Improving the Lodge

The Lodge is now Speedier

Speed RacerSome of you may have noticed an improvement in site performance, i.e., page and image load times – over the last month or so. I had two most fortunate things happen in the past two months.

First off, my VPS host upgraded all of their plans by lessening the amount of accounts per server, in turn increasing the amount of shared resources available. End result, I was given a little more memory and CPU juice — both of which this site needs in large supply in order to run like a champ. And by the way… I’ve dealt with a plethora of webhosts over the years, and these guys are tops. I highly recommend ServInt to any of you who may be looking for ‘managed’ VPS hosting. They f**king rock. The performance is stellar and the support even more so.

Next… early last month I had a gentleman contact me regarding sponsored CDN service. For those of you that don’t know what a CDN is, don’t feel bad… I wasn’t really all that familiar with the service myself.

He sent me an email that read something like this…

Hello there,

“We would like to be a part of the awesomeness that is Huntsman’s Lodge. Would you please consider letting us sponsor some of your content so that we may be associated with this spectacularly fantastical WoW fan site, and in addition, be able to provide your users with an even more incredibly amazing and satisfying experience — if that is even possible..?”

I don’t have the email in front of me right now, but that’s about how it read, as I recall.

So to explain things a bit… CDN stands for Content Delivery Network, which basically is a vast network of servers located across the globe, serving up a site’s static files from servers closest to the visitor’s geographical location.

For example… UK visitors comprise the second largest portion of visitors to this site when defined by region. Before, all my friends across the pond had to wait for the data to reach them from a server in Los Angeles. Now, my pages are served up to them from a CDN location in London, resulting in much better site performance for my brothers and sisters in jolly old England.

For those of you out on the west coast, you’ll have seen less of an improvement in page load speed, but you may have noticed a marked upgrade to the overall performance of the site. The CDN service lessens the load on the site’s primary server, which means things will always load fast no matter whether it’s peak traffic time or not. Pretty cool, huh. 😀

Oh, and by the way… the CDN service is provided to me by MaxCDN. I’ve been very satisfied with the service I’ve received from these guys and they made the whole setup process really easy. It’s not exactly a service that most site owners need, but if you get any sort of traffic and are looking to increase speed and reliability, I’d definitely hit these guys up.

At any rate… I’m pretty excited about all of that stuff. Those of you who’ve been around for a few years may recall that I’ve had my share of web hosting woes and occasional site downtime in the past, but not anymore. We’re fully stable, operational and ready for anything. Perhaps I’ll go fishing for another nod so I can see what this new setup can handle. *waves at Frostheim*

Future Improvements…

As I mentioned in Wednesday’s update, I plan on making some improvements to the overall feel and usability of the site in the coming weeks. I’ve had to redirect some of my attention to other projects lately, but as soon as things start to mellow out a little… I plan on banging away in here.

Would you believe that this site’s nearly three years old..? It’s amazing to me when I think about how much it’s grown over the years, and even more amazing… that I’m still keeping up with it. Maintaining a blog that gets any sort of traffic is hard work, let me tell ya… Ask any of the popular WoW bloggers out there, and I’m sure they”ll say the same.

Anyway… I’ll delve into the whole three year anniversary sentiment next month, but I mention it now because it’s really gotten me motivated to ramp this place up. I may not be as ‘involved’ with WoW as I used to be, but I’m still as passionate about our beloved class, and most importantly… I’m really proud of this little site. 🙂

However… it wouldn’t be nearly as popular and successful without all of you – The Lodge faithful – so I want to start spending a little time polishing things up and enhancing the overall user-experience even more.

When I built this site I knew nothing about WordPress, so it was more or less an ongoing experiment in blogging, along with me ascending the learning curve of a new content management system. I think I’ve done a fair job, but were I to start over knowing what I know now, I would have done things a bit differently. However, that’s pretty much the case with just about any endeavor in life.

In the coming weeks and months, my intention is to update the staleness, fill in the gaps, and provide a more enriching user experience – from this hunter’s point of view. I also am looking forward to giving the site a visual makeover. I am a web developer by trade, so that’s the sort of stuff I really enjoy.

Alrighty… well that’s about it for now. I just wanted to keep you all apprised regarding present and future plans with the site. I may be amped over the release of Diablo, but I ain’t going anywhere. The WoW hunter in me is still very much alive. 🙂

Happy hunting.

6 thoughts on “Improving the Lodge”

  1. Excellent job Garwulf ^^

    Yes, you might be wondering, what the hell is a Dwarf Shaman doing on Huntsmanslodge.. Ah well, my good friend is a member and refers to your site practically every time he talks about playing Hunter ^^ Here’s a clue, he has 6 Hunters.

    I usually have an affinity to the “archer” class every time I play a game. Unfortunately, I could never get used to the Hunter class in WoW :'( I guess just wasn’t for my play style.. and for some reason Bear-specced Druid came naturally for me instead.

    Anyway, point is I’ve poked around your site every so often and you’re doing an awesome job. Excellent site for Hunters, I always direct a newbie hunter here whenever they ask questions.

    I only wish there was a site like this for Druids XD

  2. If anyone is deserving of having good things happen to them and their site, its you buddy! I love the attitude that this site fosters in its members and the larger hunter community. That is a DIRECT byproduct of your awesome attitude, Gar. Hunters of all kinds come to the lodge and get treated as friendly equals because you and your crew make sure of it. Let’s take quick stock of what this site offers:

    Good advice: Check.
    FRIENDLY advice: Check.
    Fun: Check.
    Awesome contests (like your writers contest and Zygor guides*): Check

    When its all said and done, brother, be VERY proud of what you’ve built.

    *BTW, all of you peeps that won the Zygor guides and then NEVER wrote your reviews like you promised oughta be ashamed of yourselves. Gar had faith that you’d deliver and you failed him. Redeem yourself and write a review so that Gar doesn’t lose cred with his sponsors. No one’s expecting the War and Peace of leveling guide reviews….but they were expecting SOMETHING. End rant.

    • Thanks for all the kind words lawman.

      For the most part, I did get some sort of feedback from all participants (I think..?), but some were just a couple sentences. Sure, I’d have hoped for more responses that could have enlightened others, but I knew ahead of time that probably wouldn’t happen — especially considering the randomness of the winners.

      People are busy and most underestimate the time and effort required to actually write a review or guide. Yet another reason why I’m still El Lobo Solo with this blog… people always want to contribute until they realize it’s ‘work’, and I can’t say i blame them most the time.

      But for those of you that like to put your thoughts out there and do a little clackity on the keyboard… I do plan on getting some writing contests rolling again. Those are damn fun, the stories are great reads and I love to be able to hand out prizes!


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