Website Performance - External Databases

May 27th, 2011
Posted in Monitoring

Every modern website relies on stable and well written databases. It is impossible to find a large-scale website not implementing one or more database systems.

This month, we’ve detected a high increase in response time for one of the sites we monitor. It is not a particularly large site; however it is one that relies on fast navigation. On average, the website used to load in about 3 seconds. One morning it went up to 10 seconds only for the site to begin to load. This is a good time to say that it is always advisable to test out new designs and functionality.

The website owner rolled out a new outlook combined with more functionality. Later on we found out that the site was rewritten from scratch - scripts, databases, supporting files, everything. The webmasters overlooked one single thing - they left the site working with the beta version of their database. They made multiple request to a database located on a completely different IP. This added up 5 seconds on top of their average loading times.

Having your database on a separate server is by no means a bad thing. Big sites have no other choice but to have dedicated servers powering their databases system. These servers are usually very well connected, and most of the times in close proximity to the hardware holding their web server. Smaller sites don’t usually need all this and have a single server or shared hosting providing everything they need. In this particular case, the database was on a server which was used for various tasks. It wasn’t their fastest one either.

So, imagine you request a page and then the web server requests data from the database that is located in a different city, running alongside many other services. Then the database generates the reply to the query and sends it back to the web server to process. This all happens before the actual transfer to your host starts.

We were able to act fast and let them know of the issue. They fixed it and shaved off a few valuable seconds. Luckily, it all happened in under a day. Monitor your website for 30 days, completely free, and let us know if our services helped you!

About Victoria Pal

Doesn't like queuing (particularly at Wimbledon). Likes travelling, tennis and reading. Loves working as a Project Manager at WebSitePulse.

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