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Help us fix the slow loading problems

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Dear Hounds,

We've been working on the load issues, and can't seem to reproduce them consistently. If some of you who are experiencing this problem could do us a favor, we would appreciate it. The instructions are a bit involved, unfortunately:

1. Please download and install Webkit Nightly Build (a version of Apple's Safari) for your OS: http://nightly.webkit.org/

2. Start Webkit, and immediately (without browsing to any other sites, or even the CHOW home), enter the URL of a page that has been causing you trouble. Let the page load completely. (However, if the problem only occurs when you are logged in, go ahead and log in).

3. Right-click (Windows) or CTRL-click (Mac) in the background of the page and choose "Inspect element". A window will appear.

4. In this new window, click the tiny arrow in the bottom left, so that the options "Console" and "Network" appear.

5. Click "Network". It will show you a bar graph.

6. Please take a screenshot (or multiple screenshots, if you have to scroll to fit the whole page), of this graph, including the dark gray area at the bottom.

* On Windows, use the Prnt Scrn key, open MSPaint, and paste the clipboard contents. Then save the file.
* On Mac, press CMD-shift-4, then press spacebar, then click in the window. The file will appear on your Desktop.

7. Please send the screenshots, and please include:

* the URL of the page
* whether you are logged in
* your Internet Service Provider
* operating system version
* whether you are behind a firewall
* whether you are behind a NAT
* the version of the browser you normally use
* whether the slowdown appeared in Webkit, or only in your normal browser

Thanks very much! Let's get this resolved.

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  1. How do you start webkit?

    2 Replies
    1. re: hannaone

      Are you on a Mac, or on Windows?

      1. re: Engineering

        Ok, if you are on Windows, you need to do the following things to install Webkit. Sorry it's such a pain:

        1. Download and install Safari Beta 3 (without Quicktime) from http://www.apple.com/safari/download/
        2. Download the Webkit Nightly Build file from http://nightly.webkit.org/ and save it to your desktop
        3. The Webkit Nightly file is a zipfile and must be manually extracted. Double click on the file on your desktop and use whatever program loads to extract all the contents also to your desktop.
        4. You will now have a file "run-nightly-webkit.cmd" on your Desktop, which you can double-click to start Webkit.

        Unfortunately Safari Beta 3 does not include the feature we need, but is required by Webkit. Ugh.

        Mac users can just install Webkit in the usual way.

    2. i have a mac (10.4.1) and haven't experienced the "load problems." i use firefox (2.0.04) and the safari 3.x beta (no flash, no java). fwiw.

      1 Reply
      1. re: steve h.

        I have a mac and use Camino, sometimes Firefox, sometimes Safari (though it still quits occas. when I post). I've had no slow-loading problems with CH.

      2. I'm having slow load problems with all the pages since the most recent changes. It's not super slow, but basically what happens is that the page appears to have loaded (full green bar at the bottom), but I have to wait 5-10 seconds until it "finishes" (there's usually a slight flicker/shift to the page as some last component loads) before I can click on any links. It's most noticable on pages with lots of links (a board or the recent posts on "my chow") than on text pages, but it occurs on every page. Hurrying the process by hitting "stop" doesn't help: I get the hourglass and then the page "flicker." I'm using IE.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I have the exact same symptoms when using IE.

          1. re: RGC1982

            Engineering,
            Post this to various boards. Most folks wont come to this board or you would have lots more replies by now. They will figure you are working on it and let it be.

          2. re: Ruth Lafler

            I'm disinclined to install an unnecessary piece of major software, especially one which extends its tendrils deep into the system like a browser, in order to help debug even a favorite web site. I can report, however, that my system behaves identically to Ruth Lafler's.

            In addition, I used my firewall to block all ingoing and outgoing traffic at the point that the status area reported no further downloading of objects and showed "Done" and a full green status worm. The worm remained, CPU utilization remained pinned at 100%, and the page continued to process for about another five seconds, until everything shifted down and display was complete. This observation would seem to eliminate the user's ISP as a potential source of the problem.

            I hope that this helps.

            My info:Operating System: Windows XP, Service Pack 2
            Browser: 6.0.2900.2180.xpsp_sp2_gdr.070227-2254
            Firewall: NIS 2005 (Version 8.5)

            1. re: ahr

              We totally understand. On the other hand, the information would help us a lot. So if just a couple people do it, it would go a long way. Thanks for your report even so.

