by Jeff Robbins on July 2, 2008 // Short URL

Dooce: 20K+ Comments in 24hrs, Drupal Doesn't Break a Sweat

Yesterday, I heard from my friend Jon Armstrong about some nervousness he was having about Dooce, the site he maintains for his wife Heather. This incredibly popular blog migrated to Drupal recently and when I ran into Jon at South By Southwest, he was very happy with the move. However, on Monday, Heather announced that she was giving away a coveted Wii Fit, and that people could "enter" as many times as they would like simply by commenting on the post.

Bang! The starting gun went off. Later that day Jon posted Drupal is RAD to his blog about how impressed he was with Drupal: "In an hour, there have been over 1,200 comments." But word kept spreading around the internet about the Wii Fit giveaway and the speed of comments was growing exponentially. They're running on a single web server and haven't really "tricked out" their box with any special performance tuning or anything.

However, he wasn't going to be able to sleep with one eye open watching his server load and he messaged me on Twitter. Of course, confident in my Drupal sites, I was fast asleep.

The next morning, we talked on the phone. The thing is, there had never been a problem. The server was chugging along just fine. I mean there were a lot of people visiting the site. And there were a lot of people commenting on one single post. When I talked to him there were about 19,000 comments. He was nervous, but Drupal was doing fine. Matt and I suggested some performance optimizations for the Drupal 5 site, but mostly things have been fine.

Jon continues to post updates on Twitter and he's been really impressed with Drupal. As of this writing, there are currently 29,589 comments on that one post. The contest ends today at 5:00pm MT. Last I heard the server load was in the heavy-but-reasonable range, but he's understandably nervous about a surge of entries near the end of the contest.

Want a Wii Fit? Go!

Comments

Michelle

How...

How is he going to pick a winner from 30K+ comments? Randomize the cids? LOL!

That's quite a contest.

Go Drupal!

Michelle

Reply

Alexander Langer

Drupal scales pretty well

I had several discussions in forums about Drupal's performance. Critics often said "Look at site xyz and how fast it is. Why are most Drupal sites so SLOW?". A lot of those "xyz" sites were powered by Ruby on Rails.

Reading what critics had to say and how they said lead me to the conclusion, that most of the times the criticism isn't backed up by data. Performance to a user is subjective, but technically you can measure it. There a many factors that playing a role in how a web application performs and scales.

Comparing a typical Drupal website to a typical Rails website isn't fair most of the times. You can get very cheap PHP and MySQL hosting where dozens and hundreds of customers are packed together on a single server. It's even easy to set up such a machine and host it by yourself. Setting up and managing a Rails server with mongrel requires more technical skills as programming a Rails app does require more than just upload core files and modules. A typical Rails combo (app + server) therefore is much better optimized for what it does. On the other hand, most Drupal websites are backed by poorly managed overloaded shared webservers.

Just recently I set up a dedicated root server and moved www.drupalcenter.de from a shared hosting package onto it. We instantly gained performance. We didn't have to finetune to feel it. It was just that oviously faster... By tuning some core MySQL parameters we had another performance boost. By time the database gets filled up with data and as your site grows and you add modules, the vies' SQL querys get more complex with more tables involved. Checking how efficient different parameters work and finetuning them with caution can have a huge impact an an Drupal site's performance. There's much you can do way before you can start to whine about the complexity of Drupal's bootstrap process, the inefficiency of it's database based caching and so on.

On the other end, it's up to every Drupal site make to cut down necessary HTTP requests. Many popular D sites show by a look at their HTML source, that even without a lot of tuning on that side they CAN be very performant and scalable.

Reply

blurb

Thanks!

Jeff, just wanted to thank you for the help! We're at 31K + comments now. Crazy. I'm certain if we spent some time, the site could be further optimized, but it's a huge win for Drupal that in the first three minutes of the contest there were almost 500 comments.

It might be time for me to attend some Lullabot training!

Reply

Use Keyword Here

Personally, I never use more

Personally, I never use more than a single link in the comment I post because doing so can trigger spam catchers if the user has that plugin activated, whereas a single link will not.

Reply

greg

spam

yeah thats a good indicator of spam, no reason to link to more than one

Reply

river oaks apar...

end results

well was the server able to hold the load

sounds like your friend had a great idea,

its hard to get that many comments

Reply