Meet the New Mr. Money Mustache

mmmAs anyone viewing this on the main website already knows, MMM has a new face. To be accurate, it is more like a new face, head, skeleton, body, and nervous system. But the personality remains mostly the same. Since this is a big event for any website owner, and since quite a few readers are also writers themselves, I thought I would share some quick details on the Why and How behind all of this. But first a note for long-time readers.

Two Modes for Two Different Groups

Right under the title image, you should see the option to select between two different views: Fancy Magazine, and Classic Blog. People who show up here for the first time (about 28% of all visitors) will get the Fancy Magazine view – it contains a selection of introductory posts and information that is useful for new people to get acquainted, and if we’re lucky, sucked in. If you switch to Classic Blog, the fancy stuff goes away and you just get a reverse-chronological list of recent posts, just like the old blog had. Then you can make that your permanent MMM page by bookmarking https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/blog/

Hosting: the Raw Power

We make things fairly difficult for ourselves around here: as the number of Mustachians has grown, the main site has had to contend with almost 100,000 page views per day. Web optimization experts tell you that in this situation you should shrink or eliminate images, break things up into shorter pages, and show less on the main page. I have preferred to keep the site richer and compensate with more server horsepower (because I like reading and scrolling, but I hate clicking ‘next page’).

On top of this, the Forum section gets even more views than the main blog, and its massive database of 250,000 posts is proving to be a challenge to all but the biggest CPUs.

To accommodate this, we have moved through the 2,4,and 8 core packages at Digital Ocean over the past year, which provides exceptional computing power for the price.  But last week, we made a major switch to a new web hosting company called Weberz, because of even faster servers and a connection on the inside of the company. We now have our very own dedicated machine with these specs:

Dual Intel Xeon 5506 3.2GHZ CPUs
24GB DDR3 Ram
Mirror Raided 1TB Hard Drives
1000GB Bandwidth
CentOS Linux 6.4 64-Bit

For those not familiar with Computerese, this is a relatively speedy setup for a single website at the time of writing, and we are pleased to put it to the test (so far, even this thing is not immune to slowdowns in times of heavy traffic, but optimization is ongoing).

Other Tricks: We have very good caching in use, which means the server does not have to re-generate every page each time somebody requests it. We have also experimented with content distribution networks (CDNs), but I found that even the best ones, configured by the most sagely experts, broke too many website features to justify the capacity improvement. So we are content with the Brute Force method for now.

The Human Brains

For the past year, the technical side of this site has been managed by an excellent IT guy named Kevin Worthington. He has worked day and night to help us prevent (and recover from) major downtime. The incidents that have affected us have been mostly things outside our control – overall outages at Digital Ocean and our former DNS provider PowerDNS, for example. Kevin does work like this on a freelance basis and I encourage any site owners in need of technical help to get in touch with him. (I’ll remove that last sentence if he ends up overloaded with much-deserved business). The site also benefits greatly every day from the help of Mrs. Money Mustache, and many individual readers who send in helpful tips via email.

 The Trendy New Design

Sometime in late 2013, we got in touch with a talented site designer named Jamie Varon, who runs Shatterboxx. With great patience for my lazy but demanding nature regarding the look of this site, she worked closely with Mrs. MM to get this thing to look the way you see it right now. My goals were Manly, Natural, Badass, and with Minimal Bullshit, and I think she nailed that concept very well.

There was also a lot of technical work involved, which was handled well by Paul Suntup from Zel Creative. The fabric of this new graphic design is stretched across the state-of-the-art Thesis Framework for WordPress. Compared to my old free theme (called ‘Skeptical’), Thesis is reportedly more efficient and customizable, and works better with the search engines. Time will tell, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this new experiment pans out.

This project was months in the making, and since we just went live today, there are many things still being worked on and updated to work with Thesis. Most notable is that the “All Posts Since the Beginning of Time” feature is not yet working properly, but I’ll also need to update many of the old pictures, categorize more posts so they show up in the right lists, and perform many other tweaks*.

Just like moving to a new house, a change like this is a lot of work, but it should be well worth it as we get going on the next stage of our shared mission of converting the world to a Badass Utopia.

