Building and Scaling a Startup on Rails: 12 Things We Learned the Hard Way

Garry Tan, cofounder of Posterous, lists 12 lessons for scaling that apply to more than just Rails.

  • Use cloud storage for static files.
  • Use HTTP Cache Control to tell the browser what it can cache.
  • Use Sphinx for text search.
  • Use InnoDB for more crash resistant and faster writes.
  • Don't use textbook Rails ActiveRecord objects. Use New Relic to find exactly what is slow in your system.
  • Use memcache later so you find your database bottlenecks now.
  • Use mongrel proctitle to find your slow queries. You are only as fast as your slowest queries.
  • Use asynchronous job queuing to do work in parallel.
  • Use monitoring so you'll know when your site went down and why.
  • Learn by reading the source code, fixing problems, and submitting them back to the community.
  • Use new plugins. Old plugins can't be trusted.
  • Use new information. Old information can't be trusted.