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Thread: News sites hammered by surge in visits on Thursday

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    HEXUS webmaster Steve's Avatar
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    News sites hammered by surge in visits on Thursday

    The terror attacks in London resulted in people checking news websites in their millions, trying to find out more about what was going on, many concerned for friends and relatives. From BBC News:
    Keynote Systems, which monitors traffic on net backbones and to top sites, said that visitors to news sites surged for a five-hour period on Thursday morning as details the attacks in London emerged.

    It said that the download times for webpages on some of the UK's main news sites were eight times longer than normal.

    In some cases pages took about 18 seconds to download and a quarter of requests did not get through.
    I personally witnessed the BBC News website failing to load, along with a connection error to the Reuters website. Even blogs and community forums were experiencing heavy traffic as members and readers gathered together to share what information they knew, our own thread following the tragic events having received some 8,000 reads.

    Fortunately, while many sites were slowed by the surge in traffic, most remained available throughout Thursday.
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    Hexus.net Troll Dougal's Avatar
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    Sky was hard hit too.

    The BBC had a piece on last night about how blogs were being used to spread the word.
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    HEXUS webmaster Steve's Avatar
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    Indeed the BBC did I remember reading it. Incidentally, the article I linked above does later state that much of the BBC's traffic was dealt with by a third party yesterday, which normally only caches images - they were getting that many hits.
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    Who would have guessed they are invovled eh?
    At peak time the BBC News website was serving up more than 1.7 gigabits of data every second.
    yeah...thats quite a lot I spose....
    Twigman

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kez
    I personally witnessed the BBC News website failing to load, along with a connection error to the Reuters website. Even blogs and community forums were experiencing heavy traffic as members and readers gathered together to share what information they knew, our own thread following the tragic events having received some 8,000 reads.

    Fortunately, while many sites were slowed by the surge in traffic, most remained available throughout Thursday.
    Hey we did our best. We have a sereis of normal page templates (~85K w/ ~75 elements) and a series of light templates (~50K w/ ~25 elements). I had a half-finished CSSp ultra-light version which myself and another coder rush-finished and updated, which was ~20K w/ ~5 inline elements. We also removed a lot of the content so we could post more relevant info, and we removed all associated back-end process like link-tracking and cookie reading code. That fixed the issues for the most part but we were receiving an absolutely mental number of hits, which worsened when the peeps in the US started waking up (or being woken up). Fortunately the periods of extreme load where requests were failing, and we had to switch down to the lighter and ultra-light versions were relativel short (in the order of 10-15 mins). We never actually got 'brought down' by the number of requests, which was releiving.

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    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    You did a great job FraZor - welcome to Hexus.

    A challenge like that can show the difference between someone who "I can write HTML me!" and a real web guru
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    Thanks. I have been lurking here since year dot (I think). I have no idea why I haven't signed up to the forums before. I could have sworn I had, but clearly not.

    People often email the BBC with comments on how 'wrong' our code is, but few people outside of the organisation realise why we do things the way we do. It's a fairly long list of reasons, that few people even think of mainly because they don't have to, but we don't have that luxury. I've been coding for the BBC for about 5 years... but I still have plenty to learn.

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    HEXUS webmaster Steve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FraZor
    I've been coding for the BBC for about 5 years... but I still have plenty to learn.
    You never stop learning.
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    I went on holiday with the head of the BBC website (he was part of the tour group)...this was quite a few years ago, but still...He was a legend...

    There we go. I bet everyone *really* wanted to know that.
    Twigman

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