As you know, we have spent most of this spring developing a new hosting environment for with the goal of improving site speed.

For the past several weeks, we have been running load tests on (which is currently running on our old server), in parallel with a copy of the site hosted on a staging server on the new platform.

Because of this, we’ve made no changes to the site, haven’t published any new content, and haven’t run any marketing campaigns during this time period, in an effort to keep our testing environments as similar as possible so we can make informed comparisons of test results.

(Note: It is unlikely that you’ve seen any disruption to site performance as a result of these tests, but in some cases, they do result in the increase in server errors and page load times intermittently throughout the day.)

We are now nearing the end of our tests and will be resuming our regular publishing schedule this weekend.

While we still have a lot of data to process over the next week or so, we are just about done with testing and I’d like to share some preliminary results with you.

Average Server Page Processing Times During Peak Traffic Hours:

* Current Server – 10.0 to 19.1 seconds
* New Server – 2.1 to 6.7 seconds

These are substantial gains. Note that they don’t consider client-side (browser) processing of pages, which are in part a function of what browser you use, the speed of your computer, and other factors (some of which we don’t have a lot of control over, and some of which we do). After we move to the new server, we’ll continue to invest into page speed optimization for client-side processing as we make further refinements to our site design and codebase that runs once pages have been delivered to your browser.

Based on our test results, I’m quite optimistic that moving to the new server will offer an immediate improvement to site performance that will be very noticeable to all users, especially when you are logged in. In addition, as the site “ages” on the new server (time goes by, and your use of the site increases), you’ll see additional performance improvements as our new content delivery network (which maintains cached copies of site content, data, and database queries at multiple locations) learns to deliver to your computer from geographic locations near you.

Thanks for your patience as we enter our final stages of moving to a new server. It’s a far more sophisticated server framework than what we’re on now with lots of moving parts that need careful integration and testing so we can maintain stability under high traffic loads.

But we’re close! We expect to migrate to the new server platform around June 15.

Stay tuned!