Why I now hate Concrete5!

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I hate to have to say this, but I now hate Concrete5!

Concrete5 is by far the most easiest CMS to use, but what use is being the easiest to use if it's the hardest to host?

Right now, Concrete5 is completely useless to me and I cannot get it hosted anywhere and I regret investing many hundreds of hours working with it.

I want to host it locally in Australia and don't want it hosted on the other side of the world. I want to be able to call support during business hours and not have to wake up 3am to get support from the other side of the world.

I have tried 3 different hosting companies so far and Concrete5 is completely useless.

With the first host, first page takes 38 seconds to load and all pages thereafter load in around 8 seconds.

With the second host, site works blazing fast, but Concrete5 as an application is useless as it does not work properly in the backend. I cannot access the sitemap due to some sort of bug with Concrete5. If I can't access the sitemap, then I can't edit the site, if I can't edit the site, what use is it then?

With the third host, the site works slow yet again. However the pages only takes 6 seconds to load ... I can't believe I said "only 6 seconds" as if this is a good thing!

I have sought help from the forums numerous times. NOTHING!
I have placed a job with the Concrete5 group on oDesk with 140 members, NOTHING!

Now, the Concrete5 website has this great big spiel about performance from budget hosting companies ... well, neither of the 3 hosting companies are budget hosts. In fact, two of them are the top two host in Australia and on the high end of the scale.

If I had know upfront, I would have well and truly steered clear and chosen one of the top 3 CMS that aren't this painful to host.

Now before I get attacked ... I know many people out there have had no trouble finding hosts, and that's wonderful. I wish I was one of them. Unfortunately, at this point in time I have found Concrete5 a nightmare to host.

I have also called over a dozen other hosting companies to find someone suitable and none of them were.

At this point It seems my only solution is to host directly with Concrete's hosting service. And to be frank, I am not happy! As mentioned, we want to host locally not on the other side of the world. And not to mention those over inflated prices!! COME ON!

To be honest, I feel hoodwinked ... use our CMS it's great, but hey you can't host it anywhere else so here are our over inflated hosting plans ... suck it up which one would you like?

So, as it stands, Concrete5 has been a major disappointment and we regret choosing it as our CMS and cannot trust the product for our client projects. Not to mention we could not get any help in the process.

If there is anyone out there that can help us get this sorted out once and for all, I will be ever so grateful. PLEASE HELP!!

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Enlive replied on at Permalink Reply
Enlive
Hi hivoltage,

Concrete5 is awesome. Don't get hosting confused with CMS. As long as the right PHP modules are used on the server you should be right. In the past we used media temple to host Concrete5, and yes, it was doggedly slow.

We now use Australian Hosting (Sydney) and sites seem super fast. Even though it comes with the price, it's worth every cent.

I would be happy to help.

Take a look at our site and see if that is fast enough for you.http://www.enlive.com.au our showcase also has links to sites using c5 and they all seem as fast.

Cheers,
Rob
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
I don't mean to come across rude, but have you checked out the performance
of you own site? Its not very good!

Some pages take 8+ seconds to load the first time round (maybe un-cached at
that point?).

No, it's not my internet connection. Every other site loads fast - just
seems to be concrete5 sites that are slow.

Your site kind of hangs for a many seconds, progress bar seems to do
nothing, then it decides to start loading.

So maybe Conctere5 is not all it's cracked up to be?
12345j replied on at Permalink Reply
12345j
Hey-
this is a very common issue. There are several tutorials on speeding up/hacks, some optimizers, and some things not to do.
What not to do- You pretty much can't have c5 and c5's database hosted on different servers, this will make it load incredibly slow.
Tutorials-
http://www.concrete5.org/documentation/developers/system/performanc...
http://defunctlife.com/2010/05/slow-speeds-and-speeding-up-concrete...
Optimizers
www.www.concrete5.org/community/forums/chat/concrete-on-steroids/... This is the best one, but can't be used on commercial sites.
http://www.concrete5.org/community/forums/customizing_c5/concrete5-... This is one I made that is license mit open source
http://www.concrete5.org/documentation/how-tos/developers/speed-up-... haven't used this one
http://www.concrete5.org/community/forums/themes/i-wrote-a-regex-fu... haven't used this one
pvernaglia replied on at Permalink Reply
pvernaglia
I've seen huge improvements with this recommendation from Andrews Blog:http://andrewembler.com/posts/improving-the-performance-of-zend-cac...
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
Unfortunately this made no difference whatsoever.
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
I've learn the hard way that Concrete5 doesn't like its database on a seperate server. This ruled out the first host. It would be nice to have known this upfront, it should be documented on the requirements page.

