Server move progress report: it's alive!
February 03, 2015

The server move appears to be going well, aside from one issue I'll address at the end of this post. Last night, I updated the nameservers, and this morning, the domain is loading pages from the new server.

This part of the process is largely out of my hands, but I am happy with the results so far. Basically, the way the Internet works is that a domain name is registered with a registrar (GoDaddy, in this case) and you tell that host where to direct traffic that seeks out that domain name. Sites around the Internet then periodically check to make sure that they are still pointing to the right place, but sometimes they won't check for 24 to 48 hours.

For years, the site has been hosted with GoDaddy, the same place where it was registered. The Internet at large is well used to this.

Recently, I became aware that Google penalizes sites with slow load times. HonestGamers has been a fairly fast site for some time now, loading more quickly than a number of competing outlets, but that's not fast enough for Google's liking. I did what I could to speed things up a bit in recent days, but it became clear that I was going to also need to change hosts. While we were getting decent performance, GoDaddy (I found upon reading) is not known for its speed. Like... at all.

So I paid to switch to A Small Orange, which rates much better. They had issues provisioning my new server, so that delayed things a few days, but then they helped me move over the sites. There were some issues there, too, but now things appear to be in order.

Right now, the site is loading from the new location. The server at GoDaddy still contains the site, with its mostly updated pages and database. Now, the server at A Small Orange also contains the site and database. As the changes to the nameserver continue to spread across the Internet, this is the server that will serve pages when you visit the domain and any page on the site.

Because this process may not be complete in some regions, I encourage you to continue keeping a local record of any important contributions you make for another 36 to 48 hours, just to be doubly safe. That's not a bad idea, anyway, because sometimes strange things can happen.

However, it does appear that for the most part, the server move is complete. That's the good news. The bad news is that I'm going to have to tweak source code around the site. While the old servers allowed quotation marks and apostrophes to be passed from page to page without much in the way of special handling, the new server database does not. This means that I have to go back through and add code on pages that contain forms, and probably on pages that display whatever content was submitted through those forms, as well. This will be a bit of an undertaking and will require some time, but it's something I couldn't anticipate.

I expect that this process will take a few hours, but there may still be the odd page that I neglect to update until someone brings the need to my attention. I'll try to minimize any impact on all of you, starting with blogs--so you can at least easily tell me about any errors you find by replying to this post--and moving out from there to ensure that forums, reviews, and so forth are error-free. Thanks for your patience, and enjoy the faster site!

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honestgamer honestgamer - February 03, 2015 (10:02 AM)
It's important to make sure that things are working as they should, so I'm replying to my own post. "Quotation marks rule!" says a random person who wants to help with the testing process (and I thank him for it).
overdrive overdrive - February 03, 2015 (10:37 AM)
It did seem to load more quickly. Whether it actually is or if my brain entered Pavlovian reaction mode ("He said it's faster, so it must be!!!!") is up in the air, but I think it is.
honestgamer honestgamer - February 03, 2015 (10:46 AM)
When pages load from the new server, it absolutely is faster. Depending on the page, you might see differences anywhere from 1/10 of a second all the way up to a full second. Usually, there won't be more than a half-second difference. As I noted, I had already taken pains to optimize the site as much as I could on the old server. Now we're just extra fast. One test I ran said HonestGamers now loads faster than 81% of sites on the Internet. I can live with that. ;-)

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