Troubleshooting Airtable performance
  • 08 Mar 2024
  • 7 Minutes to read
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Troubleshooting Airtable performance

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Article summary

Plan availability

All plan types

Permissions

Owners/Creators - Although all users can help to ensure the best possible base performance by identifying potential issues, fixing the underlying issue or restructuring a base can only be performed by users with owner/creator permissions.

Platform(s)

Web/Browser, Mac app, Windows app, and mobile apps

Related reading

What affects base performance?

You may encounter issues with your base’s performance that include one or more of the following:

  • Tables, views, or record details loading slowly

  • Automations stuck in pending status or timing out

  • Lagging or failing API requests (500 errors)

  • Slow syncs 

Base performance can be considered a queue of tasks that Airtable servers perform on the backend. When users take actions in the base, like loading views, editing, or creating records, those actions count as requests in the queue, which processes one request at a time. So, if too many requests are added, the requests at the end of the queue have to wait to be processed.

The following task can impact the request queue:

  • API requests from custom integrations or third-party tools like Zapier

  • Syncs

  • Automations

Example:

For example, let’s say you have a base that includes custom API integrations, third-party integrations, and syncs: 

  • If the external integrations are set up to make requests to the base 24/7, then the queue may get overloaded with requests.

  • If a human user then accesses the base when the queue is overloaded with integration requests, then they might find the base is slow to load tables or may even crash when taking manual actions in the base. This is because the manual request has to wait behind all of the API requests.

  • For this reason, it is important to note that Airtable is not intended to be a backend hosting service/real-time database like Heroku, Parse, Firebase, or MongoDB. Instead, Airtable is primarily designed for use cases where all users will be directly interacting within the Airtable UI. 

NOTE

Examples like this will lead to constant API requests that can back up the request queue, slowing down your base(s).

How does base size impact base performance?

Bases don't need to be "large" to have a high request volume. In the example above, a base with multiple integrations may be far from its record limits. However, it could still have an incredibly high request volume if it constantly receives real-time requests from integrations.

Even so, base size can still affect base performance. For example, consider formulas—on a table with 50,000 records, a change that causes an update to a formula field must update more than on a table with only 50 records, which can lead to higher request volume.

How does the base schema impact base performance?

Base schema refers to how data is organized in your base and how the tables and fields relate. The following field types contribute to a more complex base schema by creating dependencies:

Generally, the more complex the base schema is, the more taxing requests will be that reference the schema. Let’s illustrate with an example:

Scenario 1: Adding an assignee to a task via a multiple select field type

Let’s consider a base that has a "Tasks" table, and multiple select field to designate an assignee. The multiple select field is updated when a new assignee or assignees are added to a task.

In this scenario, only one action is performed when the multiple select field is updated with the assignee(s) responsible for the associated task.

Scenario 2: Adding an assignee to a task via a linked record field type

Let’s consider another base that has a "Tasks" table, and instead of a multiple select field, it uses a linked record field to a "People" table to designate an assignee. 

Now, let’s say we want to add a lookup field to the People table in order to display the linked task statuses, a formula field that joins the array of the task statuses, and a rollup field that aggregates the total number of estimated hours for the linked tasks.

When a new assignee is added to a task, the Linked field on the "Tasks" table, as well as the Linked field, the lookup field, the formula field, and the rollup field on the People table all have to be updated. 

NOTE

Base schema is critical when requests referencing complex and interdependent schema are automated via API, automations, and/or syncs.

Can I resolve or prevent base performance issues?

If you are experiencing or want to avoid base performance issues, we recommend the following:

Integration architecture

One of the most common causes of performance issues is the volume of API requests. These can be from custom integrations, integration tools (Zapier/Make), or other tools that integrate directly with Airtable (Stacker/Softr).

  • Decrease the number of requests being made to the base from integrations.

  • Consider the frequency of your integrations and adjust their timing so that requests don’t back up the queue while human users are using the base.

