Reddit Hug of Death

Yesterday, one of my site’s pages (not this site) was featured on Reddit.

The front page of Reddit.

Unfortunately, I had no idea what was going on until, by chance, I happened over to the site to view the day’s traffic stats in the dashboard.

I was then greeted by the wonderful message…

Bandwidth Limit Has Been Exceeded

This seemed crazy odd because this site usually has only about 250-300 page views per day, but fortunately for me…the site is hosted through a reseller plan of mine, so I was able to increase the allotted bandwidth and get the site back up and running immediately – once I saw that it was down.

Once it was back up, I logged into the dashboard and my jaw about hit the desk when I saw my stats view. Here’s a snapshot of today’s Jetpack traffic report. The sliver bars to the left represent between 200-300 views. Today’s bar to the far right shows a substantial drop-off from yesterday, but as of right now (10:21pm) I’m over 2.7K page views.

Reddit Hug of Death

13,603 page views for the day; however…based on comments from Redditors…the site was down for nearly five hours.


That could have been prevented.

Had the site not gone down, I’m sure I could have topped 25,000 page views yesterday…easy, maybe more.

Yesterday’s Reddit love taught me a few things and reinforced some beliefs.

Be prepared. Have a system in place to ensure that you’re alerted of any downtime. I’ve actually already done this with a few of my sites. Uptime Robot is a free uptime monitor which you can use for up to 50 sites, plus Jetpack also has a built-in monitoring feature (for those of you that use Jetpack). There are other more premium uptime monitoring solutions out there, but those two should do for most basic users. If I’d had either of those two configured I’d have been able to recover from the Reddit Hug of Death almost immediately.

Publish more and more great content, because you never know… Write content that you’d want to share. Write content that people will love. Write content that can go viral. Don’t write stuff for search engines, write stuff for people.

Effectively monetize. I don’t really earn any money from the site that was featured on Reddit yesterday, but I aim to change that. The site is one of my ‘interest’ sites which is a bit hard to monetize, plus, normally it doesn’t see much traffic. For these reasons I haven’t done much in the way of trying to monetize it, which no doubt was a missed opportunity yesterday. >_<

I love my webhost. Innohosting is an unsung hero in the hosting industry. They are a low-profile host, known only by those who are serious about hosting. Despite the bandwidth hiccup, which was my fault due to a limit I’d imposed on that account, InnoHosting handled the traffic spike with no problems. As soon as I went back online the site was flying – as always.

Don’t take a site for granted and don’t lose interest. The site that was featured on Reddit yesterday has existed for about 4.5 years. For about the past 3 years or so the site had been left practically untouched. I built it mainly for fun, with no real business plan. Then, oddly enough, about 2 months ago I decided to return to working on it and update a few things. Less than one week later some crazy press hit world news (related to my niche) and the site went from about 150 page views the day before to over 2000 the next day. Within the past couple of months this site has suddenly become pretty high profile within its micro-niche. With a little more work, this can easily become another 50K-100K visitor per month site.

Pay attention to details, e.g., don’t forget to reinstall Google Analytics when you change themes. Another /facepalm moment…

When I returned to the site a few months ago to perform some updates and improvements, one of the things I did was move to a new theme; however, like a jackass…I forgot to move my Analytics code over when I did it. I like the convenience of the Jetpack stats within the dashboard, but yesterday I was really wanting to see a more accurate and detailed analytics view. Anyway…the code snippet is back in there now. 😉

Focus more effort on fewer projects. I have too many sites. I know this. This is one of the reasons why I stumbled on this opportunity yesterday. Had I been able to focus more energy on this project I would have not only reaped the full reward of the increased exposure by providing a trouble-free visitor experience, but I also would have enjoyed a big earnings increase. One of my goals now will be a full audit of all my niche sites, making sure that I’ve got certain systems in place.

Had I continued to build, improve and monetize this ‘interest’ site, I could have experienced a very lucrative past few months with this niche, but at least I did return to working on it when I did! I’m hoping that the recent efforts on the site resulted in some lasting good impressions from yesterday’s surge. I received a lot of social media shares which was a huge plus!

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