Dealing with Traffic Spikes

Dealing with Traffic Spikes

’I’m on Shared Hosting and My Website will get a large Traffic Spike’

Is a question that we sometimes get asked and we love it when clients tell us in advance of something happening. It means we can plan with the client to isolate their website to ensure that not only does their website stay on line but that any other user sharing the same server as them is also not affected. Not telling us in advance of a large traffic spike may result in unnecessary downtime. We have the network and resources in place to build anything you need but our cheaper shared hosting is priced as such to be perfect for most situations but is not designed for extremely high traffic situations.

We always have hot spare servers on line ready to isolate any website that needs it and by speaking to us in advance it will mean as best we know how we can keep your website on line. An example last week is Playcraft Live which was a world first Minecraft Live Event coming from Derry / Londonderry. The organisers told us they needed to ensure at 7pm on Saturday 14 October 2017 their website did not go down as it was linking to a live YouTube stream of the event.

We built the client the following in an afternoon for this client to assist them

1 Load Balanced Server
6 Web Servers
6 Database Servers

At the same time we also worked with the client to optimize the website by adding layers of caching as well as making images smaller and hosting the header video on temporarily to remove pressure from the cluster thus ensuring in a high traffic situation a large header video would not be a bottleneck. We then stress tested the cluster with simulated traffic to determine the max possible number of connections before it would fall over with currently allocated compute power. We’re pleased to report the cluster remained on line.

Over the years we have had our fair share of outages that could have easily been avoided if the client had spoken to us in advance. Here are some memorable examples from the archives:

Limp Bizket Retweet (2011)
One of our clients it turns out was friendly with Fred Durst of Limp Bizket. The client had shared web hosting at the time and he had Fred tweet a link to 1.4 million followers. The server fell over.

Dragons Den (2013)
In 2013 we had a client appear on Dragons Den looking to pitch some new plumbing invention and did not tell us. The server fell over.

The One Show: Orchestra (2014)
We host the website for a well known UK Orchestra and the orchestra was appearing on The One Show on BBC1. We were not told about this and the website address was put on the screen to a few million viewers. The server fell over. The following week the same orchestra was on Ant and Decs Saturday Night Takeaway and we had put more resources in place and the server stayed up.

Ascension Island Government (2017)
We host the website for the Ascension Island Government on our network via a managed VPS client. There was a BBC News Story about the Island Airport being closed due to runway issues that made the front page of BBC News. It caused server load issues for the client for a few hours.

Celebrity Masterchef Australia (2017)
We host the website on a load balanced cluster for a well known celebrity chef through their web design agency. Neither the agency nor us were told about an appearance on Masterchef Australia causing the cluster to crash as all available compute power to the cluster maxed out. Clusters are easily scalable so the outage was brief as we scaled into more servers but could have been avoided with notice.

Steps to take to Isolate a Website with Hosting Options

First stage is open a support ticket or come on live chat during UK office hours and ask to speak to our Sales Team. They will direct your request to the most appropriate person (usually our support team leaders or a member of management). We’ll contact you back and discuss usually by phone or live chat.

We then will review your requirements and come up with some suggestions to isolate your website and also ensure there is enough compute power to ensure it does not fall over. We will always charge as low a price as possible to cover staff time and the computing power for your needs.

Temporary VPS Server
A Managed VPS server even temporary for a few days is a good way to quickly isolate your website. We can spin up a VPS in minutes and we could have your website moved off and isolated within the hour for you. We can then scale the VPS server appropriately up to available resources on the node to assist in keeping your site on line. As a managed VPS is isolated and you get compute and RAM allocated just for you it will not affect anyone else and will help to keep you on line.

Temporary Dedicated Server
A dedicated server will give additional CPU compute and RAM with 100% access to all I/O (Input Output) from the disk array for your exclusive use. We always have at least one hot spare server on line ready for use so we can move any busy website to a temporary dedicated server usually within the hour.

Temporary Cluster
This is what we did for the Minecraft event last weekend. We deployed in a few hours a temporary load balanced cluster that is expandable and can handle a large amount of concurrent traffic. Useful for a one off event where a large number of users will be hitting your website at a specific time and you need to keep it online.

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