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Growing Pains

October 19, 2005 @ 2:49am

growing pains 2It's a great problem to's a great problem to's a great problem to have...just pull your headphones tighter and crank up the Foo Fighters, Ben Folds and Francis Dunnery.

So every once in a while we get hammered with traffic beyond our ability to serve. It doesn't happen when we get Slashdotted. It used to, but we got over that. Now it only happens for two reasons: if Engadget and TUAW live-blog a Steve Jobs press conference or if AOL links to us from its home page.

The Apple live-blogging thing is no longer a surprise since we've trained everyone to give us like a week's notice now. We have things we can do to decrease the load on the pages people are going to be reloading over and over -- like turning off the ads they won't be clicking or adding more caching. I leave some Google AdSense in there just in case. It's no load on our servers to have Google in there and maybe someone's finger will get sore from hitting F5 over and over and they'll see an ad they like and click it...

Last week had the video iPod announcements and we came so close to having it all running smoothly. My one mistake was that I cached the 6 individual posts before they came out, but people were reloading the home page like nuts since they could get the news there. So I quickly diverted the home page traffic to the main Steve Jobs post and we were fine. We did way better with today's news, but today was not a crazy traffic day for Apple news. It was light.

Our next hurdle is keeping up with the AOL traffic that is heading to several of our sites that are still on our oldest CMS -- one that was never really called Blogsmith, so we just refer to it as WIN. The WIN CMS is missing a lot of the rollup tables and caching that Blogsmith has, so loading Autoblog and Luxist takes longer than loading newer sites like Download Squad, TUAW and Slashfood. Why haven't the older sites made the jump yet? Mainly time limitations and developer resources. Did I mention that we're always looking for developers?

So the last couple of days have included a ton of optimization and caching in the old WIN system -- code that will all be thrown away soon -- and we'll be pushing harder to migrate more sites to Blogsmith as fast as we can.

Newer: Yankees in the World Series

Older: A little pick me up