Slow for everyone? Or just me? January 5, 2024 11:06 AM   Subscribe

I've noticed that MetaFilter pages are coming up slower than usual for me, here on the east coast of the US. It's regularly taking between 2 and 18 seconds for content to show. This is isn't the case for my connection on other web sites. So, I ran some page load measuring tools that try to get a sense for how things load from various places in the world.

- Google's PageSpeed Insights on a recent FPP. It couldn't reliably load tho page.
- GeoPeeker. It didn't render in some locations. It took 1 second in Virginia, 7 seconds in Ireland and Australia.
- DebugBear. 6 seconds to the first contentful paint.

The html loads fast; all of the assets, like CSS, take a while. My guess without looking into it is that there's two problems: 1) The assets aren't being served fast enough. 2) Asset loading is blocking rendering (showing the actual text on the page). Often, CSS loading, if initiated in the <head> tag can block rendering. Searching for "render-blocking resources" will tell you more.

How has page loading been for everyone else?

I know MetaFilter is short on resources, but if it is regularly this slow for everyone, I hope this makes it into the priority queue. People, especially people who have never seen MetaFilter before, can't read posts if they load that slowly.
posted by ignignokt to Bugs at 11:06 AM (15 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Working normally for me - northern Illinois.
posted by Glinn at 11:09 AM on January 5

Mod note: Thank you for flagging this, I brought it up to frimble this morning and they found a heavy load from a scraper bot, which has now been banned. They will take a closer look at the site activity tracker that is running slowly and we'll report back as soon as we know what is going on.
posted by loup (staff) at 11:10 AM on January 5 [30 favorites]

I wondered about this and assumed it was just me. I am in Virginia and had this experience mid-morning today. I did not notice it last night or earlier this morning.
posted by cupcakeninja at 11:29 AM on January 5

I had similar issues in the UK at around 11am (here time).
posted by biffa at 11:35 AM on January 5

Definitely happened over here in Eastern Canada today. Pages weren't loading or timed out. Seems fine now, though.
posted by Kitteh at 1:44 PM on January 5

Thank you for flagging this, I brought it up to frimble this morning and they found a heavy load from a scraper bot, which has now been banned.

It was also slow for me, and a couple times Chrome kicked out a "this page is unsecure" warning, so hopefully that bot was it.
posted by LionIndex at 4:50 PM on January 5

There has been a good bit of this intermittently over the last few months, including times when the site just flat times out, sometimes for hours at a time. I am also located in the UK.
posted by Dysk at 1:25 AM on January 6

Aha! Anecdotally, things are snappy for me again today.
posted by ignignokt at 9:33 AM on January 6

MetaBlahBlahWoofWoofWhatever: ...they found a heavy load from a scraper bot, which has now been banned.

* unclutches pearls *
posted by y2karl at 2:53 PM on January 6

Ugh. How many scraper bots do we just not know about.
posted by amtho at 5:20 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]

I’ve always run mine with a two second delay between requests. It takes six days for a run but I’m pretty sure it’s completely in the noise.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:39 PM on January 6

It was kind of ridiculous to look at the traffic to our e-commerce site with a large catalog and how so much of it was just bots. Some of them were reasonable and at least expected, but there were all sorts of bozos that would just pop up and hammer at the server.

When/if the site has the resources to do so, setting up tools that proactively monitor for abusive scraping would probably pay for itself in the resource savings.
posted by jimw at 2:35 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]

Definitely was happening to me in Northern IL for a few days.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:43 AM on January 8

Having some weird issues where links to other parts of the site don't work at all. Sometimes work again on refresh. On Android mobile using Firefox Night.
posted by tiny frying pan at 4:58 PM on January 8

Also can't even click onto Search
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:03 AM on January 9

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