Late last week, several national newspapers and e-zines published several stories about a silly little promotion for an upcoming, onscreen ‘Homeric’ tale : SimpsonizeMe.com. Unfortunately those coming late to the party may have to wait a bit as the popularity of this interactive Flash-based toy created enough buzz and traffic to crush the server on which it was hosted.
I write quite a bit about planning contingencies for failure, but I think the quick little lesson here is to also have in your back pocket an alternative route for popularity.
A bit rarer a problem with church and charity web sites, but here are five things the ‘Simpsonize Me’ server failure teaches us consider regarding the management of successful web sites in order of magnitude:
- more monthly bandwidth – is a measure of data transfer, the trick here is to increase your monthly allotment ahead of time so you’re not paying a penalty premium when you get pounded
- a dedicated server – a type of Internet hosting where the client leases an entire server not shared with anyone, before your hosting provider kicks you off for hogging all the shared resources
- server farm – a collection of computer servers to accomplish server needs far beyond the capability of one machine
- load balancing – a technique to spread processing between many computers, which is another way to maximize multiple machines
- throttled input – last resort, but a cut-off point where your server nicely but firmly says “no mas“
Point is: be like Ned and not like Homer – plan ahead – or at least have a clue of what to do if things become wildly successful.
Some articles to read while the computing crew at Burger King figure out how best to deal with the new found popularity their ‘Simpsonize Me’ game has garnered: