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  1. Your client tells you "Im going to be slashdotted tomorrow". What do you do?

    I just thought of a very interesting scenario today.
    I was wondering how you would react if you know in advance that your client is going to be slashdotted.
    Do you move him to another server right away?
    Will you setup a last minute round robin load balancing?
    Or will you tell him to get the heck out of the server?

    Remember you have 1 day.
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  2. #2
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    Sorry, but I don't know the term; "Slashdotted". If you could explain to me that'd be great
    GeeksGather - Undergoing redevelopment. Stand by.

  3. #3
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    I'd move the client to a new server (using mod_throttle or whatever it is), help them setup a minimal page, and then place a nice link at the bottom.

    Slashdotted means your site was linked at Slashdot.org. Most links on there recieve so much traffic (and without much warning) that it can crash a server.

    There was another Slashdot topic a while back, but I couldn't find the link.

  4. #4
    I've not found site slashdotting to be all that intense in the past year or so.. at least network wise. It feels like a lighter DoS attack compared to more abusive attacks from the high speed broadband users around the world.

    If anything, the customer server ends up being the problem. Apache just runs with the max clients and the end user's mostly don't get to view the page. Or the server maxes out their ethernet connection.

    Howard Stern and a few other media outlets with far bigger audiences than Slashdot are much worse.. still depends mostly on how fast that hardware is. A dual xeon (or dual g5) with lots of ram and fast storage can handle some crazy traffic.
    Hugh Buchanan
    harveyopolis corporation
    userfriendly.com / killersecurity.com

  5. #5
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    I'd thank my lucky stars for an advanced warning and then put them on the least-loaded box I have available and optimize it as best as possible for the expected traffic. I'd ask the client for a nice little "hosted by" link, and rock and roll.

    Bailey
    Let's Connect on Twitter! @thatsmsgeek2u || Fighting mediocrity one thread at a time.

  6. Im glad that you guys are savvy enough to think about the "hosted by" footer. I will make it a header though, .

    And what dya think is the usual bottleneck in the slashdotting effect? The CPU, RAM or Apache Maximum connections setting or a combination of any of the above?
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  7. #7
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    Originally posted by DanX
    I'd move the client to a new server
    Agreed!

  8. #8
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    We've had slashdottings, they're not near as bad as being "unscrewed" back when that show was popular...

    But here is what I did assuming the customer was willing to pay for such service:

    Copy the site to an empty server and immediately hotwire the DNS to point at this empty server's IP address. Most of the "new" traffic will go to the new server since there's no DNS caching to speak of for most new traffic. Usually we just leave a "bare" page on the shared server maybe redirecting to the http://ip/~username/ on the new server or similar.

    As for the "bottleneck" someone asked about, that really depends on the size of the hit and the type of site. If the site is heavily DB driven the harddrive is the bottleneck, if the site is largely static then it'll take a good old fashioned "buttload of traffic" to really hinder it that much, then it's either the "pipes" (network connection) or apache itself (too many simultaneous connections) that causes grief.
    We've weathered slashdottings, "unscrewed"ings and one "time"ing (aka a medium sized article in Time magazine to a hosted url) that I can rememberrrrrr. We host one site that gets features in all sortsa stuff regularly but he has a couple of dedicated servers all his own so he's ready for whatever they dish out without any air raid sirens required haha.
    Gary Harris - the artist formerly known as Dixiesys
    resident grumpy redneck

  9. #9
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    We had a customer featured on 60 minutes a couple of months ago. Dixiesys's ideas are pretty much right on target. The key is to be proactive and not wait until there's a problem.

    --Tina
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  10. #10
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    deploy Squid - fast.
    George Donnelly / Systems Administrator
    High Speed Rails inc. / FOSS Hosting
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    "Linux is Luke. FreeBSD is Yoda."

  11. #11
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    Hi there,

    As mentioned already, if the customer is prepared to pay for it, move them to a new server immediately. As a web hosting company, I believe you should always have at least one machine ready to go in case of events such as this - or more commonly, in case of failures on other servers. If the customer isn't willing to pay, don't cut them off yet - you can't just cut them off and say "You're going to be slashdotted" instead you'll need to keep a close eye on things, and terminate the account as soon as things get dirty. Of course, when taking this route, also be prepared to redirect traffic somewhere else (perhaps a competitor no, joking, not a good idea) because you can't force them to change their nameservers away from your DNS servers

    Good luck! Or is this just a discussion, rather than something you're anticipating?

