it loads. Sometimes that delay is as long as 10 seconds. Browsing this website is an experience more akin to dialup than DSL.

I spent a couple weeks logging tracert pings and discussing other possible ISP issues with the admins, but then I went on travel with a laptop and experienced the same behavior with free WiFi & hotel networks. (I have the same cookies on all computers.) I've even experimented with my neighbor's network because he doesn't pick very good passwords. Regardless of the bandwidth or the service provider the board's behavior is the same. I don't think it's my ISP and I don't think it's that scrawny little fiber between Hawaii and the Mainland.

I've finally figured out that the site loads briskly upon my browser until it gets to the upper ad-display part of the screen. On my PC, whether it's my desktop or a laptop, DSL or someone else's network, everything halts while E-R.org waits for the ad pitch.

I'm no expert, but I'm beginning to think it's a combination of my IE6.0 WinXP firewall and Google's ad server. I think that Google's servers are attempting to load ads every time I go to a page of the board and the board obligingly waits until Google is finished. The problem is that Google isn't getting a response from my computer-- no open ports or even a notification that a port is closed or any other sort of acknowledgement. Google just keeps pinging away until it times out, gives up, and returns control to the E-R.org board-- which finally finishes loading the page.

So, admins, is this how it's supposed to work? If so, then how does this stop? How do we tell the E-R.org software to not wait on Google every single time I move to a different page of the board? I'm not enthused about messing with my firewall and I'd like to stop Easter-egging confirm the process before I figure out a way to speed things up...
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:18 PM   #2
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If you use firefox you can use a plugin called AdBlock and the google ads won't load at all.
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CybrMike View Post
If you use firefox you can use a plugin called AdBlock and the google ads won't load at all.
Well, they don't load now, either.

Does that mean Firefox/AdBlock will somehow persuade E-R.org to stop waiting for Google to get a response from my IP address?
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:30 PM   #4
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Well, that may explain why periodically, I get a message that the site is not available. Even after having just read a message. Clicking on my favorites again, brings the site up right away and I can continue.

Mind you, I haven't been following the 'time-outs' nearly as closely as Nords.

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Old 10-29-2007, 08:37 PM   #5
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Now that you mention it, Nords, I notice a definite hang-time while the display ad at the top loads. My home Mac with adblock Plus doesn't seem to have that problem.
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:58 PM   #6
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How are you currently blocking the ads?
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:17 PM   #7
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I'm getting this page in ~ 2-3 seconds on a refresh with adblocking, and roughly 3-4 seconds with the ads not blocked.

This is on Camino (a FireFox variant for the Mac). I had adblocking on becuase of some other really obnoxious ads at other sites I visited. These google ads don't bother me much, but adblocking does not seem to be a site-specific thing, at least on Camino (pop-up blocking is specific)

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Old 10-29-2007, 09:26 PM   #8
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Does anyone know of a reasonably priced website analysis firm that can test the site from various locations on various systems in a scientific way to give us the input needed to clearly identify the problem. If it's Google, I'll need to give them your input to see if they can do anything to speed things up. If it's SK servers then I will know that and work at making them faster.

Another idea would be to disable JavaScript on your browser and test. The Google code is pulled in via JavaScript and maybe blocking that will cause the page to not render those parts of the HTML and speed up your experience.
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy R View Post
Does anyone know of a reasonably priced website analysis firm that can test the site from various locations on various systems in a scientific way to give us the input needed to clearly identify the problem. If it's Google, I'll need to give them your input to see if they can do anything to speed things up. If it's SK servers then I will know that and work at making them faster.