In the comments section, let us know if you notice anything else being broken and we’ll work to get it fixed.


* Looking at this thing on my big computer instead of my phone, for example, the fonts and the banner were far too large, and most readers seemed to agree. You can adjust this on most browsers by holding <CTRL> then pressing the <-> or <+> keys or rolling the mouse wheel. But it would be nice for things to be a bit more compact by default.


Update: later this evening, Mrs. MM found the secret stash of stylesheets and we started messing with things using the Thesis theme’s amazing”live preview” feature. We are working our way through and shrinking things down.

All design suggestions welcome!


  • Linda April 29, 2014, 2:43 am

    Love the new design! Loaded very fast for me. Well done Mr MM team!

    Edit: Saving a comment however took a good 30 seconds, possibly database a bit slow?

  • Three Wolf Moon April 29, 2014, 6:06 am

    MMM –

    While the new design was a bit of a shock to the system (humans and change!) I’m sure I’ll get used to it. As far as specific feedback, the biggest issue I’m concerned with is the one Bruno mentioned above – the “newer comments” link from the old version of blog is missing from the articles with more than one page of comments. I can force it to go there by adding “comment-page-2/#comments” to the end of the blog post URL, but this is clearly something that needs to be fixed.

    As to other feedback, I for one like the larger font size (I usually view it on Chrome at 125% of normal). The Gravatar images of the other commenters seem smaller than they were before, that along with the aforementioned extreme left justification of the comments does make it hard to see said images. Definitely like the new view of the sub-comments – great improvement there! Thanks again for all the effort you and the Mrs. put into this site!

    • Mrs. Money Mustache April 29, 2014, 9:45 am

      Thanks for the feedback about the comment pages! We’ll look into it right away.

      • Three Wolf Moon May 3, 2014, 5:08 am

        Looks like it’s fixed – thanks for the great work on a fabulous site Mustache Family!

  • Three Wolf Moon April 29, 2014, 6:13 am

    Also, I just had to comment on your tweet from Sunday re: the Washington Post story. I didn’t get past the first half of the very first sentence to see three things (“routine”, “drive”, and “beauty salon”) that probably represented everything that was wrong with this person’s finances…

  • Andrew April 29, 2014, 6:30 am

    Could you use a lighter background behind the text? My eyes aren’t the best, and it makes it really hard to read.

  • DollarBill49 April 29, 2014, 6:42 am

    Nice changes MMM which I’ve already gotten use to. Glad to have the option of Fancy or Classic. I prefer the Classic. One thing I miss is the MMM Coin. That’s Classic and should be made a permanent fixture on the site.

  • Chattanooga Cheapster April 29, 2014, 7:06 am

    I like it. Only comment is that it looks a LOT like the dollar shave club web site. Any reason why?

    • Mrs. Money Mustache April 29, 2014, 9:43 am

      I had never even seen that site before, so it’s a coincidence. The only real thing that is similar is the wood background. I have seen wood on a few sites, but our site design is entirely custom. We worked closely with the designer and it truly is a site built from scratch.

      I do like that dollar shave club site though! :)

      • chattanooga cheapster April 29, 2014, 11:52 am

        I like it too. And DSC has the same “kick-ass, save money, in-your-face humor” attitude as MMM. Great minds think alike!!

  • Even Steven April 29, 2014, 7:19 am

    I like the new updated look, I couldn’t help but think the old website was one of the reasons you were living on 25K a year! The site reminds me a little of Mustache ‘Movember, which would be an easy one to support come November. Cheers to the fancy new site, don’t let it get to your head, haha.

  • Christos Kostopoulos April 29, 2014, 8:36 am

    That is great, but it would be better if it was also responsive. I read your blog mostly from my cell phone so that would be a great help. That is an idea for the next time maybe.
    Keep writing good content, that would allways be the best about this site!!!!

  • Jana April 29, 2014, 8:45 am

    Love the new design!!!!

  • Brad Orego April 29, 2014, 8:45 am

    Is there any particular reason why the new design isn’t responsive? Pretty much any website made nowadays should be, and while it’s possible to use on a mobile phone, it’s pretty clunky. Someone above said this Thesis template is used by a lot of sites, but I can’t imagine that to be true if it’s not responsive.

