Mmhm, because we noticed it taking a long time we added progress bar support, so you can see that it's doing something 😄
We store the IP addresses going back to the installation of the forum, so it's possible that it's no longer needed. One could simply delete the entire ip:recent set with no ill effects... (well, except that you'd no longer have a historical record of recent IP addresses)
Reload is essentially a "soft restart." It reloads the templates of plugins and recompiles the CSS, but doesn't actually shut down the server. The restarting shuts down the process and starts it back up.