May 12, 2023

No, you're not cool if your site crashes due to too much traffic

You are rather an inexperienced web surfer. You're just the captain of a digital Titanic.

Well, I have noticed a rather alarming trend among some website owners and bloggers. There seems to be a kind of frantic excitement that takes place when a blog post goes so viral that the server crashes from the absurd amount of hits. This seems to give a strange feeling of having accomplished something great, almost as if it were a medal of honor to be proudly displayed.

I see these columnists or website owners swell with pride on social media, bragging about how their content crashed the server due to massive traffic. Look mom, no hands!

Well, I feel the need to clear up this misconception: No, you are not cool if your website crashes due to too much traffic. You are not a digital hero. You are, my dear, an imbecile.

Now, I know this may sound like a blow to your self-esteem, but someone had to tell you. There's nothing to brag about seeing your site go offline because it can't handle the traffic. In fact, it's quite embarrassing. It's like saying: "Hey, look how good I am at making things fail!"

502 bad gateway nginx

But let's go beyond simple shame. Let's see what really happens when your site crashes due to too much traffic. First of all, you could have handled that traffic. Yes, you heard right. It wasn't an impossible feat or a superman's task. You could have handled all that traffic using the right software stack, like Varnish Cache, for example.

Google Analytics Traffic

Not only would your site remain functional, but you could also monetize all those visits and banner ad impressions.

Instead, you've decided to let your site go haywire, like an athlete passing out on the starting line. Result? Not only did you miss out on a revenue opportunity, but you also gave your visitors a slow and frustrating browsing experience. And that's not all.

When your site is offline, you submit poor core web vitals to Google. You know what that means? It means you are telling Google that your site is not trustworthy. And Google, like a strict parent, will punish you for it. It will limit the traffic it sends to you, whether it's from Google News or Discovery. And the same thing will happen with Facebook if your traffic is mainly social. Eventually, you will have fewer visitors and fewer monetization opportunities. It's like shooting himself in the foot and then bragging about how good he is at bleeding.

Also, a site that goes offline often damages your reputation. Who would want to rely on a site that can't handle traffic? Who would want to do business with a site that falls at the first sign of popularity? It's like relying on a sinking ship at the first sign of water. Not very reliable, is it?

And then there's the fact that crashing your site is not only a problem for you, but for your visitors as well. You know, those people who clicked on your viral post hoping to read something interesting? They've had to deal with an error page or excruciatingly slow browsing. Not exactly the user experience they were looking for. And do you know what people do when they have a bad experience on a website? They leave and often never come back. So, not only have you lost short-term visitors, but you've also potentially lost long-term visitors.

Also, I'd like to point out that if your site goes offline due to traffic, that means you haven't planned properly. You haven't considered the possibility that your content could go viral and attract lots of traffic. In other words, you weren't ready for success. And if you're not ready for success when it comes, you're really not cool. You are just unprepared.

So what should you do instead of bragging about your site crashing? Well, you could start by improving your web infrastructure and making sure it can handle the traffic. You might as well start using tools like Varnish Cache to improve the performance of your site. And most importantly, you should stop seeing a site crash as a success and start seeing it for what it is: a failure.

Our customers, for example, routinely handle up to 3 million visitors a day (per day) without experiencing slowdowns or crashes.


Bottom line, if your website crashes due to traffic, you're not cool. You are just the captain of a digital Titanic, proudly steering your ship towards the iceberg of failure. There is nothing cool about this. So next time your site crashes, instead of bragging rights, why not take this as a signal that it's time to make some improvements?

Remember, true success isn't measured in how many servers you crash, it's how many visitors you satisfy and keep. The truly cool is the one who can handle success, not the one who collapses under the weight of it.

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