What happened, how to help
Wednesday we got overwhelmed by a traffic spike at least 50% off our normal traffic, which is already shockingly large. We blew up our web and database servers (and that’s “the massive shared servers our generous host had us on”) For a couple of hours, we were showing a version of USSM that was the last thing the web server managed to generate: a text-only version of USSM with no formatting, where every link led to a file not found error (because they’d been blown away).
This meant that while I was on the phone with our host, discussing what in the world we could do (because bringing the site back up only to get destroyed under the load again made no sense) we got high-quality emails like
What Happened to the USS Mariner web site today? New format is awful. . .and nothing about trade that just came down with Indians
No really, someone looked at that broken, formless thing and thought we were redecorating.
Probably… 95% of the email that’s come in has been requests to help in different forms, and particularly, requests to accept donations. Some of them were rather angry about not having that option. We’ve resisted this in the past, and now we relent:
And also this.
Wow, that Paypal box is way smaller. Oh well, there’s not a lot of time right now for tweaking and formatting.
Paypal (now a part of eBay) is, admittedly, uh, not the finest company, but they do charge us a little less compared to Amazon (PayPal is, I believe, 30c+2.2% while Amazon is 30c+ 2.9%) PayPal’s a little bit better, but Amazon is likely to be much easier for you if it was up, which it hasn’t had much luck at today. If any of our fine readers at Amazon want to kick their box in the hind end for us, that’d be helpful.
I fully admit that we don’t know what we’re going to do with the money right now, but the top candidates are:
- We port the site to use Movable Type, which I believe may be far better at handling the kind of loads we see. MT requires money
- Putting a box on a rack which is not hand-assembled by me with a Will Clark sticker on the case (for luck)
- Bribe our host
I would say right now that I’m 100% certain that we won’t be using the DMZ-built box as a long-term solution: either we’ll move to MT and solve the load issue that way, or we’ll be forced to buy or hire our own server. I promise not to buy my weight in Anchor Steam and try to forget all this when we’re up and stable. Unless that’s a request. Because I could do that.
Some people have suggested Google’s ad program — we’ve been down that path before, and it didn’t do it.