  • MD Ninja April 29, 2014, 8:53 am

    I love the new design especially the background. The wood screams bada*s without trying too hard. I also like the fact that you have a somewhat “welcome” page for people new to the site. The welcome page guided me to some great articles that I hadn’t read before.
    I’m glad to know that the look is different but the soul is the same.

  • Lindsey April 29, 2014, 9:03 am

    Hey, MMM! Digging the new look and layout. My only critique is that there is quite a difference between the background color of the article and that of the comments section – the bright white on the dark wood background is somewhat jarring after reading the article. Is there a way to perhaps make the article lighter and the comments section darker to ease the transition on the eye? I didn’t read through all the comments, so by all means discard this if it has been mentioned!

  • Terrik April 29, 2014, 9:19 am

    Looks pretty good! My only suggestion would be to make the comment threads collapsible.

    Not only would it prevent mouse-scroll-wheel-fatigue, but it makes it much easier to follow forks in the conversation if you can collapse one nested response thread to read the next.

    This may be a small or large technical implementation depending on how you’re currently set up. . .

  • Robert April 29, 2014, 9:48 am

    It’s all fine and dandy but Dude – don’t forget to post new content!!!

  • wysockigal April 29, 2014, 10:52 am

    Any suggestions for ecommerce website designers and hosting companies at reasonable prices for small retail business owners? My own site hasn’t been updated in over 10 years due to the costs involved in upgrading. I would love any frugal advice on ecommerce.

    • Fuzz April 30, 2014, 9:56 pm

      Do a little research. I don’t know what you mean by the “high cost” of upgrading. You can get a squarespace site that would handle all your needs for a $8/month, if you do the content. There is a lot to read on this very topic–in fact MMM had a post on how to set up a website in an even cheaper fashion. Google is your friend here (but don’t use godaddy like MMM recommended).

  • Valerie April 29, 2014, 11:20 am

    MMM, I like the new site, but I dearly miss the random post button!

    • Mrs. Money Mustache April 29, 2014, 12:30 pm

      Look carefully. It is still there!

      You can find it at the very top right on the menu to the left of the MMM logo. There is also a BIG ASS RANDOM button that you can click right after the article. Right after the article, in the “Want More?” section, there is a huge random button. It might be so big that you missed it. :)

  • Canadianbudgetbinder April 29, 2014, 11:29 am

    Your designer did a wonderful job as it’s very fitting. What I like the most is the ease of getting where you want go and no clutter. Looks great! Mr.CBB

  • Rutlandish April 29, 2014, 11:37 am

    My GOODNESS alive. I just read through a smattering of the comments to this post, and I’m shocked by all the flippin’ people who are WHINING NINNIES!

    They must all believe that building a website to 100k views-a-day is no biggie. That anyone – in the span of a weekend – can rebrand and revamp a massive site with zero hiccups.

    All I can say is I’m sure glad they have a forum to share their brilliant, expert opinions. Whew.

  • Ree Klein April 29, 2014, 11:55 am

    I LOVE the new design! It really reflects your “badass” content and personality :)
    It took guts to make a change this big, but that’s what you’re all about, right?

  • Edward April 29, 2014, 11:55 am

    [GASP!!] Mr. Money Mustache has turned into Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting from “Gangs of New York”!! That should scare the crap out of spendy people. Photo: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/150378075029263390/

  • Clint April 29, 2014, 12:02 pm

    I like everything about it … except the top hat. Makes you look a little evil. :)

  • Syed April 29, 2014, 12:05 pm

    Really enjoy the new look. Very musky.

  • Lauren April 29, 2014, 12:39 pm

    Honestly the fonts and colors make it soooo hard to read – I’ll be reading via RSS from now on

  • Apples April 29, 2014, 12:42 pm

    Small suggestion-can you switch the location of the newest article and the selection of other articles sections? Generally I read down the left side first, then move over to the right, and it would be easier to find the new article if it were on the left, then browse through other highlighted articles over on the right. And if not, no biggie. my life will move on just fine :p

    • Mrs. Money Mustache April 29, 2014, 12:59 pm

      Apples – as MMM said in the article, you can just read from the “Classic Blog” view instead.