            2. re: Ruth Lafler

              My IE6 (Win XP) is the same except the extra wait is usually 20 seconds or more. It happens on all chowhound and chow pages. I just tried Firefox 1.5 (same computer) and there is no extra wait.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Might help something to note I have the problem on IE7 but not on Firefox 1.5.0.12. Same computer, cable connection, w/Windows XP.

              2. Sorry, I won't install the software, but if it helps:
                --about a 5--10 second delay in my case
                --using Cox cable ISP, XP, PCcillin personal firewall, IE6.
                --Oddly, when I use my old Netscape 6, I get less, if any delay, but the (totally counterintuitive, BTW) "down" arrow next to the "Boards" header doesn't work at all, so no board menu available.

                1. I haven't seen this problem. But for mac users, there's an easier way to
                  set things up:
                  1. Download and install the newest version of Safari: 3.0.2
                  2. Open the Terminal application in your Utilities folder.
                  3. Type this command to the Terminal prompt:
                  defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitDeveloperExtras -bool tr

                  Then it's ctrl-click, not option-click to get the "inspect element" menu.

                  [Edit: oops, nevermind. you need the new inspector from the latest web kit; the
                  one that comes with Safari 3.0.2 does not have the necessary Network panel.]

                  1. guess what -- no problems with Netscape, only IE. I am not going to install another browser, so perhaps you should test with IE, since that is what most PCs have as their default browser.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: RGC1982

                      Does engineering not have IE6/Win to use for testing? They should since IE seems to be the only browser that's giving the trouble and that's the combo most people would be using.

                      1. re: Mick Ruthven

                        It's happening with several browsers, Firefox - sometimes, Safari - almost every page,
                        Opera - incomplete loading, SeaMonkey - sometimes, etc.

                        1. re: hannaone

                          Thanks. So far, for me it's been great with Firefox and very bad (20+ seconds extra time on every page) with IE6.

                          1. re: Mick Ruthven

                            Bad with IE 6.0 no firewall XP professional at home and the same with windows 2000 and ie 6 at work with some unknown firewall... so does not seem to be operating system or firewall dependent. It is to the point where I will not use the site until it is fixed if I go into a post delay.. then badckbutton.. delay.. next post delay.. It will not let me click on a link until it is fully loaded seems like it might be that flash advertising causing an issue. can you create some test pages with out the ads?

                            1. re: OnDaGo

                              That's exactly the home/work set-up I have! I agree that the delay is making the site annoying enough to navigate that I'm disinclined to spend much time here. Too bad: that new "place" feature is the single best enhancement to the site since CNet took over. If it weren't for the slow page loads, I'd probably be updating many of my old posts with place info.

                              1. re: OnDaGo

                                I see the ads are now images not flash.. The delay going to a page seems better but hitting the back button is still nasty slow...

                      2. I'm really not comfortable with loading a program onto my work computer.

                        I don't have issues at home with Firefox and no firewall.
                        I have issues at work with IE 6.0.2900.2180.xpsp_sp2.gdr.070227-2254 and some unknown firewall. Windows XP.
                        It doesn't matter what page I'm on...the slow loading happens on every page. The tan background loads, then the page sticks and does nothing for twenty seconds. The cursor remains and pointy hand. Then, the red bars will load and the page loads, enabling me to do something with it. There's a small page jump or two when the red parts of the page load. Unfortunately, every time I click on a post, a board, hit the back button or try to do anything on chowhound, I get this problem.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: QueenB

                          Guys, the more I surf around Chowhound, the more convinced I am that it's a problem with your ads.
                          It seems that sometimes, I can actually scroll a page for a few secs until it freezes up. This freeze time seems to be when an advertisement starts loading. The page unfreezes when the ad stops loading. I think there's something screwed up in the way your advertisements are running on IE6.

                          1. re: QueenB

                            I am using IE6 too - Windows XP - and I'm not having the problem - FWIW to the engineers.

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              jfood reporting same issue as QueenB.

                              It's worse today than the last few days.

                            2. re: QueenB

                              Ok, I changed back to the red background, thinking maybe it was an issue with the tan background loading. Nope. Same problems with both.
                              Just ruling stuff out.

                              1. re: QueenB

                                FYI: This is happening all over CHOW, not just on the boards. It happens on the Grinder, Digest, Recipes, Stories....every aspect of the site for me.

                              2. re: QueenB

                                Firefox 1.5.0.6 is not having the same problems on my MAC.

                              3. I am also disinclined to download an additional browser. Presently I'm using IE6 (WIN XP) and each time I go to Any page or board within Chowhound there is a delay till, I assume, the entire page loads.

