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Why is this site so sloooooow?


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Oh slow indeed. Just given up on trying to reach page 4 on Embarrassing English snobs in France.

Despite passing the time by playing Freecell (my record is managing to play 3 games to one LF page loading) I gave up!

So I now wonder, what does everyone else do to pass the time whilst awaiting a page to load?

Thank you for the help Forum Admin 

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Any chance of a solution from your experts to my problem with private mails - as asked for numerous times.

Attached is the error message that I regularly get when exiting from a topic. I then get dumped back to the Forum sign-on.

I look forward to your reply.


Bob Clarke


Server Error in '/' Application.


Timeout expired. The timeout period elapsed prior to completion of the operation or the server is not responding.

Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Exception Details: System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException: Timeout expired. The timeout period elapsed prior to completion of the operation or the server is not responding.

Source Error:

An unhandled exception was generated during the execution of the current web request. Information regarding the origin and location of the exception can be identified using the exception stack trace below.

Stack Trace:

[SqlException: Timeout expired.  The timeout period elapsed prior to completion of the operation or the server is not responding.]   System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand.ExecuteReader(CommandBehavior cmdBehavior, RunBehavior runBehavior, Boolean returnStream) +742   System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand.ExecuteReader(CommandBehavior behavior) +44   InstantASP.InstantForum.Logic.GetForums(Int32 intMemberGroupID, Int32 intForumGroupID)   InstantASP.InstantForum.WebSite.groupcontrol.Page_Load(Object Sender, EventArgs E)   System.Web.UI.Control.OnLoad(EventArgs e) +67   System.Web.UI.Control.LoadRecursive() +35   System.Web.UI.Control.LoadRecursive() +98   System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequestMain() +772

Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:1.1.4322.2032; ASP.NET Version:1.1.4322.2032

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(Personal Opinion)

I believe that there is certainly an issue with the server side code (as on occasions I get a server timeout error page returned by the server (i.e. its own code timed-out). Though there will always be a "limiting factor" and when you remove the most limiting factor, there is still a "not quite so limiting" factor, etc.

I was not aware that the server side code was written in asp.NET (as somebody posted above). This being so I an not atall surprised there are performance issues. I am neither a Microsoft hater not an Microsoft lover but, having worked in software development for 25 years plus (embarrassing), asp.NET is very poor performance (amongst other issues).

With .NET it seems just an attempt by Microsoft to “take on” Java with their own platform independent code execution system (it is platform independent in that it will run on virtually any windows platform !!).

In computing I have always found the “not invented here” syndrome very counterproductive to progress and whilst Microsoft’s .NET may have some good features, I consider it basically yet another proprietary development environment – particularly when there are other (currently superior) development systems. Maybe it’s cynical, but the main thing about .NET is it makes Microsoft “loads of money”.

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[quote]James, Any chance of a solution from your experts to my problem with private mails - as asked for numerous times. Attached is the error message that I regularly get when exiting from a topic. I then...[/quote]

That error message looks like the result of the connection to the server, something that will be eliminated when the site is moved to the new servers.

With regards to th PM posting problem, I don't have an answer, it must be to do with anti virus/firewalls but I've looked around for solutions to this and there deoesn't seem to be one that works for all cases. I posted what I know here:


Sorry I can't be of more help.




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Maybe somebody has already made this observation (I'm afraid I just *can't* bear to load each page of this discussion to find out), but it makes me smile when I am waiting (and waiting) for a page to load to read the URL as www.livingfrance.com/instantforum.... !

Sorry to read that it is all going to be even slower to load once I have signed up to broadband.


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I personally didn’t notice any change in performance between dial-up and broadband (which I have changed to recently). I have noticed that the forums can on occasions run ok, but most of the time are slow.

When I 1st got broadband I actually had to keep reverting to dial-up as the ASDL was pretty intermittent, so for around a month I was using both. Trouble is, with the site itself being variable (from occasional ok performance to server timeout errors) it is difficult for me to be confident that one or other connection is better or worse or makes no difference.
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One thing that probably aggravates the problem is because people like me run several topics at the same time (i.e. “Next Page” one, then open another and then continue reading a 3rd whilst the other two are loading). I have found this quite practical using a “tabbed” browser. I do it because the site is slow, but this probably makes things worse. Maybe selfish but for me it does mean I’m not just sitting waiting for ages.
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I have scanned back a few pages and read the technical response to the performance issues. Before people start “laying-into” what I’ve written, read the last paragraph.

Whilst I would never be arrogant to say “I know it all” or “I know it better”, I have worked in software development for over 25 years so feel I can make a personal assessment of some if the issues Tim raised.

It is quite true that as.NET is a JIT system that unlike Perl/CGI does optimise the compilation of code (as opposed to an interpreted system). Also, it is true that server architecture and power can affect the performance of systems.

However, it is also a fact that different environments allow systems to run with different performances. For example, different operating system (Windoze/Unix/Linux/etc.) introduce different overheads. Quality of the coding and the provided functionality of the components used (e.g. Database Servers, Web Servers, etc.) also has a major effect on the performance obtained from a given hardware platform/architecture. Basically, given a computer with a certain “power”, using e.g. Unix/Apache/MySQL will give you a very different performance to e.g. Windoze/SQL Server/IIS Server.

There is a tendency in the IT industry for companies to develop “IT strategies”, architecture paths they adopt, etc. Such “strategies” often focus on underlying components (e.g. Operating system, Hardware, database servers) rather than solving the needs of the users. Often IT strategies involve what is termed “standardisation” – using the same tools for a wide range of different jobs. The “strategy” route is often adopted by larger companies and often has negative effects on services provided to customers (because IT have focused on platforms, etc. rather than user requirements).