As for the other two hosts, the db is on same server. One is very slow, the other is super fast. In fact, the fast one is very, very impressive, no lag whatsoever.

I'm happy to stick with the fast host and forget about trying 100's of ways to optimize it. Only problem is there's a bug in concrete5 that kills the sitemap and renders the cms useless since I cannot naviage to pages to edit them.

At this point, getting this bug fixed seems to be my only option. Can anyone please help sort this bug out? I'm not the only one that has seen it.
adamjohnson replied on at Permalink Best Answer Reply
adamjohnson
This fixed the "Unable to load sitemap" bug I was experiencing:

http://www.concrete5.org/community/forums/customizing_c5/unable-to-...

Not sure if that is what you were seeing, but if so, it only took about 8 minutes to fix everything. C5 v5.4.2 has this issue already fixed for when it releases.
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
HOORAY!! Problem solved! Thank you so much!

Hopefully there's no more issues and we can finally go live after 2 weeks of trying.
Tony replied on at Permalink Reply
Tony
going to be a contrarian for a moment... For most websites, normally the choice of framework isn't what's responsible for the majority of the load time of a site. Most of the time backend processing should only take a fraction of a second, whereas the vast majority of load time is taken up by network traffic for the various page assets (bottle-necked by local & server side bandwidth), and by the client site script execution & rendering (bottle-necked by the client's system). Sure, if you're on an over-allocated shared host, are getting hammered by tons of traffic, or are running some poorly written code, then things will start thrashing, it'll get backlogged, and it may take a few seconds for the server to dish up the initial response. But this is true for any CMS software. You can see if this is happening by taking a look with TOP. If you're maxing out on system resources, and you're on a shared server, even a virtual server, then it's often the case that other websites running on the same hardware are a lot of the reason that system resources are overstretched. Hosts have a financial incentive to maximize the number of websites running their hardware, which is a good reason to get yourself a dedicated server if you haven't already.

btw, I'm not seeing any reason to complain about the load-times on thathttp://www.enlive.com.au site. Each page seems to load within 2-3 seconds for me here in southern oregon.
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
frz
I agree with Tony completely. We're never going to be able to compete
with static HTML files, and seeing as budget hosting is very much a
commodity there certainly is a race to the bottom there.

That being said, I think it's important to point out performance has
never been our first priority. When we architect things our concerns
typically are Flexibility, Ease of Use, and then in a far third -
Performance and Scalability. We also haven taken the view that as long
as performance can be improved with planning and resources, we've done
enough. This comes from our past experiences building big sites for
big brands on big server arrays. As long as there's nothing you can't
optimize with some work and tweaking, you're okay. So if you want to
throw some money around, there's nothing keeping you from having a
blistering fast site with concrete5.

Now the reality is things have changed for us since we went open
source. We now have many thousands of people out there using concrete5
on budget hosts after installing it from a 1-click process. A lot of
these people have never even been to concrete5.org - their entire
experience is through the CMS itself. This is awesome, and we really
believe we can do a better job of serving their needs while still
honoring the priorities that have made concrete5 useful for these
larger sites in the past. It's just not been something we've had a lot
of time or focus on in the past.

There's a lot of queries we could optimize. There's a lot of questions
we should be asking about "does EVERYTHING need to be cached?" This
type of stuff just comes out of trying different approaches out and
dialing in what works for the most people as the default. We've
already set aside some time next week to go through and see what we
might be able to dramatically tweak under the hood. Expect more
performance improvements to be in the version released after 5.4.2.

best wishes

Franz Maruna
CEO - concrete5.org
http://about.me/frz
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
Yes I agree ... mostly. I've noticed that c5 users tend to blame the hosting environment quite a lot ... and probably with good cause.

