Comments, Archives, and Speed

I discovered a few months ago that Movable Type commenting on HNBP was slowed down by republishing of static monthly and category archives. (See Scot Hacker’s Foobar Blog and for details.) Basically anything that had a pertinent <$MTEntryCommentCount$> tag in it was being rebuilt everytime a comment was submitted, and the default template was set up with comment counts in the main index, plus individual, monthly, and category archive files, so MT was rebuilding at least four different files with each comment, and those archive files could get big.

I rectified this by simply trimming down the monthly and category archive templates to their bare bones: linked titles and dates. (I still didn’t want to go the dynamic db route, as one of the main reasons I’ve stuck with MT was to cut server overhead by serving static files.) No more rebuilding of comment counts, and the much smaller, more streamlined archive format saves space and bandwidth. So ends the archiving devolution: from full monthly archives with entry anchors, to full monthly archives alongside individual entries, to just excerpted archives, to a simple list of dated and linked titles.

I’ve also re-deactivated trackback, as I’ve been getting several trackback spam attempts. MT’s excellent feedback filter plugins catch them all, but each spam hit is still an entry in the database, and when they’re coming in at a rate of dozens per minute, the site takes a noticeable performance hit. So goodbye to trackback once again, for now.