Last weekend I spent most of Sunday afternoon writing an article about Japanese web design which I posted in the evening. On Monday Randomwire got slightly above average traffic but nothing extraordinary and I didn’t think much more of it.

It wasn’t until I woke up on Wednesday morning and realised that the site was completely unresponsive that the fun really began.

Bandwidth Graph

The article had been linked to on the front pages of Reddit and MetaFilter – 65,000 hits later it brought my server to its knees. People started sending emails and tweets asking what had happened.

I spent most of the day frantically trying to restore the site without much success until my friend in the UK, who helps me run the server, woke up. In order to cope with the abnormally high level of traffic I installed an additional caching layer (creating a static copy of each page which can be served faster).

The site held up pretty well on Thursday with most of the traffic coming from the post being circulated around Facebook and Twitter. On Friday this happened:

If you’re unfamiliar with Smashing Magazine, they’re one of the most popular sites for web design professionals and have over 700,000 followers on Twitter.

traffic-spike

Shortly afterwards Google Analytics showed that the site had more than 800 active visitors, serving 200 page views per minute. This continued for a number of hours into the night and amazingly the site stayed up.

It was amazingly gratifying to receive all this attention and I was pleased that feedback from both readers was mostly positive, including some fascinating insights for people who had first hand experience of what I had written about.

While I can’t claim that what I wrote is particularly authoritative I’m glad that it at least provoked discussion. As many people pointed out – the points I raised are not unique to Japan alone but can generally be applied to much of Asia. The article has subsequently been translated into Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Russian, perhaps showing a self-awareness which I had not expected.

Watch this space for more :)

Comments

  1. MKL says:

    This is pretty awesome! I hope you got some advertisers willing to give you some good money, because I’m sure it won’t be the last time you reach this kind of traffic. I enjoyed that article a lot, too. I expected it to go viral, but 65k hits.. wow, I haven’t anticipated that :) The internet is awesome!

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