Web Development Archives

All website related creations go in here. Often, projects have their own sub category.

Turning my iOS Dev Diary into a Membership Site

iOS-Podcast-Icon-2014I find it extremely important to document the things I learn on my coding journey. It has saved my (coding) life many times before. I do such documentations in form of websites which allows me to refer to my notes from any device in the world.

One of those sites is my iOS Dev Diary.

It’s on a spare domain I had lying around that wasn’t doing anything, and when I started adding notes to to the site in 2011 I hadn’t intended it to be a public facing project: I would usually add links to my other sites, add social widgets and make sure the site looks nice so that it makes for a pleasant reading experience.

I dispensed with all that for my iOS notes. I didn’t event pay attention to the traffic it was getting – because seriously: who would read scattered notes and ultra geeky code snippets without a context?

Turns out I was in for a surprise.

The site really isn't anything special to look at - but it's functional, human readable, and people seem to like it.
The site really isn’t anything special to look at – but it’s functional, human readable, and people seem to like it.

One day I tried some CSS tweaks and installed Jetpack so that I could easily apply additional CSS styles without the need for a Child Theme. Jetpack also counts the daily visitor traffic which was about 20 users per day when I installed it in March 2013, not including my own visits.

You can imagine my surprise when I saw that the traffic was steadily increasing to a point that impacted the server the site was hosted on. Today I’m getting nearly 700 hits per day on that site (!), a little less less at weekends, accounting for a whopping 15k visitors per month.

Stats at the end of March 2014


Luckily I’m in charge of the server that’s hosting my iOS Dev Diary, so I could use it as a test case for high traffic, and to see how different servers would cope with the load: I tried moving the site to a small Amazon AWS instance running Plesk on CentOS – which promptly crumbled under the load. I increased the power of that instance gradually and found that only a C3 Extra Large instance would hold out – not really an option considering its $300 per month price tag.

Other dedicated servers are more cost efficient, and currently the site is hosted on a dedicated machine at Strato which copes very well. The test provided me with valuable insights on many levels, but at the same time it poses a problem: I still need a place for my notes, and I’m happy for others to use them too. But without locking the site down to “private” I’m still stuck with a lot of traffic and therefore quite a bit of hungry infrastructure overhead.

Unless I find a way to subsidise the cost – which leads me to another exciting adventure: turning my iOS Dev Diary into a paid Membership Site.

Thanks to a couple of WordPress plugins I can partially protect content and ask visitors to join the site for a small fee.

Access is granted instantly after the system processes the payment. The membership protection is live since the beginning of the month and meant quite a bit of work and restructuring for Julia and me. Let me tell you more about the project.

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Play From Your F***ing Heart

I’ve finished a new website last week for my friend Jerry Hyde. We go back at least 15 years, and I’m excited to tell you that Jerry has written a new book that will be released on July 25th. I’m not swearing when I tell you it’s title: Play From Your Fucking Heart. It’s a …

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Meet DREXEL: my new Database Server

I’ve already mentioned this to some of you, but here’s the official release. Last week I introduced a new server to the Guru Network: DREXEL – my THIRD web server in only 18 months!

With it I’m building a dedicted hosting infrastructure optimised for self-hosted WordPress sites. Depending on how well it’ll go from here, I’d like to grow the Guru Network into a multi-server environment across the world similar to that of Automattic and WordPress.com.

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My Adventures in Linux Server Migration

It’s been a tough couple of weeks with all my projects going up and down several times a day – but I think I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m talking about the Tour de Force of migrating my websites to a new server.

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How to upgrade PHP on CentOS 5

I’ve learnt a lot since this article went up – including how to do this properly. This article is left here for historic purposes. Read how to upgrade PHP on CentOS 5 on my other site The WordPress Guru Original Article: An account of events – not dramatized yesterday, 09:12 Idea: The need for amazing …

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