Monday, July 30, 2007

Dodging the Digg effect

I spent several hours last night trying to work out how to get my girlfriend's website back online after one of her blog posts got picked up by Digg.

It wasn't actually the Digg effect that brought the site tumbling down. Rather, a concerned sys-admin pulled the plug after noticing a sudden and alarming upturn in network traffic. I think they thought a script had gone berserk or the site was suffering some sort of a DDoS attack. Someone then set up a redirect to a mirror, but for some reason it didn't work, and so the site was basically inaccessible.

To some degree, it's understandable, since the site is maintained on pretty basic hosting package. But it also highlights a frustrating Catch-22, which I suspect other small sites may suffer from. On the one hand, they can't afford a fancy hosting service until their site gets a more successful and, on the other hand, it'll never be a success unless they can carry on getting Dugg or Slashdotted.

I suspect there must be some sort of technical solution. Perhaps there's a way to automatically create a mirror once your site gets Dugg or Slashdotted. I haven't been able to find one yet, but maybe I just don't know where to look?

Will Knight, online technology editor

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