      See: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/blog

      That should get you what you want. It looks almost exactly the same (in functionality) as the old design.

  • Free To Pursue April 29, 2014, 12:59 pm

    What a nice surprise it is to see the new design. And your team’s work on performance improvements are welcome. Thank you.

    Pros: I love the wood background. It fits so well with your do-it-yourself, no nonsense approach to everything.

    Cons(maybe?): Is there a story behind the top hat? It just doesn’t seem to fit your style.

    • Rob in Munich April 30, 2014, 4:45 am

      Me, just the ooposite, I find the brown too 1970s wood panelling, but that’s just my opinion, anyways what really matters is the content

  • Ryan Platte April 29, 2014, 2:02 pm

    Hi, I am a junior mustachian but an experienced website performance tuner. There is some low-hanging fruit that will make this site load faster (20–40% would be within easy reach), and if peak traffic events like major media coverage are problematic, I have some ideas that will take a lot of the load off your server. It’d be a lot of fun to talk you through what I’m seeing and outline some simple steps—could discuss that with you for free, and only charge if there’s something you want me to act on that your team would prefer not to fuss with.

    I would have written this through the contact form if it had been up. :-)

    Hope I can help out with your great work here!

  • The Roamer April 29, 2014, 2:12 pm

    I’m sad change is hard. But I am super happy you already fixed the list of all articles since the beginning of time.. Though I am still having issues with it loading slowly… However I would really like to also get any advice from Mr/Mrs.MM or other blogger on optimizing the look of a blog I am just starting out. A few questions are how do I hide or get rid of the writing under the comment section that begins ” you may use these HTML …” and the goes into code… I think it makes site look bad and unfinished and how can I set up my front page like the old MMM format. I really liked how it showed each post individually with the picture instead of just being one long thread with the titles separating every post … And how do I set up so comment are on same page and not a click away… I know MMM is a community and I have really enjoyed reading all the articles and comment and would appreciate any advice from all you more experienced bloggers… Thanks and thanks MMM for all the tips and challenges…

  • Evan Lynch April 29, 2014, 4:10 pm

    Well, I for one, am not going to be a complainer. I think the new site looks great. I like the larger font size personal, more vertical scrolling does not bother me at all, so long as there isn’t horizontal scrolling. That’s the kiss of death for websites, but it’s something you never have here.

    I could give you a possible recommendation about an alternate host which would be ideal if all you want is more bandwidth, but since I haven’t yet tried it personally, it seems like it’d be a bit hypocritical to do so. One thing I would be curious to hear from you or your IT person, Kevin Worthington, about, is how you manage to defend against what I imagine would be inevitable WordPress attacks on a blog that is this amazingly popular.

  • chris April 29, 2014, 5:17 pm

    Sorry if its a repeat comment, but can we get some mobile-love? Loading this post took 20+ seconds because of all the comments (maybe don’t preload them all?)

    Two more words: Responsive Design

  • Red April 29, 2014, 6:33 pm

    Does the person who designed it know even the basics of UI design and workflow? The banner takes up *half* of the screen space which is crazy considering that this is a blog where content is king. The font size is way too large and the font itself is very difficult to read. The Twitter sidebar with the black on white text is the only readable thing on this page.

    Also, what the hell is a manly web page? Wood = manly?

    I guess I’ll just have to subscribe to the RSS feeds to be able to actually read these posts from now on.

  • Kay April 29, 2014, 7:06 pm

    Looks good! But it took way too long to load. Good luck with the new design!

  • Jennilee April 29, 2014, 9:06 pm

    Please change the default font to a sans serif. Serif is difficult to read on screens although easier to read on paper.

