While it's not as exciting as new search features or categories of fauna, website performance is absolutely critical to user experience. We know this, and yet admittedly, our site has experienced some persistent performance issues over the years. In the age of cloud computing it might seem as simple as throwing more money at the problem, but that only works to a point, depending on the underlying causes.
One of our main investments this year has been to upgrade our core software. In many cases we jumped ahead by many many years in the versions of software we’re using. This is great and adds a lot of stability in many respects. However, inevitably these types of upgrades cause the site to regress in performance, and on the backside of recent updates the capacity problems have been at their worst.
"Garter snakes" is an affectionate term by some of our users referring to our 503 Over Capacity error page which says MorphMarket is being overrun (akin to Twitter's infamous "Fail Whale" seen in its earlier years).
We're really excited to report some breakthroughs this month from a combination of optimizations and upgrades to our server infrastructure. At this point the site is running far smoother than it ever has before, despite carrying peak traffic. Since these improvements, not only are there zero capacity errors, but server response time is now 2-3x faster on average.
Scaling up in terms of site features and traffic capacity is an ongoing challenge that we are happy to face. We want to deliver the very highest quality service to the reptile industry. Thanks for your support through our "growing pains". With the "garter snakes" under control, stay tuned for more user-facing features to be added later this year.