What happens when your website can't handle viral traffic?

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What happens when your website can't handle viral traffic?

What happens when your website goes viral and your host simply cannot maintain the amount of traffic it suddenly got?
What happens when your website can
Has anyone been in the situation of buying a low budget hosting packages and starting a small website not having really high hopes, just doing basic SEO and starting to write articles doing some social media campaigns but suddenly something starts working as it should and you got huge amounts of traffic coming your way, a lot then your host can handle.

What can you do in such a situation, because time is very important, you won't want people trying to access your website only to be hit by an error of some kind.

I've recently witnessed experienced such an event, a website under our administration got a huge influx of traffic for both organic sources but also a social campaign going viral, the servers got overloaded and the website crashed, our sys admin was going crazy calling the hosting company for an emergency upgrade but everything is moving very slowly because everything happened this weekend and hosting company used by this website doesn't have a 24h customer service in place.

What kind of security measures can one implement to make sure a website doesn't crash when a traffic spike hits all time high? The answer will be a better hosting plan but not everyone is willing to pay for such a server every month just because the website "may" or "may not" go viral at some point.


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Well actually the best solution would be to upgrade your actual server, I understand that they might cost a lot and sometimes it's not worth it, but believe me you'll lose more if your site goes off in that moment when you're getting super traffic. Now, It's not that you're going to lose some traffic count for some minutes, no, you'll lose the trust of your visitors, because nobody would want to visit a site that keeps going off.

However, if you really think that paying for an extra server it's not worth it, another solution you may have is Cloudflare. Cloudflare has an awesome feature called "Always online", which means that your visitors will be able to see your website even if your server is offline and that is possible because this feature create a static cache of your website.

Hope this helps!

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Oh nice answer there Procoder, this is the second time I have seen Cloudflare being recommended and I can see in this instance how it would be very handy.

I will keep that in mind for the day when my websites explode with traffic and go completely viral LOL.

Thanks for that. I agree with you with the cost there, it is really important to make sure you have your visitors trust. It won't do any good having your website down. If you have that much traffic surely you can afford to pay to have your website server upgraded right?

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I have into this kind of situation multiple times, Once you have high traffic you can't just trust your existed host/server, so you start to build a backup incase if there is misshape you can transfer.

First thing i do is move my site to CloudFlare its help me to reduce the load by delivering cache, specially enabling the "Roket engine" at CloudFlare help me reduct server response time and bandwidth usage!. CloudFlare also help you to transfer your website to new server in matter of minutes. just change the IP and you are at new server!

If you don't want to use cloudflare its okay, but in case if you want to change server its take around 24 hours every time you change the server or IP of DNS!

2nd I setup a new Hosting with Cache Server, it could be Varnish or Nginx Proxy !
3rd. Enable MySQL (Database) query cache its reduce the MySQL Server load
4th. Add Cache to HOMEPAGE!
5th. Enable the PHP Based cache on those pages which open alot, you can check by the Google Analytics which page open alot!

That's all i do, and i have currently nearly 100k traffic and i am running 8GB, 8 Core CPU with 1GBPS Shared Connection, and its never go above 20% server usage (1.5 1.5 1.5).


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Hi Cristian, well I have to say that I would love this sort of problem What happens when your website can It would be a nicer problem than struggling to get traffic to my website right?

I have unfortunately not had the pleasure of having such a problem but I would think that yes although it might be a problem for a day or two,especially if it is over a weekend an upgrade shouldn't take too long right?

I am very interested to hear what everyone else says here, you know just in case I ever have such a terrible problem as too much traffic that breaks my hosting LOL

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Oh yes I used to experience this back in the day when I'd get SU and Reddit spikes or would buy traffic from somewhere. What I found is that my site couldn't handle it and basically either ground to a halt or wouldn't load and open at all. That was more in the days before caching was around and there were things like Cloud Flare which can help with that depending on the amount of traffic you're actually getting. Even Cloud Flare can get really laggy sometimes depending on how much traffic your site is getting. It helps if you have a good solid dedicated hosting solution and not some cheap budget shoe-string shared hosting plan. That is something you need to look for in any hosting plan today, Cloud Flare as standard but a hosting plan and solution that can handle spikes in traffic on its own. Most hosts only provide so much bandwidth also, and a big spike of traffic can quickly eat up all that bandwidth. So even if your hosting solution can handle it, your host wont show your site if you run out of bandwidth. You'll have to upgrade your plan or buy some bulk addon again just so your customers aren't seeing "This site hasn't paid its bill and is suspended" notice!

That's never good for your reputation.

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I think this is where the CDN are going to be useful. And that's not all CDN can be very handy during the spam attack too. They get rid of the spam and the DDOS issues. I know many sites who switched to CDN and are going to be fine. Not just because of bandwidth sharing but because of how they work with the security issues.

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I have never received viral traffic. I did receive a large traffic during the holiday season, however, my sites were still able to handle that traffic. If you have low diskspace and bandwidth, having a large traffic will make your site down.

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It happened to the website of my husband’s office. After promoting the new website via email, there were downtimes. And little did they know that the reason was the small bandwidth allocated by the hosting provider. When the allocated bandwidth is consumed, the website goes off the air. It was a good thing that they had noticed that downtime earlier and they upgraded the hosting package to accommodate the influx of visitors to their new website.

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Well if that happens to me then I'll upgrade my hosting package and look for ways of quickly monetizing my site asap.

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