  • Brainiac April 30, 2014, 12:09 am

    Nice improvement in the design.
    I have one suggestion for design improvement. As I read from the computer, the text is primarily only on one narrow column with a lot of space wasted on the sides.
    Am sure this setup will be good with a mobile, but on a desktop, it will be better if we can read more words on the same line rather than moving to a new line after only a few words. (I guess I am too lazy to let my eyes move too much vertically :) )
    So my suggestion (I know a couple of others also mentioned in the previous posts) is to try to increase the horizontal space for placing the text. Is it possible to expand the text after the last block on “Latest tweets” on the page? If not, place the blocks on the top or the bottom of the page and this should reduce the vertical scrolling for the actual blog and comments.
    Am not a web designer, so this idea may be stupid but I guess it is worth a try.

    • theFIREstarter April 30, 2014, 4:14 pm

      “Studies show” that most people don’t actually like scanning too far horizontally, and prefer to move their eyes vertically (or just scroll using a finger or mouse wheel). See here for more info: http://baymard.com/blog/line-length-readability – 50-60 characters per line is the standard, which is about right on this design.

  • Jef Miles April 30, 2014, 8:18 am

    Wow just wow, you’ve really outdone yourself here and your developer is going to get a crazy amount of business..

    The design is brilliant, nice and clean, much less clunkier than your previous one.. Good on you MMM, you’ve come a long way :)

  • Anirudh April 30, 2014, 8:23 am

    Great CPU specs -:).. I actually worked on designing that exact CPU.. all MMM posts are using my work yayy!

  • Sarah April 30, 2014, 11:07 am

    Just wanted to say thanks for the nice orientation for old Mustachians. I was quite jarred seeing the new site, and afraid for a second that someone other than MMM would be writing the posts. This page put me totally at ease, and I appreciate your taking the time to make that explanation for those of us who’ve been readers for a while. The new design looks great.

  • Andy April 30, 2014, 1:38 pm

    I still don’t like the fonts.

    I tried looking at it on my phone too using the Chrome browser on Android. Didn’t work very well. Seemed to freeze especially when trying to zoom in and out.

  • Concojones April 30, 2014, 2:44 pm

    Just wanted to chime in and say I love the new look!
    The banner’s height comes at the expense of the first post (would be nice to see the post’s picture!). You could easily reduce the banner (there’s some excess room above MMM’s head and lots to cut below MMM’s face and “Mr Money Mustache” caption).
    Definitely keep the new theme – it’s brilliant!

  • theFIREstarter April 30, 2014, 4:09 pm

    I signed up to comments and got some emails through that don’t seem to be appearing here… not sure if this an issue you need to look at or not? Some names of commenters were: Red, Brainiac, Jennilee… etc… I thought it might be because they were between mildly negative and a bit rude and got deleted but then also noticed that The Roamer and Evan Lynch is missing, whose comments were neutral/intersting or very complimentary, so maybe there is a problem. Just thought I would let you know! I’ve opened my browser in a new session so don’t think it is local caching, so maybe the caching on your server is a bit over the top… or something :)

    Update…. I am of course being entirely stupid, and just noticed there is another page of comments. D’oh!!!!

    • Red April 30, 2014, 4:16 pm

      It’s because they scrolled to the next page. I was confused about that too when I noticed that the commenting now has pagination. It’s a shame because I liked having all the comments on one page.

      • Evan Lynch April 30, 2014, 5:36 pm

        Actually, the old site design had pagination for the comments too. I think the only difference between the two in that respect is that the new site design now paginates a little earlier than the old site design.

        For a blog this popular, it makes sense from a server side perspective to paginate comments because it means less database hits for each page load. Of course, I’d prefer my earlier comment be on the first page of comments, but it’s not a big deal to me.

  • Bob L April 30, 2014, 5:11 pm

    The site looks really good. I bet this works great for new viewers. I REALLY like that you left us old “I don’t like change” people the chance to go to the Classic Blog which is something that is often lost in page redesigns. My only complaint, which is a complaint for most web sites is that I want Black text on a White background, not grey text on kinda white background or in this case a grey background. I suppose ya can’t please everyone.

  • Little House May 1, 2014, 8:05 am

    The new design is pretty awesome. But, I’m also glad it didn’t mean you sold it! :)

  • Bilgefisher May 1, 2014, 8:12 am

    I want to thank you for leaving in the classic blog link. Its not that I dislike the new look, I just find it harder to navigate to the latest blog posts.


