The Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) release that the main server for this site runs on will be upgraded from 14.04.xx to 16.04.1 sometime during this weekend.
While 14.04 is only 2 years old, there are a lot of server side upgrade goodies in the new release. When testing The Standard on my workstation running 16.04 under load, I was getting moderate but useful increases in performance (about 15% from remote test clients). Most of the improvements appear to be coming from the performance boost in PHP 7, which is the language that wordpress sites run on.
Usually these upgrades don’t take the servers out for too long. However there have been a few times over the last (almost) 9 years that site has been running, when I have had rebuild the server from bare metal. Usually when I do a major upgrade 🙁
Of course anyone who has been around this site is aware that sometimes shit happens. Motherboards fry themselves. Hard drive arrays crap out at the controller level. But looking at the stats on what Google Analytics considers to be our individual “Users” in recent years, I’m aware that there are far more of you than there used to be.
Have a peek at the chart below – it shows the monthly users and its inexorable climb after the effect of last election (September 2014) dropped away. In the second quarter of 2014 coming into an election, we were getting an average of just a bit below 40,000.
In the second quarter this year we were getting average of a few over 53,700. That is roughly a 34% growth in readers in two years. No fluke either. While it was boosted by just under 70,000 users in May, the first quarter in 2016 averaged just under 49,400. It isn’t bad for a computer program and database that now spends most of its life on the floor of my apartment.
So for all of you who have gotten used to the site mostly being present, it doesn’t always. But if the site disappears for a few hours during the weekend, don’t worry too much. It will be back… On another system if nothing else.
I’d also add a great clap for those people who pay most of the $270 per month that is required to keep the server operational. If you want to join these unnamed site heroes, have a look at the Donate page.
We will be looking to start a separate fundraising drive later in the year to cover any residual legal costs after fiasco of a court case fell apart on a dimwitted private prosecution against me last month even before we mounted a defence. Apparently the fool ‘prosecutor’ neither understood much criminal law nor criminal procedure. By the sounds of it, he also hadn’t read the first paragraph of our About.
He thought that the site was owned by me rather than being hosted on my systems. And it is kept operational with my technical skills and those of the open source communities that provide the software base for it. But being the sites system operator does not mean that I do everything around here. I’m actually doing less than almost any time in the sites history.
But I’ll write more about the case and it’s “prosecutor” denials of reality as soon as we can get some suppression orders lifted. The implications get rather interesting in light of the stupid nuisance cases we’re probably going to have to fight as Netsafe start as the gatekeeper for the new Harmful Digital Communications legislation (HDCA). I can’t say that, to me, Netsafe have ever seemed to act much above a basic newbie pissant level of understanding of the net. Mostly they seem to make noise and little else.
But no speculation on cases covered by suppression orders please – I’d just have to ban you as I remove your comments.