Watchmouse: RateItAll Trounces Facebook in Terms of Performance

There was an interesting study recently published by a company called Watchmouse that looked at some of the biggest social networks and how they did in terms of site speed and staying up.

I'm happy to say that RateItAll trounced Facebook in terms of overall performance.

I'm less happy to say that of the 104 major social networks profiled, RateItAll is one of the slowest and one of the worst performing.

When RateItAll is sluggish, it's something that literally makes me sick to my stomach. If you ask RateItAll's developers, or RateItAll's host, or my wife - they'll all tell you.... I turn into a monster when the site is down, or when pages aren't loading as fast as they should, or when things lock up. It's such a basic thing - a slow loading site can ruin even the best features and content.

Over the past year or so, we've tried everything. We've brought in database experts. We bought a massive, state of the art, quad database. We've added load balancing across three web servers. We've removed features and functionality.

I think we're making progress, but we're still not there yet.

But trust me... making RateItAll faster is something that is almost always on my mind and we're going to keep plugging away at it.


  1. Making a site scale is no small feat, it's an uber complex process and there is NO "correct" or "one" solution for all sites. Since you are a Microsoft shop, you might want to read myspace (also a MS shop) scalability journey.

    It sounds like you need to profile your site and figure out the key performance bottlenecks and then systematically remove those bottlenecks. Don't try to tackle all the performance problems, focus on the 20% that will give you the 80% boost. Be warned though, you might have to re-architect parts of your site, myspace did many times.

  2. bngu, thanks for the comment. I'm not sure if the scaling problem is MS specific... as I'm sure you know, Twitter has had its share of issues with Rails. Most of our problems can be traced back to a single issue... a db that is getting very, very large.

  3. Oh I didn't mean to imply that the scaling problem is MS specific. Scalability does not discriminate when it comes to platform =) I happened to use my Ruby on Rails blog on wordpress for identification. I am well aware of Rails scalability issues on Twitter.

    If you read that article on myspace, it dealt with hitting database bottlenecks at various stages of their scalability progress. Just taking a guess here, you might want to consider the scaling out instead of scaling up route. Perhaps look at vertical db partition like myspace dedicating separate databases for parts of the web site that serves different functions.

  4. Thanks. That's a heck of an article.