Bandwidth Exceeded!

Posted 2006.11.15 1.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

So yesterday morning, one of my webpage articles got liked from Make: Magazine’s online site.

Holy crap. It was like the world was ending.

My personal webpages are all saved and served from the servers at my work. Server space isn’t a problem, there’s dozens of gigs free, and I can always install another hard drive if I want. Our internet connection is a T1, which I never thought would be a problem either. Wow was I wrong!

It’s like waking up one morning to discover a major freeway has been rerouted to go to your office’s front door. Instead of the normal 20 or 30 visitors an hour, you’ve got 50 people a minute trying to come through the doors. Traffic jam! Now nobody can get in, and customers are complaining!

So, I had to shut my whole site down. Later I thought hey, I have free webspace from my ISP from home, I’ll use that. I set up a mirror of the one page everyone and his brother was trying to view, put a redirect in Apache, and restarted my site. Geocities pulled the plug in about 5 seconds. I don’t know what their rules are, but seriously, I checked the Geocities site was working, then I set the redirect, and when I went to look at the site, it was offline.

So then, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking, I thought hey set up a mirror at home here. I have a linux box with a web server program, and a dynamic ip tracker set up. So I mirrored the page, changed the redirect, and was nearly knocked off the internet by the incoming surge.

As soon as I did it, I was trying to un-do it. It took me 15 minutes to turn off the redirect, and by the time the traffic was gone, I’d logged over 2000 http requests on my home server.

I checked the logs at work and saw over 12,000 hits were attempted on the web page in question, during the few hours in the morning before the I suspended the site.

So last night, about 9pm, I figured the dust had settled enough and it was well after business-hours anyhow, so I re-activated the site. Things were ok over night, it logged another 2000+ hits, but that wasn’t too bad. Then this morning, pow, everyone was at it again. And the redirect wouldn’t work any more!

Yeah, you folks out there are too clever for that! I redirect the one web page, but Geocities crashes it, so you grab the text of the page off Google’s cache then start grabbing the images one by one off my server!

So I had to yank the whole site again. Today I’ve got it keeping count. From 9:30 this morning to 4:30 this afternoon, so far there’s been 10,400 load attempts. Combine that with the 14,000 from yesterday. That’s more hits, in two days (well, day and a half really) that I’ve had on my whole entire website since I started the counter, back in 2004!

Looking through the log, I see that it’s not just Make, there’s a bunch of other folks too, who saw the link in Make and have linked to it as well. Someplace in Spain. A bunch of peoples’ blogs.

I don’t know what to do! I want everyone to be able to see the page and enjoy it and all, but I can’t let it affect the company or our customers. And if the traffic is too high for something like Geocities, what then? I mean, you’re swamping a T1! I don’t have buckets of money to spend, so if anyone knows a high-volume free or cheap hosting solution, I’d love to hear about it.

The page is nothing, just over 1MB with all the pictures. It’s just the amount of traffic that’s the problem.

The link that started it all.