Moving the web sites to a new server (again) and other system upgrades
Update: I finished the migration to our new server on February 25th, 2012.
In August, I put the web sites on a faster server. There were 2 great promotions right now with the same hosting company. I've invested in paying for 4 months of service at the price of 3 and also to have one of the fastest SSD drives that just came out running Linux and the database. I also have more freedom to upgrade ram and other components on this new system more then the last one.
Feel free to read this February 6th, 2012 CNET news article about the new line of SSD drives:
Intel 520 Series drive to set new SSD benchmark
For enthusiasts / gamers & high end computing, people replace hard drives with more expensive SSD drives to achieve nearly instant boot and application loading times. They are also amazing for laptops, because SSDs are smaller and fit in laptops causing them to boot in about 10 seconds instead of the typical 2 minutes. I have been using intel SSDs for 2 years at home and in a laptop. This new one is 2 to 6 times faster then my one at home. But compared to the hard drive in the server, its around 20 times faster. It may be hard to see the sites run faster with this, but it will make a difference over the next year as I do every more complex systems and add many more sites. I further learned how to optimize Linux for disk performance for SSD drives and apply several changes.
I've also signed up to use www.Alertra.com monitoring service. This service checks that our server is running from a dozen places around the world 24/7. This service will first email me, but if the server stays down for 10 minutes, it will automatically call me with a synthesized computer voice after a scheduled amount of time. This will help me be able to take action faster when I'm not at the computer.
Real Estate Web Site Upgrades
Last week, I figured out how to make the MLS search form load separately from the page and store it as a pre-generated file that updates when the MLS data changes. This reduced the server processing time to be about half on most of the landing pages of all the sites. Making a page load twice as fast is a huge improvement in the ability to run more sites and more complex systems.
When I finish building the new interfaces which have instant loading abilities, the user experience will be so fluid, that the web site will appear to never delay loading anything.
I still want to finish the ability for people to filter listings by different criteria so that landing pages automatically get filled deep directories of links for them to browse the MLS. We've known this to be important for a couple years now, but I haven't come back to working on it yet. It demands a great deal of processing to calculate the links accurately with live counts for all the categories.
The interface would be similar to how it works on newegg.com left sidebar
But perhaps with an option for it to be displayed across the entire page on landing pages as a widget you can insert with slideshows or other configuration options to make it more custom on each web site and page.
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