I’ve been fighting various problems for three weeks or so with this website.

As a bit of a State of the Site kind of post… I wanted to let you folks know what’s been going on.

First of all a few weeks ago, the server that housed Zombie Roomie crashed. No data was lost, but the hosting company had to move the files to a new server.

The first issue I encountered was that this new server had newer software powering it than the previous server had. This meant I had errors popping up when I would try to upload a comic. This happened around the 22nd of November… luckily, Phil Hofer or Frumph as he is known understood the problem and did a quick coding job of ComicPress so if folks are on a server like I was, it wouldn’t have errors showing up and screwing up your comics.

I continued to have problems with the server though. This time I was noticing far too frequent downtimes.

I once again contacted my tech support guys. They moved me to a grid hosting solution, which means instead of one server… Zombie Roomie is actually hosted on seven different servers. This is good news, since if one server goes down there are still six redundant servers that people can come to the site and see what George is up to.

The problem was I was still having lots of issues after the move to grid. The most namely was “Error establishing database connection.” when I would try to visit the site or a 404 error when I would try and log into the admin section to add comics and the like.

This was no good.

Contacting tech support wasn’t getting me anywhere with this either. They either couldn’t replicate the problem or they wouldn’t acknowledge that there even was one. Over a week and a half I probably called tech support two-dozen times or more.

After one phone call with a tech support guy who was rude and unprofessional, I started the process of swapping hosting companies. Although, as it turned out… I hated the new company’s hosting control panel far more than I hated the problem I was having with the old database issue.

I later called back the original tech support guys and got the idea to create a new database and import the data from Zombie Roomie into it. Thereby, moving servers but keeping the same hosting company. I thought it was a grand idea… So, with the help of Frumph again we set up the new version of zombieroomie.com on the new database.

The only problem was there were still problems.

I continued to have database connection errors and we couldn’t install some plugins and stuff. Tech support was again called… this time by myself and Frumph on my behalf.

It turned out that one or more of the nodes that comprised the grid of servers that hosted Zombie Roomie were actually faulty in some regard. They replaced them and late Saturday night we were able to get the plugins installed.

Since then I haven’t been able to get the same database connection error. It’s my assumption that those faulty nodes were hanging onto the old files that told my browser to go visit the old database and that was causing me to get said errors. But, with having the new nodes up and running the site has been much more stable since the weekend.

The site is still pretty slow to load up initially. That has to do with the number of scripts to external sources that have to load up in addition to the graphics that make the site look like it does. This is my next project…

  • I’ve already reduced the number of ads on the right side; there used to be three, now there’s two.
  • I removed the OhNoRobot transcription thingy for the time being. There wasn’t many people actually adding transcriptions anyway… but I would like to bring it back sometime.
  • I’m going to rework the site’s design to utilize less graphics to create the look of the site and have it created with code and the like. It should still look swell, but just render faster in your browser.
  • I’ve heard about techniques where you can make ads load after your content, thereby having the whole site load up then having the ads pop into place afterward… speeding up the loading of the site¬†immensely. This is something I’d love to accomplish, but the tutorials I’ve read from googling the process are effectively Greek to me. If there’s anyone who has a grasp of javascript that knows how to or could look into this I’d really dig you showing me how to set this up.

If you run into a problem, let me know about it. It’d be great if you could get a screen cap of the offending problem/ or a detailed description of it… the time of the problem… and let me know via e-mail or otherwise get a hold of me. I want to make this site a quality experience for you guys so it’s not a pain in the butt to come read the comic. I’ve been fighting off various problems and continue to work at making it not suck as hard…