Certainly no one expected this.
A Sunday morning helicopter crash with NBA star Kobe Bryant aboard. TMZ, the entertainment news service that first broke the news of Kobe Bryant’s death, did not expect this either. The website is getting so much internet traffic that the TMZ website appears to be down, as well.
We certainly cannot predict when tragic news events occur, and we cannot predict when we will see a huge surge in internet traffic to our websites. However, there are certain things you can do to be prepared for these events. A surge in internet traffic to your website can be good in many cases. Usually this means that maybe your business has been mentioned on the news–or your marketing campaigns are doing better than you expected.
Then there are other times when a DDoS attack (Denial of Service Attack) or something else malicious is going on that is causing a sudden surge in internet traffic and it’s not a good thing. In those cases, you need services that monitor the traffic and can help deal with it. For example, services such as CloudFlare.com and BitMitigate.com can help with these types of malicious attacks against your website, which occur when someone is trying to take down your website. Those services can help by stopping the bad internet traffic and then filtering it out, only letting humans and the “good traffic” see your site. They also help speed up the serving of web pages, by caching pages.
In the case of the TMZ website being down, it is definitely a surge of internet traffic, as so many people want to have verification that such an influential person, such as Kobe Bryant, has died in a helicopter crash. The site is currently loading–but the content is not loading fully for me, I am only seeing the header, footer, and a Google Ad.
While the parts of the page are loading, this is an indication to me that TMZ might not be using the ideal setup when it comes to how the site is configured. They’re using different servers for the header and footer of the site, while the content itself is being loaded by another server that, in this case, can’t keep up with the traffic. They’re using “static.tmz.com” to load the static content: which is good, but the dynamic content should, in fact, be cached but it’s not.
I’m sure that once this untimely event settles down a bit, TMZ’s servers will have less traffic and they can learn from this: there’s something that failed (a server couldn’t keep up with the requests), so something will need to be adjusted. We’ve seen this same thing happen during “Shark Tank”, when there is so much traffic to a website from a product or service being featured on the hit TV show Shark Tank. At least in that case, the website owner knows when the traffic will be coming and they can be prepared for it.
There a few things you can do to make sure that your website doesn’t go down when it receives a lot of traffic or a surge in internet traffic, like this case of TMZ and the Kobe Bryant story:
- Test your website using a load test to see if your web server can handle the increase in traffic.
- Optimize the page load speed and consider using AMP if your website is a news-type website.
- Set up caching and consider using a CDN to help with caching. Cloudflare and BitMitigate are helpful.
- Set up a CDN so that the site uses more than one server to load pages.
- Set up a load balancer so that the site, when it does get a lot of traffic, can help handle the additional traffic and load.
- Talk to your web host and let them know that you expect additional traffic. They may be able to help make sure that they’re prepared and your site is on a server that can handle the additional internet traffic.