This site is actually hosted on a cloud service called Amazon EC2. EC2 changes now and again. As they buy new and faster hardware (computers) they tend to decommission the older ones and makes the top tier the new middle tier, and in effect marking down the prices. In addition to this regular upgrade cycle, competitors like Google Compute Engine and Microsoft Azure lower prices to stay competitive and EC2 has to follow suit.
It's because of these upgrade and competition cycles that prices and server specs tend to fluctuate. Since this site has been using the same configuration for about a year now, I decided to check if there's newer, faster, cheaper hardware.
It turns out there is. I was basically able to double the power of the site's hardware. EC2 is great because all it takes is 3 clicks to make the change. The site was down for about 2 minutes all together. So if you noticed an outage, that's probably why.
The upshot of this upgrade is that the site should run noticeably faster and handle noticeably more users. As a matter of fact, usage tends to increase about 30% percent year-over-year. In fact, this has been a great year because the gain has been 34% overall. Check out the image below.
|34% year-over-year usage increase|