                                1. no problem with Firefox 2.0 on my work computer (dont even ask how it looks on Netscape 4.7 lol)... but IE 6.0.28 is slow on windows 2000 server .. so the problem is with IE 6x browsers on MS operating systems. If you would create a couple of dummy pages for us to test it should be quite easy to solve.. One with only one ad on the right one with no ad's on the right.. I am betting that that is the problem.. BUT since you have no pages on the site that do not have ads....

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: OnDaGo

                                    There is no way I'm downloading a program. Safari 2.04 (419.3) is taking forever. So it is not just IE.

                                  2. Out of curiosity I browsed to other cnet sites and the slow page thing is happening on all of them. ZDnet, webshots, search.com, and techrepublic.
                                    I assume that they all use the same ad delivery service.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: hannaone

                                      LA Times is slow for me on 2 different platforms as well as chowhound I was looking at internet traffic report and several west coast servers were down. Maybe it was that ?

                                      1. re: hannaone

                                        Interesting. It does *not* happen to me on those sites, or on cnet, bnet, or mysimon. Some of them are fairly large sites that take a while to load the first time, but they do not sit churning the CPU long after all objects have been downloaded the way chow does. Also unlike chow, they all reload immediately when recalled via the Back button.

                                        An old, unrelated problem: After editing this post, only the "Saving..." status message remained on-screen. I had to refresh the page to see the modified post. Note that this does not happen consistently.

                                      2. Some *good* news: Although the multi-second (for me) page-load delay remains, the jumping is gone. The screen now jumps neither at the completion of page display nor upon cursor movement. The painting first with the red theme and then overpainting with beige is also gone, except on My Chow, where it still occurs, always.

                                        I take this back, partially: The initial load of a page no longer jumps (that is, the lower portion of a page, which lists a board's threads or displays the text of the posts within an individual thread, now remains stable), even though the Chow logo header still displays in two segments: partially at the very beginning, and then filling in at the end of page load. However, sometimes, but not always, a page *will* jump when recalled using the Back button.

                                        One other recent change in behavior: The multi-second delay at 100% CPU utilization used to occur after the "Opening page..." message had been replaced by "Done" and the progress worm was at maximum length; it now occurs before, instead.

                                        Finally, two tests: 1) Disabling Flash animation in NIS has no effect on page-display times. 2) Disabling script execution makes pages display instantly, albeit with limited capabilities.

                                        I hope this all helps.

                                        1. Problem is just as bad today, perhaps even a little worse.

                                          1. it's 6 p.m. on the east coast. i'm running safari 3.0.2 (no flash, no java) and your site is very fast. i'm on an imac running os x 10.4.10.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: steve h.

                                              modest thought: did you guys isolate doubleclick?

                                            2. running slower than ever on th east coast at 1230 on a friday night.

                                              1. Had no more slow-loading problem today, and now it's back as of 5:20pm Eastern Time.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                                  Slow loads started again for me about the same time 2:20 Pacific

                                                  1. re: hannaone

                                                    This slowdown only lasted 15 minutes. Back to normal load times.

                                                    1. re: hannaone

                                                      no in jfood land. getting worse every time he logs in

                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                        Feeling lucky here in no ca. I have not experience anything but the "jumpy page".
                                                        Loading is fine.

                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          same for me getting worse with each log in. Now I'm on a IE machine.

                                                  2. The slow loading that I experience is caused by so much of the work being downloaded to the browser's PC. My PC has a fan that is activated in response to CPU load. Whenever I open a chowhound page it sounds like a tornado.

                                                    All the changes you keep making are moving the overall chowhounding experience back to the level of the old software. If you are just looking at the servers for performance problems you will never fix them.

                                                    And YOU asked for help fixing the problems, this wasn't an unsolited gripe.

                                                    1. Now we get a pop up to win a foodie trip to NY.

                                                      How about focussing on downsizing the load each visit versus this junk. You're going in the WRONG direction

                                                      9 Replies
                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                        hi jfood,
                                                        thought i would hit chowhound.com on my wife's up-to-date windows xp professional os running internet explorer as opposed to my mac/safari/firefox stuff. bottom line? loading time is pretty normal.
                                                        i have no doubt you and many others experienced (continue to experience) problems. this is a tough one for technical troubleshooters. just thought i would chime in with a little comparison.

                                                        1. re: steve h.

                                                          steve - what version of IE is your wife's machine running?

                                                          1. re: ElsieDee

                                                            howdy lcd,
                                                            6.0.2900.2180.xpsp sp2 gdr.070227-2254CO.
                                                            i have no idea what this means. does this numbering/naming convention make sense?

                                                            1. re: steve h.

