The art of verschlimmbessern

The art of verschlimmbessern

Back in April, I started implementing BunnyCDN in Magic Pages. It took me over a month to jump through many different hoops and the development was quite nerve wracking.

BunnyCDN is a content delivery network. The purpose is very simple: take a website – and make it faster.

That wasn't much of an issue for me. I usually sit in my home office in Austria – and the Magic Pages servers are located in Germany. Just a small hop across the border. In fact, if I left by car now, I could visit my servers in around 3.5 hours.

But speed was a big issue for some of my customers that were further away – like Singapore or Argentina. For them, it sometimes took 5+ seconds for a page to load.

So, the goal was for BunnyCDN to help with that. And well…it did. The page load for customers in Singapore went down to around one second.

But…it also went to one second for me, and every customer sitting in Central Europe. Before the BunnyCDN integration, the first bytes were loaded after around 500ms – around half of that.

Yay. Thankfully, the German language has a word for this: verschlimmbessern. I freaking love that word.

ChatGPT describes it like this:

The German term "verschlimmbessern" describes an attempt to improve something that instead makes it worse. It's a combination of the words "verschlimmern" (to make worse) and "verbessern" (to improve). This concept is often used to describe situations where someone's efforts to fix or enhance a problem, object, or situation unintentionally result in additional complications or a decline in the original state. In English, while there isn’t a direct single-word translation, it is colloquially akin to the phrase "to make matters worse" in the context of attempting improvements.

And hey, I still love the fact that things improved quite a bit for some customers. But it just rubs me the wrong way that, at the same time, other customers have a slower response time.

So, solution to that? Probably look at a different content delivery network. I spoke to BunnyCDN about this, and for them "everything works as intended". Nothing you can do about it. Integrating a content delivery network means more network requests – so, more latency, and back and forth between servers.

I am currently trialing Fastly on this blog. The biggest difference is that they are caching the entire page, rather than assets like images, Javascript files, and so on. And boy, oh boy. The speed is quite incredible.

But so is the price tag 🙃

I'll need to do some calculations on whether this is doable for Magic Pages. So, stay tuned. You really never get bored when running a business, hm?