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A note about the recent site slow downs

4/30/2013 in ClearCheckbook News
As some of you have noticed about once a week it seems like the site really starts to slow down and get sluggish or not let you log in. This is caused by a few issues which I'll explain below. We're also working to fix these issues so the site continues to run quickly and efficiently in the future.

Issue #1: Complex Database Queries
ClearCheckbook has massive amounts of data we have to process each time you perform an action on the site. To give you a little perspective, we have over 39 MILLION transactions in our database. On an average day we're getting almost 50,000 new transactions added to the site.

This is a lot of data to handle and some of the reports or search functions require processing a lot of this information. The database queries to perform some of these actions are very complex and can take a while to complete. What we've noticed by looking at our logs after a site outage is that people get a little impatient and refresh the page or click the search button several times in a row which adds to the list of complex queries being run. It acts a bit like a snowball where the more of these complex queries that add up, the longer it takes the site to get to other less intense queries. If enough of these build up, it causes the slowdowns you experience.

We're usually around to catch these pretty quickly but sometimes they happen early in the morning before we're at our computers.

Issue #2: Site Growth
This is something we've had to deal with since we launched the site almost 7 years ago. ClearCheckbook is very popular and always seems to be growing. We're not complaining about that at all, but it seems like with each growth spurt we discover new issues that arise due to large amount of traffic hitting the site.

When you combine both of those issues, it means our site is getting used at all times by people all over the world and there's constant database activity. As more people use the site, more of those complex queries are getting regularly run.

What We're Doing:
Each time the site goes down it's because of the database being overloaded. When this happens we can look at the longest running queries to figure out what started the so called "snowball" mentioned above. Whenever this happens, we look at the queries in question and work on optimizing them and the database to prevent this from happening again.

We've fixed countless queries and performed more optimizations to the site than we'd care to admit and we believe we're getting close to optimizing all of these complex queries that take a little longer to run.

I built ClearCheckbook because I wanted a way to easily manage my money. When I made this my full time job in September 2009 it became my main focus and all I wanted was to see the site succeed and help people with their finances.

Whenever the site has these hiccups it may frustrate you, but believe me when I say that it's infinitely more frustrating to me. We have almost a quarter million registered users so whenever there's a site issue I feel like I'm personally letting everyone down.

All I ask is that you're patient with us while we're going through some of these growth spurts. We're constantly working to make the site better by providing updates, new features, quick bug fixes and more.

-Brandon

Comments for this post:

it's fine
I have been using this for quite awhile. It is the best around. I like the fact I can access it from any computer. I wish there was an app for Windows Phone 8, but the mobile site works well. Thanks for all your hard work. Keep it up.
by Oditius.old.1403735490 on Apr 30, 2013
Keep up the great job!
The success of your site is the cause of your problems!

If your site wasn't so good, you wouldn't have as many problems
by gweissbock on Apr 30, 2013
No complaint
Hei, I'm sure nobody complain, we're thankful for the service you provided,

When im experiencing lag or slowness, i just close it and entry my transaction later, I appreciate your great work

cheers up Brandon :)

by tidzar on Apr 30, 2013
grow with good product and attention
CCB Team
You guys do a good job and has attention when discussing the situation.
let's move on!

thanks Team and Brandon.
by Agostinho on May 1, 2013
CCB is great
Brandon and Team,

It is certainly much appreciated that you come forth and explain what is going on with CCB. You do it very well and your explanations are always very clear and easy to understand. My experience with the site over time proves to me that you and your team are dedicated to a quality product and customer satisfaction. A few hiccups or glitches along the way are no worries because I trust that they will be corrected in a timely manor. Like tidzar said, if at the time I log in things are not quiet working I just wait for another time. No harm, no foul. You guys are doing a great job and I thank you.

Fred
by acr_scout on May 4, 2013
Great job
I appreciate your honesty and being up front about the issues at hand and your dedication to resolving them.
You have a great website and it just keeps getting better.
Thank you for all the hard work you do.

Tim
by tandmgray on May 4, 2013
Keep up the good work!
Brandon, one of the reasons why I became a paying customer is your dedication to the site!
by twim7693 on May 5, 2013
Great Job...
A little hiccup every now and then is fine. I think we all understand you are dedicated to this site and it is a passion for you. As other have said, you seem to be on top of the site issues.. so we know that anything wrong will be fixed ASAP.
Thanks for making a great site.
by zerch911 on May 7, 2013
Great Job
Discussions like this are why I prefer, pay for, and recommend your service. I am one who got the so sorry from Quicken, and I don't mind a bit of time where I need to go back to the old day's of writing notes to myself, if I know that someone else is taking that time seriously.

Thanks.
by djbingham5113229 on May 14, 2013
Thank you
Thanks for the information, and for all your work on a great service. I have not found a service better for what I want. I hope that everyone understands that all systems get bogged down sometimes.

What would really help from my position as an Android user would be for the phone app to save a submitted transaction "offline" and try to post it periodically until it succeeds. There should also be an indicator that the transaction is pending successful connection and insertion to the database. As it is, if I try to post a transaction while the system is not responding, my transaction entry is just lost.

Thanks again and best of luck as you work out the kinks.

Jon
by jwhitener on Jun 5, 2013
you are doing great work
i love this utility. thanks you
by playwright on Jun 19, 2013
Good Job!
I have worked in the computer software business for 40 years. I know the frustrations that you go through when there is a "hiccup". I appreciate the speed that these problems get resolved. I use the system everyday & rarely realize it when there is an issue. I love the mobility & simplification of this produce ... Well Done!
by dmcgee on Jan 30, 2014

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