  12. #12
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    Quickly redirect to http://www.mirrordot.com/ after the avalanche starts?

  13. #13
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    Tell him to display my banner or the quota stays.

  14. #14
    We've had a few customers "slashdotted" over the years...with no ill effects other than a surge in bandwidth needs. Sounds like a big deal though for some?? I'll keep my eyes on this thread.
    Kenneth R Taylor
    Inet7 Internet Serivces
    Web & Application Hosting Services
    http://www.inet7.com

  15. #15
    Anybody ever get THEHUNED?

    much harsher hahaha

  16. #16
    Sell ad space. I always see news on /. first, and it usually circulates for a couple weeks and I'll see it again on another site. Of course, that would only be worthwhile for a month.

  17. #17
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    If you want a lot of Apache process simply wait for someone to write a PHP script that includes a URL on the same server that redirects to the actual script (via htaccess). I had that before and it was a pain in the butt because whenever this script was executed the server went down and it was nearly impossible to figure out which script was causing the problem.

  18. #18
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    Load balance it fast and ensure the DB server is optimized and limited to ensure the systems won't simply fall over.
    ManageMyServices was sold by me in September 2009. I no longer have any affiliation with this company.

  19. #19
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    Our servers have handled it well when this has happened. 2 of us were watching the site and testing other sites and functionality and all went ok.

    We have also set up sites on other servers to spread the load with a round-robin DNS setup but never needed to make the changes in DNS yet.
    -- Matthew

  20. #20
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    I would think the big question first is what type of site is it? We have a client who wasn’t /.ed but he was featured on a national radio show, and we had notice, the first thing that we did was create a static html page “he was giving away a free ebook” with a hosted by link and just a link to download the book. The load on the server was really nothing as it was just serving up a static html page. Now mind you bandwidth went through the roof but downloads are a lot easier to handle then 100,000 db connects.

    Since you have notice make sure that you have there cc on file for the bill. :-)

  21. #21
    I've never come across that website.
    Do you mean your customer will be advertising with them ?
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  22. #22
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    Originally posted by tonymaclennan1
    I've never come across that website.
    Do you mean your customer will be advertising with them ?
    He's referring to slashdot.org - its a geek news site and read by millions of people...many of whom check it several times a day. They generally post links to pertinent information within a news story. Those sites that are linked on slashdot.org can expect to get so much traffic, all at once, that it can cripple an ordinary server. To be "slashdotted", means that your website is linked in one of their news stories.

    --Tina
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  23. #23
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    I'd probably thank the client first as 1 day notification is quite good. Many clients don't even realize they should tell their host...

    A good idea would be to quickly change the TTL on the DNS Server(s) to 300 or even less. Then, setup a VPS that is optimized very well to handle the traffic. When everything is ready and the site is moved, change the IP on the DNS Server(s) to match the VPS's shared IP. That should take care of any sort of caching that may be in place at certain ISPs/PCs. If the page is dynamic, kindly ask the client to make a static version :-). By the way, Bailey, I like the idea of adding a "hosted by" link .

    Cheers,
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  24. #24
    He's referring to slashdot.org - its a geek news site and read by millions of people...many of whom check it several times a day. They generally post links to pertinent information within a news story. Those sites that are linked on slashdot.org can expect to get so much traffic, all at once, that it can cripple an ordinary server. To be "slashdotted", means that your website is linked in one of their news stories.
    Thanks


    'more than 290 million pages views, and nearly 19 million unique visitors, every single month'

    WOW.. AMAZING.

    How do they know if they are being SlashDotted, do they notify you first or something ? Is it advertisers that ask to be slashdotted.

    How much bandwidth would it use if mentioned in one of there articles ?
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  25. #25
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    Tony, each news article on SlashDot has a relevant link. Since less than a dozen articles are posted a day, those twelve or so links get tons of traffic. For most of the articles, they are just common sites, not advertisers paying to be listed (though there is a conspiracy that there is).

    SlashDot usually notifies you, atleast, so I've heard, less than a day in advance. There's been talk that this is unfair, but it goes on anyones.

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