As many of you know THF has experienced some incredible growth over the past six to eight months. As a result traffic is higher but at the same time the reliability of the site seemed to wane. Certain issues would crop up from a total inability to connect to the site or the site being slower than Greg Paulus trying to guard Ty Lawson. After performing some maintenance on the site(and doing my taxes, "yea refund!) I was able to resolve some issues on the backend which I think will improve the availability of the site.
The first issue we were seeing was a message popping up which said "Error connecting to the database." This message has been happening awhile at seemingly short and random times. The only definitive cause I could find was the routine database backups being run by the web host. As I began digging into the database last night to see if there was anything amiss, I discovered the problem. The database has taken on Dwight Stewart-esque proportions. Basically it had grown to 1.7 GB which is a huge chunk of data. The culprit was one table in the database attached to a web stats plugin I installed a long time ago and ultimately forgot about. The bloated database obviously made the site slower. I removed the plugin and the table attached to it, as well as cleaning up other unused plugins and database entries. The database is now a nice and tidy 80 MB. Basically I reduced the size of the database by 96%. Now that the database is a much more manageable size the site should respond as fast as network latency or your respective system will allow.
The other issue we were seeing was related to the upgrade to Wordpress 3.1 which I did earlier in the week. There were multiple reports on the Wordpress forums that 3.1 sucked in ways that cannot be expressed in polite company. I did tweaks a few things based on suggestions made in the forums and it appears the site is more stable than it was over the past couple of days.
If you encounter any issues reaching the site please let me know. In most cases, issues reaching any website are by and large on the client end. However if you have issues reaching THF or something does not work that appears to work on other websites then please let me know so I can take a look at it.
Once again, thank you for your readership. Growing pains are tough sometimes but it is certainly better than the alternative.