KaBoom! 13k visitors in one day, ouch!

Discussion in 'Web Design and Hosting' started by Just2EZ, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. Just2EZ

    Just2EZ Moderator

    How to blow up your webserver in one easy step?
    Most of the 4 dozen+ websites I host average around 100 unique visitors a day,
    including one for a very controversial friend who is featured on one of my sites.
    His normal traffic is about 20% Google search results, the rest from referral links.

    This week someone flamed him on Reddit resulting in 13k+ hits before shut down.
    (his site was bandwidth limited to detect unusual traffic patterns such as this)
    After restoring his site and reviewing the logs I found the Reddit links to his site.
    Too bad he had nothing to sell on his site other than his opinion.

    Ironically some of the 400+ comments left on the Reddit threads mentioned him
    selling t-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, etc to fund his "mis-guided mission".
    Those items were on one of my websites, not on his website which I only host (yeah).
    I can only assume my traffic came from people searching his name on Google due
    to the fact SEO puts my website above his in search results for his own name.

    There are other sites out there like Reddit that can generate that kind of traffic.
    Just shows you how a little controversy can blow up a server in one day.
    Thankfully (for me) the hoopla died down a bit so traffic is back to "normal".
    Makes me wonder how many t-shirts he could have sold through his site!

    So, if you are looking to blow up your server, the right backlinks could be a killer.

    p.s. Not all of the 400+ comments were negative, some actually support his views.
  2. Vishal P. Rao

    Vishal P. Rao Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for sharing Jimmy. I had mentioned similar success in the past for one of my blogs. Social media sites can work wonders. However, I feel the majority of users could be more curious than actual buyers. What do you say?
  3. Just2EZ

    Just2EZ Moderator

    I agree most were just curious about the topic and none were looking to buy anything,
    On the other hand, a "Call to Action" selling something could have done wonders.
    The problem is the link probably wouldn't happen for a commercial site.
    The controversy is what brought the traffic and not a product review.
    If it was a killer new product though it would be a great way to go.
    StumbleUpon has generated similar traffic but not near as much.
    It would be hard to get that many from Facebook or Twitter.
    Maybe a sponsored Tweet by a celebrity would do as much.
    But that's not the same as FREE publicity, gotta love it.
  4. Just2EZ

    Just2EZ Moderator

    Since this post is under "Web Design and Hosting" a few pointers might be in order.
    First thing I did was look at what hits were eating up the most bandwidth on his site.
    Two items stuck out, large images and a large RSS feed that several sites were hitting hard.

    Resizing images to screen size before uploading them makes a world of difference in bandwidth.
    There is no reason for a page to load images larger than screen sizes of 1200 - 1600 pixels width.
    In most cases images in a post are only 480x640 unless they are the main focus, then up to 1600w.
    You can save a lot of bandwidth by resizing your images. You can also lowering the quality settings.
    Too often I see websites with 2 to 4 MB images when a 256k file size would look the same on the page.
    Computer screens are usually only 72 or 96 pixels per inch so printer quality (300 dpi) is not necessary.
    If you want to provide printer quality images, put a hyperlink from the page image to the larger image.
    Not only will you save bandwidth, the page will load 10 times faster!

    To deal with all the sites that had embedded his RSS feed into their pages, most reloading every few minutes,
    I created a page that said "What you thought was here can be found at http:*** " (using his website address)
    Then I redirected his RSS.xml to that new page so other sites send him visitors instead of stealing his feed.
    That is a drastic measure and not recommended in most cases but the RSS downloading was excessive this time.
    The new page only uses a few k instead of the 256,000k the feed to other sites was using every few minutes.
    It will be turned back on eventually but he hasn't put up any new content in quite a while anyway.
    Now the sites that were embedding his feed are showing a link to his site instead of his content.

    Page load time can be critical to keep from losing readers so keep the bytes down to make it fast.
    You know, everyone wants things instantly these days and that is one way to make them happier.
  5. Vishal P. Rao

    Vishal P. Rao Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for the tips Jim! Yes, images are one of the most neglected ways to reduce bandwidth. Even if you don't own a high end graphic tool like photoshop, there are many free online utilities that can do the job.

    Regarding RSS feeds, the best way is to use external services like feedburner to host your RSS feed. It'll save lot of your website's bandwidth, as they serve a cached version of the RSS feed.
    Just2EZ likes this.
  6. A8ch

    A8ch Gold Member

    Can you imagine. If your controversial friend's normal traffic pattern was 13k unique visitors a day, the Reddit flame would have spiked it through the stratosphere to over 1,690,000 uniques a day. There'd probably be acrid smoke billowing from the servers. :) And if bandwith wasn't limited, the invoice amount would have been quite impressive... and sufficient to help offset the cost of a new server. Ah well!

