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Upgrades again and readership growth

Written By: - Date published: 8:46 am, July 22nd, 2016 - 17 comments
Categories: admin, The Standard - Tags: , ,

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.

The Standard - google analytics users 2014-june 2016

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.

Dolphin Over World 2010

17 comments on “Upgrades again and readership growth ”

  1. Ad 1

    Would you be able to publish a line graph of hits, viewers, and commenters as a longer series eg since inception?

    • lprent 1.1

      Sure. Comments is a SQL query that I have done before. Commentators is somewhat more complex because we don’t have that many constraints on bad emails / handles.

      Nothing we have records “hits” apart from the logs. But I guess you are after page views. That is on the author and above dashboard in the Google Analytics dashboard widget.

  2. jcuknz 2

    While I have realised it is easy enough to use your bank number to donate have you thought about a page where folk can use their credit cards directly? ‘give a little’ or your own page
    Or is the cost of such exhorbitant ?

    • lprent 2.1

      Used to use Paypal, but decided that it was a trivial exorbitant.

      GiveAlittle is fine, and we should put one up there.

  3. mauī 3

    Thanks LPrent for keeping this place up and running. Obviously a good deal of thought has gone into the design of The Standard, making it in my opinion one of the best online places to grow discussions and make people’s voices heard. Great stuff!

    • Rosie 3.1

      +1 maui.

      Yes, huge big ups to you LPrent, the authors, and the donors who make this valuable site run. It’s got to be a cornerstone of the online thoughtful political conversation in this country.

  4. For my tuppence worth, I’d like to give thanks to LPrent and Rocky for all they do to keep the joint rocking. My feeble scratchings would be nothing if they didn’t have a reliable platform behind them.

    And big ups to the readers. It’s not obvious from the surface of the site, where the number of comments is the only visible sign of a post’s impact, but the reality is that TS has a huge readership. Every time a post goes up, thousand of people read it. That’s people who know this site has real credibility and writers worth reading.

    You’re not always going to agree with what we post, but what you read here at the Standard will make you think and maybe even make you think again about what you thought you knew. And that’s the real mark of the Standard’s success.

  5. ianmac 5

    Great to visit several times per day. Well worth the Rightish views too as it pays to know what our enemies are thinking. 🙂
    My wife says that on blog sites, for every commentator there are 100+ readers (lurkers). And about 10 will comment at times and 5 of those will comment often. (Part of her research.)

  6. AmaKiwi 6

    I am continually grateful to you and the others who do an excellent job running this site. I can only guess at how demanding it is.

    Enabling us left-wing, radical, pinko, nutcases to communicate with each other, educate one another, and be supported is a huge public service.

    Thank you.

    • AmaKiwi 6.1

      P.S. When you need money, ask for it.

      I’d rather donate to The Standard than to any of the political parties out there these days.

  7. weka 7

    What was the spike in May about?

    • lprent 7.1

      Let me see..

      Panama papers
      Homelessness
      Housing
      Couple of posts that got a lot reading over longer periods.
      Couple of virals.

      Most noticeably in the latter was TRPs satire piece about john key welcoming the homeless to move into his place. Had well over 30k people read it.

  8. Jenny 8

    Literacy was democratising, printing was democratising, the internet was even more democratising, long may this trend continue.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23130830-200-internet-30-how-we-take-back-control-from-the-giants/

  9. jcuknz 9

    So long as the giants do not pull the plug on the net Jenny.

  10. mosa 10

    With Left wing views and opinions and a complete absence of real stories and facts in the MSM of what is happening in our country without the Standard we would be the worst for it.
    My thanks too the team for the serious work that goes in too providing this platform all done on loose change and sometimes on a hope and a prayer with technological issues that come up from time to time.
    What this site demonstrates is for the most part our opinion is valued and published unlike the media where dissent is kept to the minimum unless it suits the ruling right to use it too their advantage.
    It reinforces the freedom of opinion of a left perspective when its under attack elsewhere in this country.
    The posts are always welcome and informative and my thanks too all that contribute because without them we would be in total ignorance of the issues.

  11. Paul Campbell 11

    Hooray, don’t know what you did but TS started working on konqueror again – thanks

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