Saturday, July 21 , 2018, 4:41 pm | A Few Clouds 72º


Local News

Bill Macfadyen: We’re Moving to Improve Noozhawk’s Site Speed, Agility and Features

Loyal readers may have encountered some difficulty accessing Noozhawk over the weekend; I certainly did. The problem has been building for some time as the size of our site — and the volume of our traffic — has continued to skyrocket.

For the last month, we’ve been working with our web host and with our new web development partner, Hop Studios, in preparation for a significant upgrade to our server capabilities and our content-management system. We pulled the trigger last week and both processes were under way when they came to a screeching halt Monday morning, caught up in a sustained denial-of-service attack from China. It wasn’t our first rodeo, but it was the roughest one yet.

In response, Noozhawk was migrated to a temporary, more stable server Monday afternoon, en route to a far more powerful, permanent home next week. Once that transition has been completed, readers should notice a marked improvement in our site speed.

At the same time, Hop Studios is upgrading our ExpressionEngine database to the latest version, which will streamline our production and enable us to introduce more reader features. The switch will require Noozhawk to go offline for about an hour, and we plan to make that move overnight later this week to minimize the disruption. We’ll keep you posted on the timing.

As part of the ExpressionEngine upgrade, we’ve had to temporarily disable new site registrations until after the installation is finished. Existing users — whether for the Nonprofits section or to comment on articles — can still log in and out. We’re sorry for the inconvenience but new users will have to come back. In the meantime, the rest of our site is always free to use, and no registration is necessary.

And speaking of story comments, this summer we’ll be extending the Disqus commenting platform throughout our site, after successfully testing it out on our Business and Obituaries categories. The change will allow us to eliminate site registrations and passwords while providing users with more options for log-in credentials, including through Facebook, Google and Twitter.

We also hope that the system will generate more of a community around the comments. I’ve mentioned before that Noozhawk generally takes a libertarian view of free speech, but we know that every community has a few people who are overwhelmed by that freedom and the responsibility that comes with it. While verbal taggers will always try to leave their crude marks, we think Disqus is better equipped to promote and engage those readers with whom you actually can have a conversation — regardless of whether you agree with them.

On behalf of all the Noozhawks, we’re grateful for your ongoing support and patience. Thank you.

— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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