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Preparing for the big hit

Client will be on the Today Show



6:13 pm on Nov 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Not entirely sure which forum to post this under.

I have a client with a E-Store (modified OSCommerce site) that has been trucking along happily for the past 6 years or so consuming about 1o-12 gigs of bandwidth every month. The site is hosted on a VPS with 20 gigs monthly bandwidth allotment.

He calls me last night and says he will be appearing on the Today Show (in fact, they are filming today) and wants to know if his site will "take the hit."

I provide the obvious answer (which he already suspects or he wouldn't have called), "Probably not."

He is not sure when this segment will be shown, but he sure would like me to take steps to insure it can handle the traffic.

Which brings me to my question - short of a massive upgrade of infrastructure (dedicated server, load balancers, etc.) that is hardly justified by the normal traffic flow to this site, are their any steps I can take to better the odds that this site will take what will undoubtedly be a huge one time spike in traffic?

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated since I have never had the experience of what amounts to being slashdotted.


7:20 pm on Nov 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

CNN during 911 changed to a very minimal page for a day or so. The page had a text logo, a small picture and a few 10's of words. Might be a concept worth copying for a day. Quick to load, very low bandwidth and easier on the server.

All the potential high bandwidth used by the lookieloos that bounce away will be minimized. Place keyword optimized link(s) there leads to the landing pages(s) discussed in his interview. One extra click for a day or so is a small inconvenience.


4:47 am on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks Hoople.

Any other ideas out there?


3:08 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

What about loading images, javascript and CSS files onto Amazon's S3 service or something similar until the rush is over?


4:08 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It's usually massive database connections that kill "slashdotted" sites, not the processor time/bandwidth.

You can create a static version of your default.php (just save output of default.php in browser and place then on server together with default.php as index.html).

Make sure that index.html loads instead of default.php when you access the front page ("/") of your server (you can set it up in your web server configuration, or probably it will work by default).

Then again, as MatthewHSE said, you can move images and CSS (needed for your front page) off your server to Amazon's EC2 to make sure you handle bandwidth.

Probably 99% of all users won't go further than the front page, and your customer hope to be Ok.


6:44 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

We were on The Today Show last year. Didn't get much of a boost in traffic... Most folks are not sitting on their computers watching the show waiting to visit websites... Most take mental note of it and maybe check it out later or mention it to a friend.

The most interest we got was from potential partners and advertisers... but there really was no traffic surge...

But if you are concerned, just make a static version of your homepage... that should be good.


8:03 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks all.

maximillianos, that would have been my thought, but a couple of years ago I had an associate (in the same industry niche) get knocked off-line after a segment on "The View". I don't know what the traffic spike looked like (he only gives up so much info) but I know they were down for the better part of the day. I also think they had some bandwidth overage charges come due.


10:35 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yeah, I guess it all depends on how big the segment is. Our site was just talked about for less than a minute.

Even without the potential surge, it is a pretty good idea to either cache or make your homepage static.

Ours is static but gets generated every 5 minutes...;-)


12:53 am on Nov 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

a 6-year client wants you make sure the site will stay up.

find out when the show will air.

rent a dedicated server for a month, move the site to it.


1:32 am on Nov 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If they were filming yesterday, I'm guessing he might not have time to move the site to a new server. That is a tall order on short notice... and when you tact on testing, tweaking, etc.

I would contact the ISP and see if they can ramp your virtual settings up for the day. Most ISPs can do this, at a small price of course.


5:39 pm on Nov 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It has been a week since the show aired, what was the outcome? Our website has been on the Today show a few times, and did not see a big spike, but the segments were always on the 10:00 am time slot w/ Kathy Lee.