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Is this something that can be remedied with upgrading servers, processors, RAM, etc?
Is it possible our programmer did not do a thorough job?
If anyone knows, please advise, I would still love to put rewrite back up and our company is willing to hire someone to do this, if they can do it right.
Without seeing your mod_rewrite code I can't really comment on what to do or not, but when I used the RewriteCond, which was shown to me on WebMasterWorld, it worked without any problems.
Perhaps ask your developer if he has RewriteCond used in the rewrite_module...
You might want to read Marcia`s WebmasterWorld Welcome and Guide to the Basics [webmasterworld.com] post which contains a lot of useful information.
Such a severe slow down is most likely due to a misconfiguration, some endless loops, having RewriteLog [httpd.apache.org] enabled and RewriteLogLevel [httpd.apache.org] set to a very high value, etc. You should not do any logging on a live server.
Using /rewriterules/ in your httpd.conf file is really fast. If run Apache [httpd.apache.org] 1.3 and you use them in a directory context this will add quite a bit of overhead since mod_rewrite [httpd.apache.org] has to do subrequests to overcome Apache [httpd.apache.org] 1.3´s API limitations. But even then you should not experience such a slow down as you describe.
I´d suggest you check the configuration and your /rewriterules/ and then give mod_rewrite [httpd.apache.org] another try. You might want to check out An Introduction to Redirecting URLs on an Apache Server [webmasterworld.com] and follow the links to the mod_rewrite [httpd.apache.org] documentation and the URL-Rewriting Guide.
I have no experience with this, but I will pass it on to our programmer.
I have tried to keep up with what you're saying, but unfortunately I don't know what the programmer has done so far (other than crash the server).
Are any of you interested in perhaps taking this project on for some kind of payment?