Ok I just wanted to do one last post to talk about the site issues that happened for most of the last few weeks (but much less so this weekend and more on that in a minute).
The site moved again last week to what has become a quite radical change in the hosting. The site has moved from being hosted on one or two servers to being hosted on 4 with the ability to add more servers in as and when they are needed.
This worked brilliantly, barring a minor blip at about 21:30 on Saturday night. As far as that blip was concerned this was always going to be a learning curve for me as the new hosting environment was new to me too and I had the settings I used for increasing the servers set up wrong however I quickly adapted to this and altered the settings. It also became rapidly apparent that fewer but more powerful servers were working a lot better than a higher number of less powerful servers and that change was made as well. This was obviously the first time that I’d tested the new system under heavy load however one benefit of the new hosting solution is it gives me the ability to rapidly make changes to the setup should the site break when placed under load which allowed me to adapt to the situation on Saturday.
All this meant that when the spoiler came in the site ran perfectly and coped with the traffic load being placed on it so the vast majority of you will have had a far improved user experience this week than you have the previous few weeks which was the main goal of this final site move.
Obviously this is the last weekend that the site will be placed under heavy load this series as there will be no more spoilers this series however as I’ve a lot of content that will be going out this week as I preview the finalists I will not be migrating the site again to a cheaper solution until the end of the series.
The good news about testing this new setup the final spoiler weekend this series and it working so well is that I now have a clear idea of the kind of setup that the site now needs to stay up at peak times and should be able to get this setup for the 2018 series and the site issues should now be a thing of the past.
I’ve also managed to fix a couple of bugs this weekend. I’m aware (but amazed that no one mentioned this) that some of you who came to the site through my social media links may have had some cosmetic issues such as the site logo not displaying at the top of the website. This is now fixed!
However this new setup, like all things comes at a price. Since I deployed the new setup about one week ago it has cost me £55 to host which if we extrapolate means my hosting costs for the next series will be about £700 and may well be higher than that depending on the traffic in 2018. Either way its a huge increase on the £150 it would have cost prior to this series.
A lot of you have donated towards hosting costs (or just bought me a pint) and I’m grateful to each and every one of you who has done so. I had reservations about adding a donation button/link to the site and I wasn’t sure how well it would be used or how well asking site visitors for money to help towards hosting costs would be received – even though other sites such as wikipedia do the exact same thing. I’ve received donations ranging from £1 to £50 and I’m as grateful to those who donated £1 as I am to those who donated £50. I had no expectations on people to donate and I stressed a number of times that people should not feel obligated to donate nor should they donate if they could not afford to do so.
Moving forward, a few of you have suggested other options for how I could fund the increasing hosting costs such as using something like Kickstarter. The issue with Kickstarter is that often you have to offer things like perks as incentives to backers which means some of the money raised would then go towards fulfilling these perks. And I’m not sure how many of you would want Strictly Spoiler keyrings, T Shirts, Hoodies, follows on social networks or the opportunity to meet me which seem to be the standard perks that people offer on kickstarter.
Given how well the donation button/link got used the last few weeks I don’t see a reason to change that and so the button/link will remain open on most posts for the foreseeable future. If you wish to and can afford to help me out or just want to buy me a pint it will always be hugely appreciated and you can do so using this link. However there is zero obligation on anyone to do so and this site will remain free to access
Hopefully this will be the last post I ever have to do talking about the site and site issues as I’m fairly confident that following the testing last weekend the new setup should hold out to anything you guys throw at it next series and if it doesn’t I will be able to fix it in a matter of minutes like I did this weekend.