Ensembl mirrors and redirection

As many of you will know, Ensembl now provides three website mirrors, in addition to the main site (http://www.ensembl.org/) located near Cambridge in the UK. These are:

Until the beginning of March we were only automatically redirecting users in the US, Canada and Japan to US West; the other mirrors were only reachable by explicitly visiting the appropriate mirror URL.

By “automatically redirecting” we mean looking at the IP address of each visitor, figuring out roughly where they were located, and sending them to the nearest mirror, a process referred to as Geo-IP-based redirection.

Since the beginning of March, we’ve been increasing the amount of redirection we do. Now, users in the eastern US are redirected to http://useast.ensembl.org/ and users in Australasia are redirected to http://asia.ensembl.org/. You may see a message to this effect the first time the redirect happens. You can of course override the redirection if you want to.

Users in the western US and Japan continue to be redirected to US West; we will be doing some tests over the next few weeks to see if Japanese users will get better performance from the US West or Asia mirrors.

For those interested, we’re using the free version of MaxMind’s GeoLite City which gives us the level of granularity we need, and has proven to be very reliable.

As always, please let us know your experiences of using the mirrors via the Helpdesk.

3 thoughts on “Ensembl mirrors and redirection

  1. Mirrors are nice, except when the local mirror goes down and all the other Ensembl mirrors stupidly forward you to the broken local mirror. Right now US-East is down, and the only way I can do any work with Ensembl is to go to the archive servers, which thankfully do not redirect. There needs to be a way to access the main site, or another mirror, without redirecting.

    • Hi Ariel

      If you go to a non-local mirror site, you should get a popup message asking if you’d like to stay there or go to your local mirror. If that’s not happening for you, it’s a bug – I’ll put a ticket in to have it looked at.


      Anne (Webmaster)

      • Hi Anne,

        I have never noticed that, but I usually don’t go to the other mirrors. I just tried asia and uswest in IE and Firefox (since I always use Chrome) and didn’t get any popups or blocked-popup warnings either.

        That would be a great backup system, if they gave you a choice!