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CoN Performance Improvements


Caves of Narshe Site News
It's been quite a long time since I've had anything good to talk about with CoN progress. I'm still trying! I promise! So, with that in mind, I do have a little bit to talk about today that probably isn't the most exciting for most of you reading this but hopefully will still help you enjoy your CoN experience just a bit more.

Starting this past weekend, I've shifted a big chunk of the CoN website into an Amazon Cloudfront CDN. This should mean pretty much nothing to you readers out there - if I did my job correctly - but it does have some potential benefits. For one, the site should load faster now, particularly in the case of the images we use in our guides and website (and forums!). Additionally, it did give me the opportunity to fix another couple minor bugs that I found while doing the conversion; and, down the road further, this is the first step to making the rest of the site faster and more useful for you people out there using it to complete your games or generally enjoy Final Fantasy.

Of course, this also means that if you see something that's looking weird, I'd appreciate you letting me know. I went hard into the move-fast-and-break-things approach for this, and while I'm pretty sure I didn't do the "break things" part, well, you never know. And, if for some reason you have some curiosity about how exactly I did this and why now, you can always visit my personal blog where I go into a deeper dive.

Thanks for sticking around CoN - we're happy to have you visiting, using our resources, and in fact reading this!
Posted in: CoN Site News

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Rangers51

Comments

AltheaValaraComment 1: 2022-02-04 12:23
AltheaValara Thank you for your work in keeping CoN going! I still enjoy this site a lot, and it's in my rounds of websites to check daily. It does seem speedier now! I'll let you know if I notice anything weird.
Glenn Magus HarveyComment 2: 2022-02-25 03:37
Glenn Magus Harvey Thank you so much for keeping this site running for so long!

I feel silly now, to not know this...how was the site hosted before?
Rangers51Comment 3: 2022-02-25 19:01
Rangers51
Quote (Glenn Magus Harvey @ 24th February 2022 21:37)
I feel silly now, to not know this...how was the site hosted before?

Well, it's not the kind of thing that comes up in casual conversation, so, you know.

In the most generic terms, the way a website is "hosted" is always going to be somewhat similar - you have some files, they sit on a computing box, you have some other stuff that points to this box, and then the box processes instructions and sends the data back to the person sending the instructions. Of course, extremely large websites sit on many, many boxes often in many different locations kept in sync, etc. etc.

In the case of CoN, for the last 15 years or so, we've done our hosting on a class of machine called a "virtual private server." Essentially, this is just a moderately-powerful Linux computer, split through software to allocate its resources among many different users hosting one or more websites apiece, hosted on a rack in a data center. (Our data center was in Chicago for a long time, now I believe it's in Michigan - with most of our traffic still coming from the US, a centrally-located data center is ideal for us.) Our VPS runs CoN as its primary function, but also runs a handful of other websites for me and some of my own website clients. For a real brief time several years ago, it even ran a Minecraft server for CoN players.

The VPS keeps the software running, like PHP and our databases, that actually execute the instructions asked of it by users visiting the sites; it also stores all of the code and other files needed to display to the users. This was the way things were done for sites like CoN for a long, long time and that's where the point of my original post starts to deviate a bit for the sake of modernity.

We are still hosting all of the parts of the site that require real computing power on that VPS and likely will be for a while yet. However, things like images and static javascript, which don't require any "thought" and rarely change, benefit greatly from the CDN architecture I described in the OP. Now that this phase is mostly complete, I will be able to remove the redundant files from the VPS to slim down what is stored there, which will eventually make it more possible to leave the existing hosting paradigm entirely and potentially host the entire site in a scalable, distributed virtual computer. If I manage to get that far, it should make everything even faster still and also cost me a bit less. wink.gif
Rangers51Comment 4: 2022-03-18 16:18
Rangers51 I have to bump this thread because yesterday in a DM Tiddles coined the term "Chocobo Delivery Network" and I am absolutely furious that I didn't come up with that for this post.
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