In IT there is no reason whatsoever why you cannot adopt the “right tools for the right job”. There is no reason why all your computers (web servers, database servers, workstations, etc.) all need to run the same operating system, have the same architecture, same middle ware, etc.. In fact better solutions come from adopting the right platform for the right job – though maybe IT have to learn a little more. An analogy might be: if I’m making something in metal I use metalwork tools, if making something in wood I use woodworking tools – I don’t say “here is a set of tools I will use whatever I’m working on”.

Above is personal opinion and cannot be interpreted as direct comment about Living France as I have no idea nor personal knowledge of what is happening internally at Archant. Similarly it is not intended as criticism, just personal comment. I apologise about use of technical terms for those not involved in IT (basically, when non-IT people start to understand IT terms we have to invent a load more because, should non-IT people get to understand that there really isn’t any secret and it really isn’t difficult, then we would all be out of a job).
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Additional to my general comments above, a couple of specific questions: (again befor e”laying into what I have read, read the last paragraph).

“In this case, the site’s performance problems are due to a limitation imposed on its internet connectivity” and “The site & forum are slow because there isn't currently a large enough connection between the server used to host the site and the internet.” This comment suggests that the performance it due to the connection between the Web server and the “Internet”. Is this what you meant as, if it is I believe there are other issues. The occasions where the web server returns the user a “server timeout” error suggests that there are issues internally within the server systems.

Your comments “is moving away from scripted languages (PHP, ASP, Perl) to compiled languages such as .NET or Java” are not necessarily true. There are a number of surveys, each contradicting the way systems are moving. Also, historically the “way the industry is going” type surveys have been notoriously inaccurate when reviewed with hindsight. There is a massive difference between asp.NET and Java. I cannot agree or disagree with the “moving away” comment as I believe there is insufficient un-biased evidence, but where such “older” scripting systems are not used I believe (from my experience) that most newer systems are going the Java route. Apart from performance, this also protects the software investment and provides a far higher independence of platform (computer hardware, operating system, database server etc.). It provides the IT people with a far wider choice of middle ware/operating system components allowing the right systems to be selected for the job in hand.

“Unfortunately there are many more factors that can impact performance of websites than the environment used to host or develop the website, or the raw CPU power of the servers.” That is true, but it does not mean that the environment used to host/develop or the CPU power of the servers is not important. I have seen weedy 486 processors put modern high power Pentium processors to shame when coded properly (running an efficient operating system, etc.). asp.NET does have a poor reputation for performance (as does SQL Server (personal experience)) – though clearly this comment reflects my personal experience within the industry.

Neither this nor my previous comment is intended as criticism of the LF forum. I very much appreciate the forums, that I am able to share my experiences of living in France with others and benefit from their experiences as well. I appreciate that I do not pay for the use of the forum and that the facilities are provided by Living France without advertising and without revenue them generating revenue from it.
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[quote]Additional to my general comments above, a couple of specific questions: (again befor e”laying into what I have read, read the last paragraph).“In this case, the site’s performance problems are due to...[/quote]


Thanks for your comments.

In response, while I *personally* completely agree with the idea of selecting the right tools for the job at hand, and would happily replace the IIS/windows stack with a Java based environment running on whatever platform we felt we could adequately support, we are unfortunately currently bound by a legacy, corporate IT preference for running MS products.

Like many large companies this is reflected across everything from selection of desktop clients through to back end and infrastructure servers.

However, times are changing and we're now starting to evaluate alternatives to MS in a large number of areas. For example, we've just purchased a set of high spec Sun servers to run an internal system - in preference to another set of Wintel / SQL servers.

Concerning the web in particular, now that the ever popular mySQL database server supports true database hosted business logic layers in the form of views and stored procedures, we're looking at how we can fit it into the mix - potentially using it to replace some of our web facing SQL Servers.

The issue of development environments (i.e. .NET vs Java) is one that is somewhat tricker to tackle. While each has their merits and indeed negatives, we've gone down the .net route for a couple of reasons.

1) Due to the preference for WinTel servers, .NET seemed to be the best option at the time as we already had the server platform and a large amount of relevant systems support and management skills in-house.

2) Following this decision we've worked to ensure that our development team hold current top tier professional MS certifications for .NET development, enabling us to reduce development cycles and create high performance applications.

3) A large number of our systems need to integrate with internal systems, and with everything running the same platform integration issues can usually be minimised.


Having said all this though, it doesn't mean that we're wedded to .NET for life - just for the immediate future. We're looking closely at viable alternatives as part of a wider spread review of platforms, application servers and development environments, and will probably end up moving away from .NET to something like Java.

To address the performance issues, so far we've found .NET to offer excellent performance when deployed on high spec hardware. However, on slower machines .NET applications (both web & Windows) can run abysmally slow although this is probably due to the additional work that needs to happen at run time.

Again, given adequate hardware and an optimised & tuned database, SQL Server 2000 can be an amazingly quick performer. In comparison, place a poorly designed database on ultra quick servers and it'll be excruciatingly slow. This is the same across the board - regardless of the RDBMS in use. All in all it does a good job if your database doesn't need to scale beyond a dual processor server. If you need two or more servers to support your database traffic, its licensing is rather unattractive. At around £40k to licence two dual processor servers in a clustered configuration, it's simply too expensive - even given corporate IT budgets. It's in this sort of area we're looking at alternatives.

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