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Flayrah moves to faster server, software; WikiFur to follow

Edited as of Sat 27 Apr 2024 - 18:00
Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (114 votes)

khyot's 'Of Inle' Flayrah has migrated to new North American hosting, with WikiFur planned to join it by the end of the year.

The 'new' server is based on a quad-core Xeon-D 1521 with 32GB RAM and four 2TB HDDs - 2015-era hardware, but double the capacity of prior hosting provided by Timduru. Base software has been upgraded from PHP 5.6 (first released in 2014) to PHP 8.1, resulting in major performance improvements, along with recent releases of nginx, Debian and MariaDB.

Update (April 2024): Another move is due; to a cheaper, ~40% faster server with 64GB RAM, running a Xeon E5-1630 v3 @ 3.8Ghz. Some downtime is expected.

These features may be more important for WikiFur, which will be upgraded to a newer and more complex version of the MediaWiki software; with the intent to add Wikibase to process and visualize data about convention instances, as well as better-documenting "furspeech" words used within the fandom and languages such as Foxish, Lapine and Primal.

As suggested last year, the main content management system that runs Flayrah - a news-focused variant of Drupal 6 - wasn't changed in this series of upgrades, other than fixes required for compatibility with the new versions. Discovering these resulted in the occasional appearance of the Black Rabbit of Inlé from Watership Down - as drawn by furry artist Kyoht, who has many other animal illustrations.


Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

I'm confident the new setup works faster - Google Analytics suggests a ~35% decrease in page response times, 1.05s to 0.68s - but speedup will vary between visitors and pages. In general, I'd expect it to help computationally-expensive operations the most, such as generating long pages with lots of comments and processing RSS feeds. It's also 0.1s closer to most visitors (roughly 75% come from America, Canada and Mexico - the UK, China, Australia and Germany are 4/3/2/1% respectively).

CPU-wise, it's a toss-up; E3-1225 v2 @ 3.2-3.6GHz (power-hungry when boosting) vs. Xeon-D 1521 @ 2.7Ghz (even all-core, it never hits TDP; with newer, more efficient instructions and HyperThreading). In OpenSSL cryptography the difference is less than 4%. In any case, it's what Inkbunny's main server uses, so it should be able to manage; Flayrah currently uses ~25% of one CPU core. The big win is having access to more disks and double the RAM.

SSDs would be nice, but the server's also used to serve large images and video, so it needs the extra capacity still provided by hard disks. Even with WikiFur, the database's active set should fit into RAM. Both sites will stored on a RAID 10 volume at the start of the disks.

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I mean, does this place actually get any real traffic?

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It depends. For example, the Howlr story got ~5,000 visits over the course of a few days because it got picked up on Google's mobile news feed, Discover. Similarly, crossaffliction's Zootropolis story is perennially popular; over 10,000 pageviews in the last few months - because, I don't know, foxes? When we have more stories, there is more traffic.

The site as a whole might get 1,000 "real" pageviews a day - not counting the ever-present and heavy bot traffic that has to be handled; this totals ~100,000 requests of all kinds (including images and other page components) and 2GB of transfer a day - about 1/3 of which is served from CloudFlare rather than the server itself.

It's nothing compared to Inkbunny's ~750,000 pageviews/day (~30,000 unique visitors); but then it's a furry news site, not a furry porn site. For a more reasonable comparison, WikiFur's English edition gets ~12,500 pageviews/day.

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Another two years, another server move! Same place, different servers. Here's a comparison of the new and now-old CPUs.

The server is cheaper since it's at a lower service level (we have to arrange our own backup space, and outbound IPv4 bandwidth is lower; this shouldn't be an issue) and the E5-1630 v3 inside is a year older than the Xeon-D 1541, despite being ~40% faster. 64GB quad-channel DDR4 should be sufficient to keep Flayrah and soon™️ WikiFur's DB access fast, once read from 4x2TB HDD. I'd hoped to be able to move to SSD, but they're a bit small, and having SSD and HDD is reserved to more expensive servers.

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Turns out yes, we don't need SSD, just block bots from faceted search and optimise voting tables.

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About the author

GreenReaper (Laurence Parry)read storiescontact (login required)

a developer, editor and Kai Norn from London, United Kingdom, interested in wikis and computers

Small fuzzy creature who likes cheese & carrots. Founder of WikiFur, lead admin of Inkbunny, and Editor-in-Chief of Flayrah.