Lately, I have been working on some SEO for my Austin Real Estate site. Slowly but surely my traffic has been increasing so I figured it was time for me to solve some long standing issues before my site gets too busy. It is hosted on Dreamhost and has been pretty slow. I built the site in Rails and it was my first production site built using Rails so I figured my ignorance with developing in Rails was causing the problem. I did a lot of reading and optimized my code and environment as much as possible and it really didn’t seem to help much.
So I came to the conclusion that it was my host. Dreamhost has been very open about how they feel about hosting Rails on a shared server. DHH obviously disagrees. But recently Dreamhost started offering a solution. They now offer dedicated virtual hosting plans. I decided to try it. Mine was finally set up a couple of days ago. Well my site immediately crashed. Awesome. My memory usage was constantly running too high. I bumped up my memory allowance and the site became stable again and actually ran a bit faster. However, I still wasn’t satisfied. So then I tried setting up a Mongrel server which Dreamhost started offering along with the virtual servers. I wasn’t too impressed. So what was next? Well Dreamhost also recently started offering Passenger as a Rails hostiing option. I disabled the Mongrel and turned on Passenger. The memory usage immediately dropped and the site had a noticeable speed increase. I think I finally found my answer. This was all a very unscientific series of tests by a complete novice sysadmin but I think the site is much better off. Time will tell.