themaneater.com Launch

Update: I'm getting a lot of traffic to this page, thanks to Simon Willison linking to me. (Which, in turn, promoted this post on the Django community RSS feed.)

If you were linked to this page and are interested in reading a bit more of the history of this project and a few technical notes about the new site, you should probably start here.

---

We launched Friday morning, with an e-mail to our MizzouIT DNS contact to switch our themaneater.com domain over to the new site.

Of course, we just couldn't have a flawless launch. The site was slow, the site would break (503 Service Unavailable), and it sucked.

So I rewrote some views. I rewrote some caches. I reconfigured the cache. I disabled the cache. I re-enabled the cache. I reconfigured the URLconf...

...After spending the better part of Friday afternoon trying to optimize the site to no avail, I learned that sometimes the best solution to the most complex problem is the simplest.

Jacob Kaplan-Moss' Django performance tips said "Turn KeepAlive off."

I don’t totally understand how KeepAlive works, but turning it off on our Django servers increased performance by something like 50%.

Launching the site before turning KeepAlive off was like getting on the highway and realizing that the handbrake was on. By 50%, he must have meant 99%.

The site is now live and public.

Lesson learned.

And a HUGE sigh of relief: I've been involved with this new site on and off for nearly a year and a half now. I can't even express how happy I am to finally be somewhere with it.