November 4, 2014

What a visit from Reddit looks like

Posted in Society at 05:58 by graham

My credit card generator was recently on the front page of reddit. Here’s what that looks like.

Here’s htop during peak traffic (click for larger view):

100% htop

This site is Apache (WordPress) behind nginx, running on a Linode. The top banner is served by netshare, a small C program I wrote using the magic of epoll and sendfile.

The credit card generator is a real generator, every visitor gets new random numbers. It’s PHP (github) and very evidently CPU bound. Here’s Linode’s CPU graph:


I have to pause and point out how awesome Linode is. I’m paying for 1 core, and there’s 8 cores at 100%. That’s 8 times what I’m paying for. No extra charge, no angry email. During the peak of reddit traffic, the site was always responsive.

Today, what it takes to survive being on the front page of the Internet is $20 / month and a handful of basic open-source tools (WordPress, Apache, Nginx, MySQL). Thanks Linode and thanks free software!

It is often said that traffic from sites like Reddit is ‘low quality’ traffic. A brief spike of traffic, with no returning users or long-term visitors. That’s quite true in this case – here’s the WordPress site stats:

Wordpress stats

Finally, here’s the network traffic for IPv4 vs IPv6. Look at the numbers on the left. We’re not there yet.




  1. Luke said,

    June 26, 2015 at 09:46

    Nice stats. Had a similar spike from HN last year [0] in which 3000 visitors in 2-3 hours (not commercial traffic levels, of course, but more than I’m used to) were handled with ease on a low-end VPS. Most requests were served from cache, IIRC.

    Performance should be better now, I’ve moved to Drupal as CMS and cached the heck out of everything.

    Ended up here, your blog, via a search for the Ikea bar table you’re using for standup work btw. I recently set one up instead of going in for the electric sit-stand Bekant desk because I realised for 5x the price I’d probably end up sitting for well over 50% of the time.

    This way I’m forced to stand, but can perch on a nice bar stool (with back – the Franklin, white) if it all gets too much :) Beats the previous tripod + custom laptop stand I had rigged for standing time. Much neater, less space-waste and paper-mounds than with a full-size desk. Oh, the Bjorkudden table also fits the treadmill underneath quite well, so that’s another plus point.

    — [0]

  2. Dan said,

    November 4, 2014 at 06:39

    Cool stuff. I’m gonna have to look into linode as a provider.

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