About this weblog’s performance issue, and another approach for keeping up

Hello all, my name is Brian and I work with this weblog project here at UBC.

We are working to identify the source of the performance issue some of you are reporting. Talking with one of our systems administrators, he asked that I try to identify the times when slow performance is causing a problem (this may be a network issue). If the sluggishness of the system is causing you pain, or if you have other questions or problems you can feel free to contact me directly at brian|DOT|lamb|AT|ubc|DOT|ca (that idiosyncratic way of rendering my email address a probably futile attempt to foil spammers and their web-scrapers). Please pass on a brief description of what you were trying to do, and what time of day it was at.

Responding to Sarah’s question regarding how to track activity on this weblog… Speaking for myself, I would be lost without my RSS newsfeed reader. If you are unfamiliar to RSS, I recommend you take a look at this quick video tutorial:


The video suggests Google Reader as one option for reading feeds, another approach is a portal style reader such as Netvibes.

If you wish to use a reader to follow this site there is a feed for entries…


…and a feed for comments:



1 davidp { 09.04.08 at 5:15 pm }

Many thanks for these helpful comments and suggestions, Brian.

Personally, I’m using ecto and endo, Mac apps for feeds and blog postings.


2 Sarah Wood { 09.05.08 at 7:02 am }

Thanks Brian! I am heading out, but will try this later on.

3 Marc Kampschuur { 09.05.08 at 10:39 pm }

Thanks for the tip, just downloaded RSSOwl (freeware) through verstiontracker, helps some. Cheers.

4 Vince { 09.06.08 at 9:18 am }

Hi, I was one of the developers who helped with UBC Blogs and worked closely with Brian. Using RSS to keep track of things in WordPress is indeed very useful and I have a few more suggestions:

1) You can feed the main site with all the posts as Brian mentioned by adding “feed” after the site URL (e.g. http://blogs.ubc.ca/etec522/feed) to any RSS feed reader.

2) You can feed all the comments by adding “comments/feed” to the URL (e.g. http://blogs.ubc.ca/etec522/comments/feed)

3) You can also feed by each category or tag by adding “feed” after the URL of the category or tag (e.g. http://blogs.ubc.ca/etec522/category/module-discussions/mod01-introductions/feed).

4) Lastly, you can feed comments per post (I’m sure this will be useful to some people) by adding “feed” to the post URL (for this post it would be http://blogs.ubc.ca/etec522/2008/09/04/performance-issue/feed).

If you’re not sure whether something can be fed, just try adding “feed” to the URL (as you may already have guessed). Most browsers will also indicate to you that an RSS feeds exists for a page (you just have to know where to look!).

Hope this helps!

5 Vince { 09.06.08 at 9:22 am }

I forgot to mention this but it may also be useful later on in this course. There is a setting in the blog under “Reading” in “Settings” where one can choose the number of latest posts to show in a feed. By default this number is 10 and can be changed if necessary.

6 davidp { 09.06.08 at 9:34 am }

Vince, Brian, and Jeff …

Thanks for your extremely helpful postings. This is a new adventure for us all. It’s great to know that we have such expertise supporting the design and operation of the WP environment at UBC.



7 David Wees { 09.10.08 at 4:59 am }

I’m accessing the site at 7:30pm at GMT +7, which is 14 hours ahead of Vancouver right now (we don’t do Daylight Savings time here). The ‘performance’ or lack of it is a huge issue, I am sometimes waiting for 4-5 MINUTES for a page to load. Often a page will not load at all but continuing loading until I get bored of trying. My browser (Firefox) normally stops a page on a timeout, which suggests to me that part of the page is being served appropriately but the rest is being ‘hung up’. I have a page loading in another window that contains a commented I submitted over 15 minutes ago (still loading…).

You must be able to automate the traffic analysis using some server side statistical cgi. A really simple way is to write a cgi as the source of an 1px by 1px white image which is loaded on every page, and which delivers the image, then writes the request data to a file which can be parsed later for the information.

Interestingly enough, I just added the comment feed to my Google reader and it picked it up almost immediately, and I can see my comment I posted in the other window has been saved already…

8 David Wees { 09.14.08 at 7:04 am }


I haven’t been able able to reach the post creation editor in 1-2 days now. Every time I try, it seems no matter what time of day, the editor page times out. All I seem to be able to do is post comments.

Any ideas?

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