A Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger Big Cartel

2012 is shaping up to be a year of moves for Big Cartel.

As you may have heard, we recently moved into a beautiful new office. With that under our belt, we thought we’d let you in on another big move we’ve been working on for the better part of this year.

Starting out

When we started building Big Cartel, we knew we needed help with some of the behind the scenes nerdery that makes a website run. For the last 7 years, and 250,000 stores, we’ve relied on the fine folks at Rails Machine to provide the servers, bandwidth, and core infrastructure that we could build on. Without their help in those early days, it’s likely we never would have reached these milestones.

Growing pains

As the site grew, so did the demands on our servers. Every new store brought more and more traffic. Some of you even started selling amazing limited edition items that had people lining up in droves. It was like beanie baby mania all over again. You may not have known about the cut-throat panicked refreshing going on at the shop next door, but you probably noticed there were times your shop was a bit slow or a customer got an unexpected error page.

As more and more artists began depending on Big Cartel for their livelihoods, it became clear that we needed more control over the infrastructure that powers the site.

Shaping up

Late last year, we started looking for some awesome folks to join the team and help make our server infrastructure fitter, fleeter, and more stable than ever. With their help, we’ve set up our own networks and servers in an undisclosed desert location. We’ve spent months installing monitoring systems, tweaking configuration files, and tuning minute details till we were satisfied. All of this will allow us nearly complete control of every aspect of the delivery of our stores. True artisans, whatever their field, have an intimate knowledge of their tools, ingredients, or materials, and now we can say the same.

Shipping out

This coming Sunday night (midnight Eastern to be exact) Big Cartel will move into its new digital home. We’ve done everything we can to make the transition smooth, but you may notice a few bumps. A cross-country move isn’t easy after all. Our internal billing system and Pulley have already made the jump and assure us the water is fine. With any luck you won’t even notice the brief outage we’ll take to make the transition but will notice a faster, more reliable Big Cartel.

Moving forward

To show we’re serious about continually improving our server speed and uptime, we’re rolling out a new status page that’s automatically updated any time there’s an issue with the site. We’ll also continue to be transparent about any problems that arise, and we’ll work around the clock to make sure your products are always online and selling.

We love helping you make a living from your art – and we thank you for trusting us with your store. Here’s to everyone’s continued growth.