  • Christopher Martin May 1, 2014, 10:07 am

    BAH. this new design looks like a student project and isn’t as easy to use as the old one. It’s slightly prettier, but content is much harder to find (I shouldn’t have to hunt [scroll] for the most recent post). I’ve been reading for a few years so I know the effort’s worth it, but I’m curious to see if new users will be able to digest all the noise on the landing page.

  • Zwit May 1, 2014, 12:31 pm

    Hi MMM, great job! Just to let you know: the e-mail from May 1 “beating the stock market” was displayed differently in gmail: too broad for the screen. I adapted by going to the web version of the blog post, but it may be you’ll loose readers from this tiny detail. All the best from Germany!

  • Red May 3, 2014, 9:42 am

    It looks so much better now! Other suggested changes:
    – Change the font to a sans serif one to promote better readability
    – Decrease the font size by maybe 1 point to fit more content onto one page
    – Cut down the banner size by half so that the content is what you see first when you navigate to the site
    – Consider changing the background color of the post to white like with the comments. Or at least an off-white.
    – Consider removing pagination in comments and allowing everything to show on one page. Mouse clicks are expensive and most people don’t mind scrolling.
    – If you don’t want to remove pagination, at least show the newest comments first. This is an easy to change setting in WordPress.

    Thank you for being responsive to your readers! We love this site and are looking forward to reading more awesome posts where the web design doesn’t get in the way of the reading.

    • David B May 6, 2014, 7:07 am

      Agreed, especially with cutting down the header and removing pagination on the comments. I was also sad that the new site was not responsive, but maybe it will get there someday.

  • Elizabeth May 3, 2014, 2:00 pm

    I like the new look and had no trouble with it loading. I don’t know if anyone else mentioned it , but the similarity of your mustache man to Daniel Day-Lewis in the movie Gangs of New York is striking.

  • RetiredAt63 May 4, 2014, 3:54 pm

    I thought I read somewhere that if we (the “oldtime” readers) click “Classic” we will get the classic view from then on when we come back. I keep getting the main screen with the choice. I know it is just a click away, but it would be nice to be able to see if a new article is posted without having to scroll so far down. Is there something specific I need to do?

  • David B. May 6, 2014, 7:03 am

    Could you set cache headers on the blog page so it shows new content? It currently must be set for a fairly high life (thinking the page is static) since I could not see the new content until today when I did a control-F5 refresh. (I knew there was new content only because I went to the blog on a different PC)

  • Darky May 26, 2014, 7:59 am

    there is a problem if you use an old internet explorer (work policy).
    the cookies don’t update properly. Because of that i didn’t see any newer posts than this one for the last few weeks. Just to let you know.


  • Craig in Cary July 30, 2015, 9:47 am

    RE: “Web optimization experts tell you that in this situation you should shrink or eliminate images, break things up into shorter pages, and show less on the main page. I have preferred to keep the site richer and compensate”

    I’m not a web optimization expert, though I’ve been in IT for 20+ years and have done web development.

    Having said that, I’ve always thought that this advice (from so-called web optimization experts) is BS. Oh, the “shrink or eliminate images” is certainly valid, but the “break things up into shorter pages, and show less on the main page” doesn’t make sense to me.

    Even a single one of the tiny graphics MMM puts on these pages is likely larger than the entire text of the page, including all HTML code and any possible embedded Javascript, etc. The graphics are BY FAR the largest chunk of most web pages. More complex HTML code and Javascript may cause the page to *load* slightly slower in your browser, but it’s fairly negligible with today’s powerful computers, and the web *server* is the focus of most web-opt work, anyway, because it’s usually the bottle-neck for high-volume sites like this one.

    I’ve always felt that news sites, most blogs, etc break articles into multiple pages and force you to click “Next” repeatedly do so for one and only one reason: Advertising. You can put FAR more ads around an article spread across 5 pages than you can realistically do with a single-page article. As I understand it, the banner ads at the top of a page go for the most advertising dollars…but it’s pretty much one per page. Break the article up into five pages, and BOOM…y0u just earned yourself 4 additional banner ads.

    Or maybe I’m just a cynic. ;-)



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