December 20, 2010

Don't Fear Being Fireballed or Slashdotted if on Blogger

It can be difficult to plan for an unanticipated spike in Web traffic. One of the most amusing parts of reading Macolyte John Gruber's Daring Fireball blog is the near certainty that at least once per day, one of the poor saps he links to goes down due to the resulting crush of curious onlookers. It happens so frequently that it's practically second nature to see him update a post saying the link has been "Fireballed", opting instead to point to Google's cache of the original. This phenomenon, of course, is not a Gruber exclusive. For years, otherwise innocent bloggers have been Slashdotted, TechCrunched or even Scobleized, seeing their sites crack under pressure. But from what I can tell, if you're hosted on Blogger, this isn't an issue at all. The company was just recognized for perfect uptime during a survey by Royal Pingdom, and I've seen my own site spike in traffic following controversial posts with no ill effects.

Blogger was not always known for a stellar uptime record. In late 2006, the service practically had to write "a novel" about continued outages. In fall of 2007, I railed against Google for ignoring users during another major outage. But services mature and times change.

Royal Pingdom's Downtime Report. Blogger Scores a Zero.

With the backdrop of Tumblr's highly-publicized downtime of more than a day earlier this month, Royal Pingdom also spotted occasional outages at WordPress, TypePad and Posterous, each of whom looked great compared to Tumblr's unfortunate blip, but not as spotless as the often overlooked Blogger.

Getting Slashdot, Scoble and Spiegel Bumps Simultaneously

While escaping system-wide downtime is a major win in itself, that doesn't speak to the services' ability to scale under pressure. Gruber recommends the WP Super Cache Plugin for WordPress, letting users serve more than a page a second, as it's self-hosted WordPress blogs that often get crushed with one of his links. But I've been linked from Daring Fireball a few times and lived to tell the tale. Same for Slashdot, Techmeme, Hacker News and the Huffington Post, all of which are capable of sending solid and sustained traffic on good days.

Techmeme, Hacker News and Scoble Don't Bring Down Blog

Similar to how Google is well known for its Web site never going down, I have to assume Blogger has mastered Google's distributed architecture, and makes no single blog, or its hotspotting, an instrument for failure. This blog didn't slow or go down when tens of thousands of visitors dropped by this July to tell me I was an idiot for switching from iPhone to Android. It also didn't go down when I questioned the usefulness of Google Wave last year, or when the Huffington Post liked my recap of David Kirkpatrick's Facebook Effect.

Not Even Daring Fireball Could Take the Blog Down

Even the largest services have occasional downtime. Facebook was down last week, intentionally, due to a code push ahead of schedule. Twitter has had its share of bumps, though the site has gotten much better in the last year, and even Facebook subsidiary FriendFeed went down this weekend. But Blogger users are sitting pretty knowing their blogs are going to be up and responsive, even under pressure.