On November 14th, Craving Tech had around 10,000 visitors coming from all over the place such as Neowin.net, Lifehacker.com, CNET.com, TomsHardware.com, and TheRegister.co.uk. The most visited post was the Microsoft Office 2010 Beta screenshots that I posted after work (around 7 p.m AEST).
I knew the post was going to be a hit because the screenshots and short impressions of the Office 2010 official beta weren’t available anywhere on the net yet. Knowing about the going-to-be-a-very-popular-post, I did… nothing! to prepare for the traffic spike. I had confidence that this blog would withstand such a sudden “brute attack”.
How to prepare your WordPress blog for a huge incoming traffic
- Install WP-SuperCache plug-in (A MUST).
In the past, I had a sudden spiked traffic from StumbleUpon when the Battlefield Heroes Beta post received around 15,000 visitors in 2 days. My blog was taken down temporarily because the server couldn’t cope with such a dramatic traffic. I didn’t have any caching mechanism installed at that time. Last week was the prove that caching works well on your blog! More details on why caching is important for your blog and how WP-SuperCache works.
- Reduce WordPress CPU Usage as much as you can.
Don’t install non-necessary plug-ins and don’t use overly complicated theme. Head off to my Blogging Guide series page and check out the How to reduce WordPress CPU usage section to optimize your blog. The Arthemia Premium theme that I used is a trimmed down version (the original has some random posts feature that would bring extra CPU usage to the table).
- Go for a more expensive but more reliable web hosting.
Don’t always go for the cheapest when you are looking for a good web host. Those unlimited and free stuffs sound good but not all web hosts are reliable. I needed to exchange about 40 support tickets with my old hosting for a CPU usage problem before I decided to move to HostGator. From 66% CPU usage on the old web host to 0.1% CPU usage on the new one? That’s crazy. Check out my HostGator review post for more details on my migration story and if you are thinking to move to a new web host.
- Switch to a simpler theme temporarily.
If you really think that you are going to get hundreds of thousands of traffic in a day, it’s always a good idea to switch to a very basic theme to accommodate. It’s better for the visitors to see a plain theme that works rather than getting those connection to server fail errors!
Mind you, this blog is still hosted on a shared server (for about $7 a month). You don’t need to pay for a dedicated (or a Virtual Private Server hosting) yet as long as you *at least* install WP-SuperCache and make sure that it works. My old web host kept on nagging me to pay for $30 a month for a dedicated. I almost got persuaded but thank God I didn’t!
Do you have any horror stories to share about a massive unexpected traffic in the past?