    Curiosity is certainly a driving force behind any surge in traffic from social media sites, but with that also comes a relative increase in prospects and buyers, which is usually the core objective.

    BTW Vishal, the way you handled that unfortunate experience with MakeMyTrip was truly masterful. Love your style. Speak softly, but carry a big stick! :)

    Vishal P. Rao and Just2EZ like this.
  7. FreeCashMan

    FreeCashMan Well-Known Member

    It would have been nice just to get a portion of that traffic on to a list that he could follow up with. There he could have potentially made sales.
    Just2EZ likes this.
  8. Vishal P. Rao

    Vishal P. Rao Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you Hermas! These are big guys and they have plenty of money power to deter you. So one has to maintain a balance between being firm and soft :)
  9. mreese601

    mreese601 Member

    Yea with 13k vistor you will make some money! If you would have had just adsense on the site. 100 people would have click on an ad!
    Just2EZ likes this.
  10. Just2EZ

    Just2EZ Moderator

    Well, controversy is certainly a way to draw traffic and my friend certainly generated his share this time.
    He asked me to turn off his website tomorrow but it shut itself down yesterday ( at 3x the bandwidth).
    The end result was the traffic went to one of my own websites, but not from reddit this time.
    Over 10K google searches plus a dozen other search engines are keeping me on my toes.
    So far so good since my sites are more streamlined to keep bandwidth in check.
    The comments are another matter that is keeping me busy around the clock.
    Hopefully it will all calm down after tomorrow but it's been a huge surge.
    Gotta love all the "likes" and "shares" that will spread like wildfire.
    Sometimes you just get lucky, if you take action to begin with.
    It just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
    Plus I had a 4 year headstart to prepare for it.
    It didn't happen overnight, but then it did.
    I need sleep!
  11. Just2EZ

    Just2EZ Moderator

    I would have to agree with that.
    Over 22k visitors in 24 hours and not one t-shirt sold!
    I had Adsense on their for the first year but didn't like the ads.
    No doubt they would have got a lot more clicks if I still had them.
    Hindsight is 20/20, but it is what it is when it is.
    Lesson learned and that is worth the price (free).
    Vishal P. Rao likes this.
  12. Just2EZ

    Just2EZ Moderator

    The last 24 hours accounts for 90% of the below AWStats for comparisons.
    Obviously Google is by far #1 but the others could be improved with work.
    A good list for all website owners to work on improving position.
    It was #1 on Google, #6 on Yahoo, didn't check rank on Bing.
    Multiple pages were on the first page of all search engines.
    I credit a lot of it to using WordPress and share buttons.
    The rest I credit to my friend who provided content.
    These were all 100% natural organic results.

    Links from an Internet Search Engine:
    - Google 22,173 / 22,278
    - Yahoo! 1,653 / 1,716
    - Microsoft Bing 1,381 / 1,439
    - Unknown search engines 178 / 178
    - AOL 112 / 112
    - Ask 73 / 73
    - MyWebSearch 34 / 34
    - Dogpile 22 / 22
    - Microsoft Windows Live 10 / 10
    - InfoSpace 3 / 3
    - Searchalot 2 / 2
    - Mamma 2 / 2
    - Excite 2 / 2
    - Earth Link 1 / 1
    - Clusty 1 / 1
    - MetaCrawler (Metamoteur) 1 / 1
    - Microsoft MSN Search 1 / 1
    - WebCrawler 1 / 1
  13. Just2EZ

    Just2EZ Moderator

    Was going to let that 2012 website die but decided to renew it for $10/yr, duh.
    The traffic had died back down, to even less than 100 unique visitors per day.
    So... Adsense sent me a reminder to agree to their updated terms of service.
    Oh yeah, I forgot I even had an Adsense account still active not being used.
    I said what the heck and put a few ad blocks on the website just for kicks.

    Then an interesting thing happened, visitors went up to over 250 per day.
    Don't have a clue why the sudden surge for the past week, not Google!
    I had let it die after December 21st, only a couple of posts since then.
    Maybe it's not too late to take advantage of some free traffic revenue.
    At least the ads are more relevant now and not for KIA Sedona cars.
    Now they are for Sedona tours and hotels like it should be.

    Best $10 investment I've made this year - so far.
    I should milk that cash cow for as long as I can.
    Never say never and never give up.
    Even the T-shirts still sell a few.
    Time for some fresh content!

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