                                                              Uh-oh. Except for the "CO" at the end, that's the same version I'm running, and it's just unusably slow. The thing is, up until last weekend, it ran just fine.

                                                              Can she copy text from CH? I cannot. See http://www.chowhound.com/topics/41847....

                                                              1. re: ahr

                                                                no. even tried the "print" workaround and could neither copy nor paste.

                                                          2. re: steve h.

                                                            glad your not having an issue but we were assured by technical that this would be TOTALLY tested and that was the reason for the huge delay.

                                                            Jfood running XP Professional 5.1 with service pack 2 on a SIX MONTH old machine. Intenet Explorer 6.0 Basically a brand new machine running new explorer. Unfortunate that this happened for all involved, from the custos to the engineers.

                                                            glad your not having an issue but we were assured by technical that this would be TOTALLY tested and that was the reason for the huge delay.

                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                              i suspect the good people who run this site are none too happy right now. i'll spend a few minutes tomorrow at the apple store to do a few more routine tests (upgrading the home network) but i'm not counting on finding out much.

                                                              just an aside, i hope the chow tech folk can solve the problems (pretty sure there are several) rather than rolling back to a prior software version. we'll see.

                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                Based on this and the copy/paste problem, XP SP2 and IE6 may not be their target platform, though it probably still has the largest market share--even with the advent of Vista and IE7.

                                                                To be fair, not everyone running IE6 may be having these problems, making it more difficult to debug. Have the developers indicated whether they've been able to replicate them? There have been some changes in the past few days in the way the screen is painted, so something's being done behind the scenes.

                                                                Has anyone with IE7 reported in recently? I remember some much earlier changes that hadn't been tested properly with IE7.

                                                                1. re: ahr

                                                                  I just tried with IE 7. Win XP SV2. Page loads slow on every page. Definately waiting on the ads to load. Cut & paste does work with IE 7 though.
                                                                  IE 7.0,5730.11
                                                                  Going back to Firefox, at least the slowdowns there are much less a problem.

                                                          3. So this software is being developed and tested on a platform that is used by 2.87 percent of the browsing public. Also, you aren't testing using browsers used by 87% of the browsing public. I now totally understand why existing, free, fully functioned forum systems weren't used as none of it is written for Apple platforms.

                                                            Source for my statistics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_sh...

                                                            1. Just downloaded Firefox 2.0.0.4 onto the SAME computer where I'm having all the Chowhound loading issues with IE 6.

                                                              Amazingly, no loading issues arise at all with Firefox. The page loads quickly and thoroughly. I can copy and paste with Firefox.

                                                              I go back to IE 6, and have same super-slow loading issues. Again, it's the same computer.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: QueenB

                                                                My experienice exactly. IE6 is super slow on all pages of chouwhound and chow, Firefox runs them with no extra load time. Win XP SP1 (if that matters).

                                                                1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                                                  ditto...same computer and Firefox eliminates that annoying wait time....

                                                              2. I'm using IE 6.0.2900.2180.xpsp_sp2_qfe.070227-2300 on XP Pro SP2, and am not experiencing the slow loading problem.

                                                                Neither am I experiencing it on another computer on a different network using xpsp_sp2_gdr.070227-2254.

                                                                So I'm not surprised the engineer are having trouble pinning down the cause.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                  I am using the exact same IE on XP Pro SP2 and am experiencing horribly slow loading.

                                                                  1. re: wally

                                                                    I posted two different version numbers. Which one are you using?

                                                                2. Just some feed back for engineering -
                                                                  Firefox - back to normal.
                                                                  IE 7 - still slow, but faster than before and the pages are least completely loading now.
                                                                  Still taking a long time to make the mads.chow.com connection.
                                                                  Opera - loading very quickly.
                                                                  Seamonkey - fast but page loads are not complete. Sticking points are:
                                                                  Read speed.pointroll.com
                                                                  Read i.i.com.com
                                                                  waiting for chow.com
                                                                  Safari - Very hit or miss, some pages load fast, some very slow, some incomplete.

                                                                  All browsers run on win xp pro service pack 2 w/all current updates.

                                                                  1. I am continuing to have the slow loading problem on both my home and work computers. Both use internet explorer. I've been a longtime poster on chowhound and the problem is so bad that I've stopped coming here regularly.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: DanaB

                                                                      Yay! Things seem to be back to normal with loading times. Thanks!!

                                                                    2. No issues browsing through Firefox (1.5.0.11) some definite issues with IE7 (7.0.5730.11).

                                                                      1. so jfood sits and watches the posts load quickly....THEN....the avatar on whos talking hang the system....THEN some of the avatars load....THEN....that STUPID AD LOADS WITH THE SPEED OF SLEEPING TURTLE...THEN...we get a pop-up for a survey...THEN....we get to read the posts.

