So this will be a shorter post, mainly because I am still super busy with a lot of site work, but I wanted to post some updates as to what’s been happening.

Site Performance Updates

The most recent change, but one of the most significant, and the focus of the next few days, I have done a lot of work making the site run faster and optimizing the suite of plugins we are using to keep the site running smoothly. Some highlights:

Removing Jetpack

Still in the process of doing this, but need to get rid of Jetpack for WordPress. Been looking into it and it definitely seems to be causing a lot of drag on server resources and page loading speed. Most importantly though, their significant price increase that happened suddenly, and their poor way of communicating that, was enough on it’s own to start this process. The performance issues just pushed up the need to strip it from the site.

Improved Caching & Compression

I upgraded our caching plugin to one that works a lot faster and has better features. Was previously using WP Super Cache but its a very simple plugin lacking in a lot of features. Plus it was deleting it’s own cache pre-loads right after making them even after turning the garbage collection off, and I honestly, didn’t feel like debugging that bullshit, when it was worth replacing anyways.

We also dropped Jetpack’s photon service and are serving images locally for now. This means that we needed to get a compression plugin to help optimize the massive amount of images used on this site. We currently host just under 4,200 images at the moment with a lot more otw. Prior to compression, after thumbnail generation, this was amounting to somewhere around 22 gigabytes of image data, especially because we try to use high quality PNG images for source material as often as possible.

I managed to find a good plugin that limits loss in visual quality, especially since that’s really important to us, which will reduce that to around 5 gigs or less. We are keeping backups of all the uncompressed source imagery of course, for any uses we might find later. This will take probably several days as image optimization isn’t the fastest process and there’s so many to go through. I’m also going to fine tune settings to make sure quality is preserved, especially with the more visually intense, 3D games like Skyrim, Homeworld, the RTS’ etc. Fun fact, each image needs somewhere between 8-16 copies to be generated, so that WordPress can more efficiently serve size-optimized images at every possible moment, as opposed to needing to downsize larger images on the fly at the cost of bandwidth.

All of this has increased overall site performance significantly, with most of the site already loading 60-80% faster than it was previously.

Most Guide Importing Finished

We’ll be making more posts about the individual guides in the next few weeks, once we wrap up the tasks we are currently working on, but the majority of guides previously hosted on Hubpages/Levelskip have been moved over. There’s still two more to do (Remnant and BFG:A2) and these are a top priority, but here is a quick list of all the guides now being hosted here, since the past few weeks:

We’ve been busy : )

There will most likely be ‘Feature’ posts about the specific guides, after the last few imports, when we have time to go through and beautify them and give them a true editing pass, since things are a bit messy in some places, to help prioritize just getting them hosted here first.

Last Updated on October 5, 2020 by Standard of Entertainment

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