However, we have hosted c5 with two of the top end hosting companies, ones that do not overload their servers with 4000 sites. We steered clear from the budget hosting companies.

They don't need to host 4000 sites on one server because they charge a a premium price for their hosting.

The hosting company assessed the situation and there were no bottlenecks on the server, the server was not being "hammered".

The fact that the same server has other cms that work perfectly fine and c5 doesn't is a clear indication that there is something wrong with c5. From my experience I am convinced there are performance issues with c5 that need to be addressed.

The sitehttp://www.enlive.com.au is very slow, I have tried on two separate Internet connections with separate ISP's.

If you are experiencing good page load times, then possibly in this particular case the server may have been under strain and since you viewed it while it was middle of the night here in Australia when most people are a sleep then the server may have been running normal.

Or the the reason could be the server is actually located in a US data center and there are some lag times involved when viewed here in Australia. Just because they're using an Australian hosting company doesn't mean the servers are located in Australia. We found this out from one of the hosts we tried and blamed the poor performance due to the servers being in the US. Whether or not this affects performance so much, I don't know, I'm just going by what the hosting company we tried had said.

The other thing is the pages may have been cached when you looked at it because today the site seems to load faster. However, I must have found a page that wasn't cached as it was slow to load.
Tony replied on at Permalink Reply
Tony
so you were on a shared host or a virtual host then? Do you try running TOP to see if the CPU usage or memory was excessive? And whether it was apache or mysql was consuming most of the system resources?
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
Shared
Enlive replied on at Permalink Reply
Enlive
When you said that our site was loading slow I thought "Bullshite". Then I checked, and yes, some pages took about a minute to load. I killed the tweetcrete addon for that page and bingo, pages load superfast again.

So here's my question, is there an addon/script that relys on external servers?

I will be killing tweetecrete for all pages because yes, 1 minute to load a page is unacceptable.
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
Glad I was able help :)

I noticed 15 minutes ago it was running very fast. Cool!
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
Enlive, who's your hosting company? I'd like to check them out.
Thanks.
C5LABS replied on at Permalink Reply
C5LABS
The upcomming version of c5 should be faster as the core team has picked up some improvements discussed in the community.
If you put all in a balance performance vs cost and hours spent giving support to clients I belive that you will realize that c5 only brings you benefits.
I would sugest to look at it again,
Find a optimized hosting solution.
take a look on how to optimize c5.
make it your own config and reusit accross your sites.
I would rather spend 10 seconds + explainning to a client why is site takes 8 sec to load than spending 2 hours trainning the client to do something.
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
When is the next version of c5 due? I cant wait much longer I need to get out site up, lost 2 weeks on this already.

Sorry, but 8+ seconds is just not acceptable no matter how easy the cms is to use. Web users are impatient and will not sit for that long for pages to load, they'll go elsewhere. The site is just too painful to use when it's this slow.

If you think about the lost revenue from a high bounce rate due to slow performing concrete5, then I don't think any of the "benefits" outweigh the losses.

I really do want to stick with c5. I want to get this resolved. If I can't then I have no choice. We will not go live with such painfully slow site.
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
frz
We're expecting to release 5.4.2 this week.
It should address all sorts of bugs including the site map one you mention. Just check the bug tacker to see how we're doing.

I feel your frustration with performance, and it's absolutely a concern for us. We are incorporating some of the ideas from the "miser" thread so that may help. I do agree that 8 seconds is way too long for a page to load.

I do feel like I need to point out concrete5 will never be as fast as static HTML files, and it's always going to benefit from being on a optimized server. I'm not saying you need to run it on a dedicated machine or anything, but to hear that you'd consider bluehost an expensive option makes me wonder if we're ever going to be able to meet that measure of success.

That being said, you're absolutely right to be frustrated with the lack of releases this year, we're focused on that now.

Best wishes,
(Pecked out on a mobile device...)
http://about.me/frz
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
Thanks Franz. I have not lost all hope for the product ... looking forward to the new release. Can't wait!!
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
It's not that I find your hosting plans "expensive", but rather "over priced" for what's offered. Hey, maybe that's just me.

