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Tamebay servers and peak traffic capacity

By Chris Dawson September 15, 2014 - 3:38 pm

Tamebay had some server issues last weekend with pages being slow to load on Sunday and for a brief interval on Sunday afternoon Tamebay was offline.

We thought we should share with you why this is and what we’re doing to stop it happening again.

Tamebay’s traffic is normally pretty steady with a noticeable dip at weekends when naturally you, our readers, are off doing whatever you do when you’re not working. However three times in the last eight weeks we’ve seen abnormally high spikes in traffic, unsurprisingly on the dates eBay have had downtime issues. Each spike has been a magnitude larger than the previous with yesterdays being Tamebay’s busiest day ever.

Tamebay Traffic Peaks

On the first two occasions our server held up admirably, however yesterday was a record day by both visitors and page views (around 6 times the amount of traffic we’d normally expect on a typical day) with the peak hitting in the early afternoon. That’s when pages started to load slowly and around 3.20 for about 6 minutes Tamebay was offline.

Our tech guys have looked at the logs and told us that basically, due to the high volume of traffic this Sunday, the server simply ran out of memory, with the obvious solution to buy some more to increase capacity. This we will do.

The good news is that we now know what type of traffic loads our servers can take and how many people can concurrently use the site without noticeable issues. Adding additional memory should further increase the peak loads that the server can handle.

Hopefully we won’t get anywhere near the server limits again in the near future, but rest assured we’ll be monitoring traffic each time there’s a major event and will be putting resources in place when needed.

  • Toadlady
    2 years ago

    Maybe you could pass the same advice to eBay. Seems the number of site techy issues they have has increased dramatically since they reduced the number of servers to save on energy bills last year.

    • 2 years ago

      I think to be fair on eBay (sorry), it’s worth noting that the scale on which they operate compared to Tamebay is quite quite different.

      That doesn’t excuse the miserable comms though.

  • Jono
    2 years ago

    This clearly shows everyone turns to good old Tamebay when there are issues with eBay. Why a giant such as eBay can’t have a separate service status site to inform it’s paying sellers and buyers what is going on is crazy.

    Thank goodness for Tamebay!!

    • 2 years ago

      We are happy to help. Do tell your friends! :)

  • Toby
    2 years ago

    Isn’t it about time eBay also started hosting the localised sites, locally, rather than in Campbell, California, USA.
    This would allow the local site to operate without the Transatlantic cable issues & if .com falls over the local sites are still online

    • 2 years ago

      By all accounts that is the case. There are multiple hosting centres globally. Apparently.

    • Will Danson
      2 years ago

      Yes, but it was the 14th Sept, not 12th.

    • 2 years ago

      Thanks! :-)

  • 2 years ago

    I’m really pleased that we’ve shared this information: it’s an act of genuine radical transparency.

  • Mark
    2 years ago

    Have you considered using a CDN service (such as the free Cloudflare)? This would cache static content (such as images) reducing server load. I note that you are currently serving images from the main server it may be worth transferring them to a separate domain (eg img.tamebaynew.wpengine.com) which can be hosted separately.

    I assume that you are using a WP caching plugin as most visitors will be reading rather than commenting.

    • 2 years ago

      Thanks for your suggestions Mark. You’re the second person to suggest a content delivery service and of course caching is something we have in place.

      I think I may actually be the guilty person as the server actually crashed when I tried to approve reader comments held caught in the moderation queue (of which there were rather a lot). I think trying to write to the database was the straw that broke the camels back but rest assured we are exploring options.

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