myglaren wrote:could be something external
Could be. At any one time, there are always a number of "guests" visiting.
Some are legitimate, others are spammers trying their luck but an overwhelming majority are webbots (or web crawlers) whose purpose is to index the site in search engines. Top amongst these is the Google Bot who likes to have multiple bots active all at once.
All this indexing activity by the search engines is bound to slow things up at times.
Lastly, this is a busy and popular forum!