I don't have a problem paying $45 (or more) a month for hosting, but I do have a problem paying that amount when we can get a lot more for the same price with local top end hosting companies that charge a premium price.

We're not interested in budget hosting - and happy to pay a premium price providing it's not over priced compared to other premium priced hosting companies.

But - putting costs aside, the main reason is we want a local hosting company so we can have support during work hours and not 3am.
pvernaglia replied on at Permalink Reply
pvernaglia
If you are willing to pay $45 a month get a Virtual Private Server, you should have no problems then. You can put APC on it, tweak it all up and your good to go.

It shouldn't matter where they are, if they are good you will get 24hour support. You often get through quicker at 3am!

But, having trouble with several hosting companies would lead me to think there is something wrong with your theme or content. It's pretty easy to see what's bogging you down with one of the browser developer tools
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
frz
I was responding to this:

"Now, the Concrete5 website has this great big spiel about performance from budget hosting companies ... well, neither of the 3 hosting companies are budget hosts. In fact, two of them are the top two host in Australia and on the high end of the scale."

bluehost charges 5.95 a month. I don't know what you can possibly be looking for out of a webhost, but in my book that's pretty budget centric. I mean I'm all for people not having a negative meme in their head that "concrete5 is slow". I simply don't think that's accurate in the big picture, but I do recognize concrete5 can be resource intensive and it was not designed to be fast on every host, everywhere, at all costs. Seriously tho, if you're going to look at a host that offers you space at less than 6 bucks a month and call that expensive, you're putting more faith in your middleware layer than you should.

For example, we added a bunch of flexibility around Zend Cache to reduce DB calls on an average page load. That's great, but if you're running a site on a server with hard drives that are slow (less than 7,200 rpm) its quite likely that the file based cache is going to be slower than the slow queries were in the first place. Does that mean we shouldn't have done the Zend Cache work? Not at all, for those of us willing to buy a decent hard drive its an awesome performance boom. I guess my point is not to start a useless grumpy debate here.. We all want to nip this "concrete5 is slow" idea in the bud before it mistakenly takes hold, and like i've said we're eager to do what we can to make that happen. My point is this is a balancing act between software and hardware. I totally get that we can do more here and we're eager to do so...
I'm just sayin:

Blaming only the software ain't gonna help.

Regarding us charging $45/month for hosting.... Yeah, it's not designed to be cheap. I think we're pretty clear at this point on the hosting page about which plans are designed for who. We're not really targeting folks like yourself with it. It's for small businesses.

Moving right along.
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
Sorry, but I dont see what bluehost has anything to do whith this. We've been looking only at premium hosting companies and not budget ones. I understand that c5 is not designed to work with budget hosts, therefore we steered clear of them.

We went straight to one of the top end hosting companies that service the corporate "big boys" ... which is well above the "small businesses" you cater for with your own hosting.

Even with them, c5 was too slow. Perhaps there servers aren't up to scratch, I don't know. But they are by no means a budget host and on the furtherst end of the scale.

Anyway, we've found a host that runs c5 very fast (it was tough looking), and the sitemap issue has been resolved so right now all is good.
mesuva replied on at Permalink Reply
mesuva
G'day people!

Just thought I'd add my two cents. I'm Australian and all my clients are Australian, so I'm naturally hosting the Concrete5 sites I build on Australian servers where I can.

In the last six months I've installed C5 about 15 or more times to Australian servers, across 6 different hosts. Of the hosts, only one has been problematic in terms of speed and startup times - I've moved away from them. Still have one site with them that I optimised heavily, and it's acceptable for now.

For some examples of C5 running on different Australian servers:
http://www.mesuva.com.au/ - my site :-)
http://www.pats4paws.com.au/ - on my reseller account.
http://www.pactit.com.au/
http://www.sapasc.com.au/
http://www.saba.org.au/
http://www.gryc.com.au/ - the 'slow' one...

The above are all different, and I think examples (for people in Australia at least) of acceptable to pretty good speeds.

