Version 1.9.4 & 1.9.5 = Rackspace + Amazon CloudFront + New AAIA Data + Sitemap Enhancements

February 15th, 2009 by Kyle West

We just put the finishing touches on v1.9.5 and wanted to let you know what exactly is different and why you should care (you should care!). We also skipped our blog post about 1.9.4 and wanted to give a quick update on a few things are were changed with the move to Rackspace.

The underlying theme of both releases though is: everything is MUCH MUCH faster!

v1.9.4

There were two main changes in v1.9.4.

1. We upgraded to Windows Server 2008 x64, SQL Server 2008 x64 and ASP.NET MVC RC1. While infrastructure changes aren’t normally a good enough reason for a new release we’ve made a couple code changes to take advantage of some new features in each product to make RPMWare faster, more secure and more reliable. Not to mention our newer, bigger, beefier servers from Rackspace.

2. We created our own DNS manager to provide you simple access to your redundant name servers from your RPMWare admin.

The Results

The migration went off without a hitch and after about 45 minutes of downtime we were humming along on our new servers.

Speed – The average response time for your website homepage has decreased from a little over 1 second to just over 600 milliseconds, almost a 100% improvement. The results are even more impressive on more complex pages. We’ve seen some pages improve from 5+ seconds to just over 1 second. 

Reliability – Since the move we’ve had exactly 1 minute and 44 seconds of downtime, before the move we were having that much or more downtime every day. We’re constantly striving to get that number to zero, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Visitors and Pageviews – We don’t keep stats on each of your sites individually, but we do keep stats on all the RPMWare sites as a whole. Comparing the week before the move to the week of the move your visitors are down 1.19%, but page views are up 2.79% and pages per visit are up 4.04%. Fewer visitors checking out more pages, a direct result of faster page loads? Most likely. But what’s the impact on the bottom line?

Conversions (orders) are up 16.50%! I’ve never been so excited. This is why we’re here, to help you make more money.

v1.9.5

v1.9.5 packs a couple more items to boost performance and get your sales up. The first of which I, and any other geek, will be pretty excited about.

All your images are on Amazon CloudFront

CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) built and supported by Amazon.com. It’s similar to Amazon S3 (which we implemented around this time last year) with a very important advantage. Everything you look at on the internet needs to be loaded from a server somewhere. If those servers happen to be closer to you physically you’re content will load faster. A CDN maintains servers around the country (and the globe) and uses specialized algorithms to load content from the servers closest physically to your users. 

The end result is another speed boost for your website as images are loaded from servers physically closer to you. If you do international business your international customers will certainly notice a speed boost. We haven’t had time to analyze the performance boost yet; however, CDNs are a proven way to substantially improve site performance.

New AAIA Vehicle Information Database

We updated the underlying data that powers our year, make, model search to the latest available from AAIA. The total vehicle count is now over 50,000 including all the new 2009 models.

Sitemap Enhancements

Before we moved to Rackspace we simply didn’t have the resources to provide 100% complete sitemaps with all your categories, brands, groups and items. There is so much information included in your sitemap now we had to split it into multiple files to get all the information submitted to Google and the other search engines. Don’t worry about doing anything differently, things will just work after you submit your sitemap.

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