  • Consider syncing necessary data to another base and making requests to that base, minimizing using the original base. This approach works better for GET requests.

Automations

Like integrations, automations running in near real-time—especially when coupled with integrations—can slow down base performance.

  • Remove any unnecessary automations and/or consider configuring your automations to batch updates outside of working hours. 

  • Adjust your automation triggers where possible. For example, if you use a time-based trigger, consider decreasing the frequency and setting it to run outside your organization's working hours. 

  • Change automations that trigger "When a record" is updated to utilize the "When a record matches conditions" trigger. Often, this will decrease the number of automation runs needed.

Syncs

Syncing is a computed action that can slow down base performance. Syncs typically handle larger volumes of data and run consistently.

  • Remove any unnecessary syncs.

  • If your ecosystem of syncs is complex, with multiple syncs pulling from a base used by collaborators, consider syncing data into a secondary base that serves as only a sync source to downstream bases—allowing the original base to sync to a single destination.

Formulas

Formulas, especially time-based formulas that include the NOW() function can be taxing on large bases.

  • Remove any unnecessary formula fields.

  • Use the TODAY() function instead of NOW(), to decrease the request load caused by time-based formulas to decrease the request load caused by time-based formulas.

Base schema

  • Consider whether your requests impact complex base schema interdependencies and are slowing your base performance.

  • Remove unnecessary lookups, rollups, and any formula fields that reference linked records, lookups, and rollups.

Troubleshooting browser issues and Airtable

Clearing browser cache and cookies

In addition to what’s noted above, clearing your browser’s cache and cookies is an important part of troubleshooting. Below is a list of browsers, with links detailing how to clear the cache and cookies for each specific browser:

What information does Airtable Support need to help troubleshoot base performance?

If you still need additional support after trying the troubleshooting steps above, please contact our our support team and include any of the following information that's relevant to your issue:

  • The base ID impacted by performance issues.

  • The issue(s) you are experiencing (loading in UI, API failures, etc.)

  • Any error messages you receive and specific context around the particular issue(s) you are encountering

  • Context around how you use your base base and integration architecture details (custom API integrations, no-code integrations, etc.)

  • The date and time range of the issue and whether it is ongoing or intermittent. Please be a specific as possible with the date and time.

FAQs

Does Airtable maintain a list of required IT dependencies?

For our paid clients, we maintain a list of required domains that must be unblocked in order for Airtable to properly function. We provide updates to the list as changes occur. Please contact Airtable support for more details.

Note that airtable.com has always been on this list, meaning that all subdomains of airtable.com must be unblocked. This includes the previously . srp.airtable.com domain.

Do srp.airtable.com subdomains need to be unblocked?

Yes, all subdomains must be unblocked. The prefix is random and cannot be predicted. All of the following subdomains must be unblocked:

Is Airtable less secure because the srp.airtable.com subdomains need to be unblocked?

No. The same data is being transmitted, we are just changing the domain name which it is being transmitted through. Previously this data was received in part through rt.airtable.com.

For more detail about our security posture and certifications, please see this webpage.

I can't access my Airtable account, homepage, bases, views, forms or interfaces. What should I do?

If you're experiencing any of the errors mentioned, start by clearing your browser's cache. Review your browser's help documentation for more details.

I received the "Your connection to Airtable is unstable. Some features may not be available." error message. What should I do?

If your connection is unstable or you're unable to connect, it is possibly related to one of the following:

  • Corporate VPNs

  • Security software (performing SSL inspection)

  • Firewalls

  • Anti-virus software

  • Software installed by your IT team

Contact your IT or security department and inform them that you cannot connect to any subdomain under srp.airtable.com. Request they unblock HTTPS and WebSockets from srp.airtable.com and other subdomains in any relevant security software.

If you don't have an IT department or are connecting to Airtable on a home network, you will need to manually adjust the settings on your computer or network to mitigate any possible blocks (e.g., VPN, security/anti-virus software, firewalls, etc.).


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