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Photo server being dugg

Well, this site is at a crawl now because the panorama I assembled of San Francisco in 1971 is on the front page. If you haven't seen it before it's on the San Francisco page, the panorama of SF from the top of the Bay Bridge in 1971.

My hosting company, Defender Hosting/PowerVPS, has been kind enough to do a temporary upgrade of my server capacity to their top level, though the site's response is still poor. This is something that virtual hosting can do that you can't as easily do with dedicated hosting, though virtual hosting has its own costs, mostly in wasted memory.

I think it would be nice if virtual hosting companies sold this "bump" ability as a feature. When your web site gets a lot of load from a place like digg or slashdot, this could ideally be automatically detected, and more capacity made available, either free for rare use as a bonus, or for a fee. Most site owners would be glad to authorize a bit of extra payment for extra capacity in the event that they're subject to a big swarm of traffic. (The only risk being that you might pay for capacity when under a DOS or spam attack or when being used by crackers or spammers.)

One place this might happen well is in the Amazon ec2 service, which I have yet to really try out. EC2 offers a cloud of virtual servers on demand. In this case, you would want to have a master controller which tracks load on your server, and fires up another virtual server, and then, once it's up, starts redirecting traffic to it using DNS or proxy techniques, or both. If a web site is highly based on an SQL server, all the copies would need to use the same SQL server (or perhaps need an interesting replication strategy if not read-only) but making SQL servers scale is a well-attacked problem.

Has anybody done this yet with EC2? If not, I expect somebody will soon. The basic concept is fairly simple, though to do it perfectly you would need to do things like copy logs back after the fact and redirect any pages which want to write data to the local server to a common server if one can. For a site with static pages that don't change due to user activity, such replication should not present too many problems.


Getting Dugg really is a blessing and a curse. It usually doesn't bring much ad revenue. But hopefully you'll get some people interested in your blog and get them coming back. When my blog got Dugg, I only saw a small increase in people coming back. But hopefully you'll fair better!

Hope the server upgrade isn't too much of a strain on your wallet.

The traffic is to my photo site, not to the blog. May be some more traffic to the blog. I've been slashdotted and boingboinged and dugg before. And you're right, what you find in adsense, for example, is a lot more impressions but a lot less clickthrough, so you only make a bit more money.

The temporary server upgrade they are doing is free, in part to be good, in part because they know that because I want to switch to ubuntu hosting (which they don't offer yet) that I may be leaving them. Can't fault the customer service here. As I was saying, what I think hosting companies should do is offer "busting" as a service, either automatically or that the user can ask for and pay for, without having to buy a whole new server.

I read your blog and digg . . . noticed the templeton domain and thought . . . cool

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