Sweet Designs (contest crash)
A cool scavenger hunt contest with a 4PM entry deadline came due today at her site. My wife briefly described the contest to me and it seems as if 7 related (and some very popular) blogs were involved or at least referenced. I am not sure of the number or type of visitors generated by the contest, but it appears as if her host’s (Rackspace.com?) database servers were not up to the task:
[check whoishostingthis.com for hosting report: blog.amyatlas.com Is Hosted by Rackspace Hosting IP Address: 22.214.171.124]
People have resorted to Facebook to voice their woes and to get up updates from Amy as she tries to restore access to her blog. My favorite comment from somebody trying to enter the contest:
I really have to pee, but dont want to leave my computer in case I miss it.. hope the prize comes with a new desk chair too! (Nicole T. from Facebook)
I hope this ends well for all involved. My wife had a good time doing the scavenger hunt and is not upset in the least [she’s in playing with our daughter at this moment having a blast] but some people seem to have spent a lot of time on this and are a bit perturbed at the state of the contest right now 🙁
Some form of alternative entry method seems in order?
Ways to avoid or mitigate the issue
Also, my wife suggested a couple ways to avoid this type of problem:
#1 post date the entry:
This would have resulted in people at least having a fair chance of getting in and posting a comment during the sporadic uptime the site seems to be having.
#2 Spread out the entry deadlines… since their are 7 blogs that you’d find out about the entry the from, have people that were referred by site 1 post at 4PM, site 2 at 5PM, and so on… this should distribute the load.
And I suggested the following…
#3 Use a better host, cough cough Weblogs.us 🙂 a little plug for the free blog hosting site I’ve run for the past decade 😉 we use SSDs for our databases and they generally do a great job of handling heavy loads.
#4 Use a CDN (content distribution network) or cache… the first helps by distributing the load to a number of servers, the second takes a dynamic blog page (with lots of database requests) and caches it into a more static and faster loading version…
#5 Do you have any ideas? If so, feel free to post in the comments!
UPDATE: it looks like the deadline has been postponed until tomorrow…
[to be updated]