Last evening we have experienced our first ever crash due to a massive traffic spike from Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit, it was quite annoying, but I guess it is a good sign :). Our current hosting program supports 150 concurrent users (shared hosting). The article that caused the trouble was When a Company Logo Doesn’t Come Out So Good. We are using a WordPress plugin to track online activity in the site called Wassup, which we recommend and here is the traffic graph of just before the crash:

Traffic

As you can see, we had a big peak of traffic and then came the crash :), the higher you are, the harder you fall…

As it turners out we used allot of the servers resource, here is a part of the email we received later on:

Dear customer,

Due to an excessive amount of requests causing high load on our gator72 server we’ve been forced to disable the directory /public_html/Dev102 at this time as other customers are being affected due to this :

[root@gator72 ~]# scores

Load: 26.01, 31.35, 32.31 at 2008-06-03 13:06 (9.8% SQL)

44.59/usr 7.18/ni 12.43/sys 3.63/wa 0.00/id

Apache: 33.4 requests/sec – 1.0 MB/second – 29.9 kB/request

168 requests currently being processed, 30 idle servers

Apache Uptime 1 hour 52 minutes 45 seconds

The site does not “crash”, the host just resets the permissions to 000 and therefore blocks all access to the sites folder.

If you have other sites on the same account they will still be up and running, I don’t think every host does that, I have heard that people got their whole account disabled for some time after something like this.

After chatting online with the Host Gator online support the site was back up in a few minutes, I would definitely recommend Host Gator to anyone who is in need of hosting. For 10$ a month shared hosting they treat you like a 200$ heavy duty dedicated server user. Truly great service from them!

As a lesson we have installed WP Super Cache plugin that serves static pages instead of compiling each page and accessing the database for each request, hopefully it will help us get through spikes of traffic in the future. If that does not work, we will have to upgrade to a stronger hosting deal.

Thanks to everyone who helped crash the site :)

Amit

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7 Responses to “Why Should You Cache Your WebSite and Our First Traffic Overload Crash”


  1. Gator Hator

    Said on June 4, 2008 :

    Thats not true. ive been a hostgator customer for a while and all i can say is they suck, they will suddenly cut you off without even sending an email or making a call. $200 customer? try ixwebhosting maybe you’ll feel like a $5000 customer for almost the same price.. and ahh.. no gimmicks on unlimited bandwidth and space… unlike the money gator.

  2. Rockstar Sid

    Said on June 4, 2008 :

    Lol.. the article says Hostgator rocks and the comment says Hostgator sucks..

    Confused!! @_@

  3. Amit

    Said on June 5, 2008 :

    @ Gator

    I bet there must be someone out there that claims BMW make crap cars, that does not make it so…
    I am sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with Host Gator. I am very pleased with them

  4. Adam

    Said on June 6, 2008 :

    I’ve never used Host Gator but I’ve definitely heard mixed reviews. Some people don’t like them whereas some do.

    I however love the WP-Cache and Super-Cache plugin . If your website gets hit with a large amount of traffic having these plugins is a must.

    Grats on your success.

  5. stratosg

    Said on June 8, 2008 :

    i found this post on digg so my friend this was what they call “the digg effect”. excelent traffic though. keep up the work!

  6. Arcades

    Said on January 29, 2009 :

    Our site just crashed due to traffic today, and they cut us off, but have since but it back, while I check server logs. The most annoying thing is they suddenly cut me off, thus losing $$. Some sites on my host are going to move to reduce load I think meh.

  7. Arcade

    Said on January 29, 2009 :

    Their support is very good though I must add. Reliability is also 99.0%

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