Fireballs and WordPress

It’s a joke as common as how Things will never get cloud sync (it is, well at least the beta is) or how TextMate 2 will never arrive (it will, at some point): WordPress will go down if you get a lot of traffic at once, right?

Wrong.

John Gruber often likes to joke that another WordPress site went down because he linked to it. 1 While it’s true that a massive surge in traffic can take down a WordPress site — it’s not true that it is Gruber’s fault, or the fault of traffic — it’s the site owners fault.

I have been linked to from Gruber and other high traffic sites before and never once has this site crumbled under the pressure — even when I was on the cheaper Grid-Service from Media Temple. The fact is that if you properly cache and administer your site, well, you can handle a ton of traffic.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this graph showing TBR’s traffic from March 29, 2011 through today.

The graph clearly shows my “base” traffic with five massive traffic spikes as a result of an influx in traffic. The largest spike represents a jump twenty-two times the normal amount of traffic, all in a single day. I didn’t upgrade to a faster server, stop posting to the site, or do anything special. WordPress just dealt with the traffic with no problem.

If your WordPress site crumbles under the pressure — well — don’t blame WordPress. 2 That 22x jump happened with WP-Supercache at the helm, however since that time I have switched to W3 Total Cache. Dr. Drang has manned up and decided not even to cache his WP site any more.

  1. To be fair, he typically also points out that it likely wasn’t cached.
  2. Looking at you Matt Legend Gemmell. I have no problem with him switching because he wants a different tool, but listing the site going down from traffic spikes is not the fault of the tool. It is fair to say that he couldn’t get it to stop going down and so he gave up, but…
Originally posted for members on: September 12, 2011
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