Today’s topic is, "Surviving the Reddit Hug of Death"
Ooh, all right. Hello everybody. This is the Friday Roundup. It is Friday, February 24, 2017. I'm John Peterson with Develare, and today's topic is surviving the Reddit hug of death. Now, some of you may be wondering what is the Reddit hug of death? Well, it's been known by many names. For those who have visited the website Slashdot, Slashdot had a large amount of traffic that would go to sites, and it was known as the Slashdot effect. For those of you who are fans of the Drudge Report, there was called being Drudged. For those you who visit Google and see those little doodles that come up and change from day to day, those are called Google Doodles.
The thing these all have in common is delivering massive spikes of traffic to the websites that they link to. So maybe a story on Reddit, it may be a story on Slashdot, a story on Drudge, or even maybe a topic that the Google Doodle covers, each of those can deliver massive influxes of traffic to a site. It's basically going viral, and how will your website survive.
Well, one of our clients had a massive spike in traffic back on October 27th of last year, and he got 274,177 users in one day. Now, contrast this to the prior month, where they received just over 100,000 users for the previous 30 days in September. That was a huge change in traffic. The thing was, we didn't even find out about it until a week later. I was on the phone with the client a week later, and he said, "Hey. What about that big spike of traffic that we got from Reddit?" And I was like, "What spike of traffic?" And then he started to chat about it and we started chatting about it, and I just laughed. I laughed because he didn't call me. You see, we manage their website for them. We make sure that it's up and running well. We make sure that malware is kept off of there and that it's running as fast as possible, and all of these things worked great.
To make sure that you can survive the Reddit hug of death, you need to make sure your server's up for it. You need to make sure you're on a good hosting environment, and that you're using caching on that hosting environment. You need to also make sure that the images on your website are sent out on what's called a CDN, or a content delivery network. Your images, your scripts, all those kinds of things can be sent out to this content delivery network, and they basically are cached on nodes around the world. That way, that helps to reduce the load on your server.
So, caching on the server, CDNs, also making sure your settings are set up properly by your web developer so that you are enabling caching on the browser. Those images, those pages, those scripts that are fetched from wherever, either your server or the CDN, they can be housed, they can cached right on the computer that your user is using, right in the browser. So server caching, CDNs, browser caching.
And then, finally, making sure that you have a proxy set up, to provide another layer of defense but also another layer of caching. We had all four of these things in place, and then everything worked well. Even with getting two to three months' worth of traffic in one day, the site did well. There were no slowdowns. Everybody was able to get the visitors that they wanted. This client was super happy. You can have that for your website as well.
I'll share a couple of the services that we use so that you can implement this on your own. One is WP Engine. You guys have heard me talk about WP Engine before. Awesome hosting environment, provides so many tools to make sure that your website is running fast, that things are secure, that you're able to set up test servers on the back end so you're not testing things on your production website.
You can't test things on your production website if you're getting 100,000 visits a month. You can't test things on your production website if you're getting 10,000, or even 1,000 visits a month from a user. You cannot be testing that stuff right out in the front. Use good hosting. WP Engine can provide those things. They also provide a CDN for their higher level packages. You can't get this at their introductory personal plan, but you can get it at the personal plan and above. For all of our clients, they're on the higher packages with us, and we help make that affordable to them.
Now, in addition to WP Engine, another service that we like to use is Sucuri. You guys have heard me talk about this as well. Sucuri provides website monitoring, but they also provide a website firewall, which uses a proxy. That proxy helps to make sure that you do not overload the server. So, using WP Engine, using Sucuri, those are parts of the equation that we used to make sure that their website performed well under extreme pressure.
Now, there are other services out there besides Sucuri. Another one out there is called Cloudflare. You guys may have heard of them. That's another popular service. Making sure you use these kind of professional or premium level services, that will make sure that you are able to withstand a spike in traffic from a flash of traffic from any one of these sources or similar sources, your post going viral on Facebook. How many times have you been on Facebook and you go to click on that video, to click on that link, and the website is just not there? Happens to me all the time, and I do not wait for it. I wouldn't expect you to either.
So make sure your websites are up to spec on all of this. Make sure you're prepared because you don't know when it will happen. You don't want to miss the wave. I'm John Peterson with Develare. This has been the Friday Roundup. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, specifics, anything you want to tap into, go further in, make sure and leave a comment below and I'll be happy to monitor it and review and comment back, and reply to your comment. So yeah, love interaction on the comment area there. You guys have a great day and a great weekend. Thank you.