It’s possible that the NetCommunity application in IIS (Microsoft's web server environment where the NetCommunity website lives) is going idle because not enough visitors are accessing your site. By default, the IIS application pool timeout for non-hosted NetCommunity websites is 20 minutes. For sites hosted by Blackbaud, this timeout is currently 120 minutes. If your site does not receive any page hits within that time, it goes idle. What this means is that the next person to visit the site will see their first page take a bit longer to load while the application re-loads in IIS on the web server. But all page requests from that point on will load normally.

It’s also possible that the slow page load is the first page loaded after the NetCommunity application pools have been recycled in IIS. After an application pool recycle, the NetCommunity site also needs to load into IIS just like it does when the application goes idle from inactivity. As with an idle timeout, the first person to visit the site after an application pool recycle will see a longer first page load (20-30 seconds). But all subsequent pages should load normally. By default, the IIS recycle frequency is every 29 hours. For sites hosted by Blackbaud, this recycle is once every 24 hours and occurs after-hours.  If you host your own NetCommunity site, you may still wish to perform a scheduled nightly app pool recycle during the middle of the night. This is a common practice for ASP.NET applications (IIS6 or IIS7). If you host your own NetCommunity site, you can consider increasing the IIS app pool idle timeout setting. However, the ideal solution is to increase site traffic.  For more information on slowness due to first website access of the day, visit First website access is slow.

The best way to prevent any such slower page loads is to increase traffic to your website. Ideally your target should be to generate sufficient traffic to your site that the idle timeout is never reached and the application stays ‘alive’ in IIS. Options to ensure the site stays alive include:
  • Use a site monitor tool, which will ping the site every 5 minutes.  Site monitoring tools have additional benefits of monitoring for down time on the site, and also checking response rates.  
  • Disable idle time outs in IIS.  If you are fully hosted by Blackbaud, Click Chat with Support and reference this article.  If you are split hosted, or host both servers internally, you may log into IIS to disable the idle time outs on the BBNC Web Server, and/or the Raiser's Edge Web Server .  For more information on disabling idle time outs visit How To Disable Idle Time Outs in IIS.