I do very much sympathise with the frustration hivoltage has experienced, hosting problems are always stressful. I'm a bit surprised that you've called over a dozen hosts and not had luck...

On the other hand though, hivoltage, please don't take your frustrations out on the message boards by using inflammatory language. I've seen a great amount of help given on these boards (and received it myself), so perhaps you've just been unlucky with support. If I had noticed your posts in the past asking for a recommendation for an Australian host, I would have posted a reply, honest.

I think Concrete5 is a little more sensitive to speed issues than say Joomla or Wordpress, but it is definitely fine on most hosts.

To keep things simple I now resell hosting myself and this has worked out great for me and in the end cheaper for my clients. When requirements are higher, I recommend the same host, but their own plan.

The company I use is called Servers Australia and they are based in Sydney -
http://www.serversaustralia.com.au/business-web-hosting.php...

Very happy to recommend them, as not only is the speed good, but they have set up their servers with correct permissions!

Hope that helps!
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
Ok you've given me some hope. Your site loads very fast. Who's it hosted with?
RadiantWeb replied on at Permalink Reply
RadiantWeb
APC helps vastly I might add.
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
Yes, so I've heard. Problem is, I cannot find a host in Australaia that runs APC. Of all the hosts I spoke to, not one supported APC. I'm sure there's someone out there that does, but I haven't found one yet.
mesuva replied on at Permalink Reply
mesuva
My site is also on my reseller account with Servers Australia
http://www.serversaustralia.com.au/...

The pactit one I listed is with NetRegistry, which runs pretty quick too I reckon.
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
Arrr! NetRegistry? Get them away from me!

They are our current hosting company, and the first one we tried ... The one that took 38+ seconds to load a page.

I am surprised you have had success with them. Alot of people have complained about concrete5 sunning too slow with NetRegistry.

They were horrible to deal with, and not very helpful at all. Took them 3 days to respond to a request, and that was with me complaining loudly in order to get some service. I don't want to deal with them again.

Basically, they run their databases on seperate servers which is a no no for c5 (as I have now learnt).

The second hosting company we tried, the one that's super fast but we can't access the sitemap, is actually a reseller of net registry and their server runs incredibly fast.

I'm told because they run FastCGI and their databases are on the same server.

Anyway, perhaps net registry could have hosted it for us, they weren't helpful at all, and very rude about the situation. They've lost our business.
Tony replied on at Permalink Reply
Tony
I don't see how simply running a database on a separate server would make any difference provided that there was a good connection between the web-app server and the DB server, & the DB server was up to par? what was the actual issue? (please don't say "it was slow")
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
I dont know the science behind it, but this is what i was told by the host, it has also been mentioned by another member in this discussion, and it's been documented in other discussions.

I agree doesn't make any sense to me - but this seems to be a problem with c5.
Tony replied on at Permalink Reply
Tony
interesting. wasn't aware of that issue. sounds like a few users have found workarounds, but not sure if it's the same problem you were running into:http://www.concrete5.org/community/forums/installation/database_tro...
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
Yes the pactit site does in fact run pretty quick ... Im surprised it's with NetRegistry - I had 38+ second page load with them.
mesuva replied on at Permalink Reply
mesuva
Yep, I agree that support is a really important part of the equation.

With the pactit one, that is with netregistry BUT is it reseller hosting as well (Pact's own reseller account, not mine). I'm guessing different plans/products would suggest different servers, different configurations.

I just had a look, and yes, I turned caching off completely for the Pact site - I think that was critical.
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
Yes, I found the same thing with NetRegistry, if you turn off cache, it runs significantly faster which is ODD. I just wasn't keen on leaving it off.
hivoltage replied on at Permalink Reply
HOORAY! Thanks to 'riotaj', I have managed to fix the sitemap issue which prevented us from going live with the fast hosting company.

So, hopefully after some further testing we wont find any other show stopping glitches and can finally go live after 2 weeks of trying.

Fingers crossed all goes well from here.

And just for the record ... I no longer hate Concrete5!! Thanks everyone for your help!
Enlive replied on at Permalink Reply
Enlive
Can we get to see your live site? I'd be interested to see how fast it loads for me.