Servers improvements: page speed, caching, security, and optimization

On November 24, members of the forums started reporting issues with two of our servers started experiencing intermittent downtimes due to overloaded CPUs.

On December 1, the tech team finally completed its investigation and implanted various fixes and updates on the site to speed up page load times. It will have finally taken the intervention of 3 different people and 7 days of collaborative work to overcome these problems because 2 servers and 15 sites were affected by the downtimes.

The causes are varied but mainly linked to the fact that the sites are getting bigger and bigger with a huge amount of articles (over 600,000) and that there are more and more visitors (and new sites!)
In short, the level reached by the sites means that our programmers had to modify WordPress in a customized (and refined) version to meet technical needs.

In sum, more than 30 optimizations have been made on the 10 sites of the AnarchistFederation network, the main points are:

1. Deployment of 3 new types of high-performance caching designed for large sites usually reserved for professionals. This ensures that the site is saved every 5 minutes in a static copy which is then distributed by Cloudflare’s CDN distributed all over the planet. So visitors receive data from a closer geographic location instead of making requests to our central server.
      1.1 – Cloudflare Page Cache
      1.2 – Object Cache connected to the Memcached server installed in April 2022
      1.3 – Database Cache connected to Memcached with W3 Total Cache

2. Reinforced security to detect and block bots that uselessly consume resources from our servers by scanning for security vulnerabilities

3. Data compression with Minify, Brotli, and Gzip

4. Optimized page loading and fixed various bugs

5. Reduced the number of plugins used by WordPress by 50% by replacing them with in-house plugins designed by the Tech Team

Additional monthly fees will be funded by NGNM for the 2 servers, but it avoids a server upgrade which would be even more expensive without this work

The result: this is the biggest speed improvement ever observed! For example, the response time of the Info Libertaire server has gone from 10,000ms to 50ms!!! tested via 3 countries over 7 days



Caching Structure

In computing, a cache is a hardware or software component that stores data so that future requests for that data can be served faster; the data stored in a cache might be the result of an earlier computation or a copy of data stored elsewhere. A cache hit occurs when the requested data can be found in a cache, while a cache miss occurs when it cannot. Cache hits are served by reading data from the cache, which is faster than recomputing a result or reading from a slower data store; thus, the more requests that can be served from the cache, the faster the system performs.


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