Another idea would be to disable JavaScript on your browser and test. The Google code is pulled in via JavaScript and maybe blocking that will cause the page to not render those parts of the HTML and speed up your experience.
Alertra Website Monitoring Service will give you load times of your site from servers all over the US and world. It will not tell you which section is hanging things up though. Just enter your URL in the box on the upper right corner of the screen. Its Free to check that.
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Old 10-29-2007, 10:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CybrMike View Post
Alertra Website Monitoring Service will give you load times of your site from servers all over the US and world. It will not tell you which section is hanging things up though. Just enter your URL in the box on the upper right corner of the screen. Its Free to check that.
Thanks, cool service I have it book marked. Unfortunately that is just a small sample test that probably does not take into account page rendering time which could be different then the amount of time needed to download the HTML and images. According to that report the server is dishing out pages pretty quick.

This Web Page Optimization report shows all the elements and their sizes. Once again the JavaScript is quite large but should cache in the browser so future pages should be considerably faster. That should have nothing to do with the page rendering issue and the Google ads.

Any other suggestions, references, people, etc that might help lead us to better understanding the issue and get a solution put in place?
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host file?
Old 10-29-2007, 10:42 PM   #11
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host file?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy R View Post
How are you currently blocking the ads?
possibly with a host file?
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Old 10-29-2007, 11:12 PM   #12
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I found a cool firefox extension that times page loads, for all those firefox users who want to try it (and maybe Nords if he is willing to try firefox for a bit.)

Load Time Analyzer by Google

for those who try it out post your results here as well if you don't mind.

here are my results (kind of ugly you have to scroll around a lot to see them):

er-timing

You can see how long the ads took to load down at the very bottom.

For me a standard thread took 1.985 seconds to load

The early-retirement part took 1.562 seconds.

The tracking, ads, etc. added an extra 0.423 seconds. (this is only the extra time added to the total page load, it actually took longer but it ran concurrently with the early-retirement page loading for part of it.)
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Old 10-29-2007, 11:53 PM   #13
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Wow, what a great plug-in, thanks for posting that. I am about to head to sleep but I will check it out tomorrow. Anyone who wants to chip in and post your results, the info would be useful to have when identifying the issue and finding a solution.
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Old 10-30-2007, 03:39 AM   #14
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I have the same hang time problem, and it is clearly related to the ads. I know that our evil corporate overlord Andy has to make scratch to pay the bills, but this really does detract from the experience.
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Old 10-30-2007, 06:27 AM   #15
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I am not getting any hang time problem, even for a second, either at home or at work. I can't explain it! Must be a temporary overload of good karma.

I use MSIE and Vista at home, XP at work. High speed access with no ad blocking at both.
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:29 AM   #16
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Get Ad aware and Spybot - both free - Firefox with Adblock - both free. I haven't seen an ad on any of the pages I visit.
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Old 10-30-2007, 09:54 AM   #17
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I find that this forum is much slower on IE than on Firefox. I have adblock plus installed on firefox and I don't notice any slow down when it loads the part of the page where the ads are located. Before you screw around with your cookies, you might try Firefox FWIW.
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Old 10-30-2007, 10:30 AM   #18
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I see ads, but page transitions are fast. Clean living, I think...but if dirty living would get rid of the ads, I'd sign up for that .
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Old 10-30-2007, 10:40 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy R View Post
How are you currently blocking the ads?
I'm not positive, but I think the job is just being done by the default WinXP firewall. It doesn't acknowledge requests for access to ports, and I think that's what Google's ad server is doing-- trying to open a port and the request just times out.

The HOSTS.txt file is usually a lot faster at killing ads. DNS resolution is set to 127.0.0.1 and the ad is killed almost immediately (sometimes with an IE "cannot display" error). That doesn't seem to be happening with the Google ads.

I think guests can be expected to view ads. I'm not sure that any registered users should have to see ads, especially if the experience is likely to turn them into former registered users. So perhaps there's a way to turn off the ad servers (and thus speed up the user experience) for those who meet the appropriate conditions of registered user or regular contributor or whatever the criteria may be.

Martha, thanks for the Firefox suggestion. I'll add it to the list...
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Old 10-30-2007, 10:54 AM   #20
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You could also try blocking the ads by blocking all images from this site. I do this often for safer work surfing...
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