                                                                        So why don't you get rid of the avatars and go back to the names, GET RID OF THE STUPID ADS ON THE RIGHT SIDE so we can get to the posts.

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                          Firefox 2.0.0.4 and never had a problem with loading.

                                                                          1. re: georgeb

                                                                            Firefox seems to allow you to scroll and click before the ad completely loads.
                                                                            I've found that on chowhound, IE 6 does not want to allow you to do anything until that ad is completely up and running.
                                                                            It's the ads causing the problem. I'm pretty darn sure of that.

                                                                            1. re: QueenB

                                                                              Aha! Perhaps the slow-load problem is more prevalent than we've been led to believe, but some people don't complain (or perhaps even notice it) because they get control--i.e., they can scroll and click--before the page has completed loading.

                                                                              1. re: ahr

                                                                                Perhaps.
                                                                                Though, I notice that the pages are loading slower at work with Firefox than they are at home.

                                                                                Engineering, Chowhound keeps slowing down on the following things:
                                                                                "transferring data from google-analytics.com"
                                                                                "transferring data from amch.questionmarket.com"
                                                                                "transferring data from ad.doubleclick.net"

                                                                                Now, I don't know what all these things are...but I DO keep getting messages that a Questionmarket pop-up ad is being blocked by my pop-up blocker. I'm talking every 3 Chowhound pages or so.

                                                                                Are you guys going the pop-up ad route? Because it is REALLY annoying and very spammy.

                                                                                1. re: QueenB

                                                                                  Much of our advertising comes to us via external sources that we don't have direct control over. The recurring pop-up problem, unfortunately, is from one of those external sources. We're working on having it removed, again.

                                                                                  1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                    Thanks Jacquilynne. Appreciate the response.

                                                                        2. I have IE. Same problems. I miss you, little Chowhound. Please come back.

                                                                          1. Internet Explorer users might get some relief from this:

                                                                            http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/us...

                                                                            1. We just deployed what we hope is a fix for the slow loading problem on IE.

                                                                              Let us know if it helped.

                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Engineering

                                                                                Yes, definitely less stoppage of play when I use IE over here.

                                                                                1. re: Engineering

                                                                                  It's much better now, thank you.

                                                                                  1. re: Engineering

                                                                                    Runs quite well now with IE6.

                                                                                    1. re: Engineering

                                                                                      Finally!! I just noticed a change and came here to see if others have seen it. Pages are loading more normally now though the band across the top (Recipes, Boards, etc.) is about a second or so behind. I can certainly live with that.

                                                                                      Thanks, Tech crew, for working to straighten things out.

                                                                                      1. re: RGR

                                                                                        Same here with IE6. Much better now. Thanks, guys.

                                                                                      2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                        It helped. I am using IE 7.0.5730.11 if you might need that information. Thanks everyone at Engineering.

                                                                                        1. re: Engineering

                                                                                          Could you please post what the IE slow loading problem was caused by, and how you fixed it?

                                                                                          My dev team is currently trying to solve what seems to be the EXACT SAME SYMPTOMS on a site we're developing, and have not had any success yet.

                                                                                          Thanks
                                                                                          Jonfen

                                                                                          1. re: jonfen

                                                                                            Hi jonfen,

                                                                                            The problem cleared up after we removed a use of Prototype's $$() function to get a handle on a list of elements, opting instead for a simple "hand-made" array of named IDs. The former option created a memory leak or some such nastiness with IE.

                                                                                        2. I don't know what was wrong before, but the site is definately loading faster now. Thanks!

                                                                                          1. I am having slow loading of pages at least half the time. Seems to be a little less of an issue on Firefox. I have very fast cable service and a very fast PC and this is really disappointing. Your site is one of the worst that I am willing to use.
                                                                                            Sometimes, if the page is loading very slowly, I can refresh the old page and then it will load the new page very fast on the second try.
                                                                                            I think these ad loads from second sources are part of, if not wholly responsible for, the problem. Previously, in this thread, you said you have no control over this. BS

                                                                                            It is also not unusual for the screen to hang when I edit and save a post. It just now happened.

                                                                                            1. I've been noticing a very similar symptom over the last few months, but I'm not sure I'd call it 'slow loading'.
                                                                                              It appears to me that a significant number of page requests are Discarded/Lost by the server chain; if I click Stop then Reload I usually get a fast response.
                                                                                              BTW I use Firefox v2.