Strictly Spoiler – Further Update

Hi guys, I’m back with another update on the hosting situation following the increase in traffic my site has been experiencing the last few weeks.

As some of you will know the traffic spikes, particularly when I have just posted the spoiler have been causing my web host to melt into a nice big pile of sticky goo. During the week I made a number of under the hood improvements to the way this site delivers content to web browsers by implementing caching to reduce database access and also hosting some of my content on a CDN. Unfortunately they were only partially successful in alleviating the traffic to my host and the site still went down although the number of errors in my log almost halved compared to last week so I guess the optimisations helped a bit. However this wasn’t helped by the fact that traffic during the peak time last night doubled with over 5000 views of my site during the period from 9pm to midnight last night. Traffic on Sunday also increased by about 60% on the previous week.

Clearly this site has outgrown the current host and no amount of optimisation of the current code is going to solve this especially given the current increases in traffic week on week. My current hosts solution would be to increase my package to one which costs £19.99+VAT a month. This is out of my budget even with the increase I have had in ad revenue and to be honest, I could get a VPS server for that price which would be better than my current hosts offering.

As such I will be carrying out my plan to move hosts and hope to have this sorted out in time for the next weekends spoiler. Thank you for visiting this site to view the spoiler and your patience as I adapt to the new levels of traffic I am receiving. My traffic has gone from about 3000 hits over a weekend to about 17,000 in the space of 4 weeks something I have been completely unprepared for. It’s both an exciting and a little frightening time for me!

Dave

Advertisements

Strictly Come Dancing 2014 – Week 6 (Halloween Week) Spoilers

It was a night of ghosts and ghouls on the dance floor and here at the home of the Strictly Spoiler there were some ghosts in the machine last weekend when so many of you tried to view the spoiler at once, this site went down for about 10 minutes after I posted it. I’ve been working hard this week to try and prevent a repeat and have made some under the hood improvements to try and reduce the load on my web host and will continue to bring improvements to this site as traffic increases including a change in hosts if needed. Traffic to this site has trebled over the last 3 weeks which is both exciting and a little scary but also shows how many people share my view that the BBC shouldn’t make us wait for the results and should broadcast them live as they happen. Anyway, enough of that, here are the results:

Alison and Scott had to dance off. The judges saved Alison. Scott was eliminated!

Complaints to the BBC (and my web host if the site goes down again)

Strictly Spoilers Update

Hi all, I felt the need to do this blog post to update you all on some current developments with this blog and what will be happening in the near future.

When I first started to post the Strictly Spoiler, the main reason for doing so (besides the ad traffic it brings – more on that later) was to highlight how ridiculous it is for the BBC to pre record the results a day in advance in front of a live audience for their flagship reality TV series in a day and age where information can be transmitted globally in a fraction of a second. I’d had some success posting The Voice Spoilers in 2012 and thought it would be a good idea to do the same for Strictly. And it was!

For the last two years, posting the Strictly Spoiler has caused a minor increase in my site hits providing on average 3-4k hits over the course of a weekend and earning me a few pence in ad revenue to put towards my hosting costs. Then 2 weeks ago that changed and over 6000 of you viewed the spoiler. Last week over 7500 of you viewed it and a change to my ad formats increased my revenue from a few pence to a few pounds. And then this week views skyrocketed and at time of writing this post are over 9000 (WHAT?? NINE THOUSAND???) 10414 with ad revenue of approximately £12.50 £16.90.

Sadly this increase in traffic has had one side effect. My web host couldn’t (or more accurately wouldn’t) cope with the influx of traffic as soon as the spoiler was posted taking the site down for approximately 10 minutes. If you were affected by this minor outage I apologise. I’ve been unprepared for the exponential increase in the site traffic and this was the first time my site has gone down due to capacity issues. However this is still unacceptable and may only get worse as my traffic continues to increase. However this couldn’t have come at a better time really as my hosting is up for renewal next month and as things stand I won’t be renewing it with my current provider as they want to quadruple my hosting costs to increase my capacity and even with the increase in ad revenue this is not an option. So this site will be doing something it hasn’t done in about 8 years. I will be moving hosts and reinvesting the increase in ad revenue in providing a site that can cope with the demands now being placed on it.

My current plans are to research and choose a new hosting provider over the course of the next week and sign up to them and begin the process of moving content over. This site will stay with the current host next weekend and if this means the site goes down again due to traffic volumes, I apologise in advance but unfortunately this process will take some time.

On Tuesday 4th November 2014 I plan to take this site offline whilst it transfers to the new host. I’ve chosen this date as it gives me time to select and sign up to the new host and obviously I don’t want to be switching near to a weekend as it would mean this site would be down and unable to provide spoilers for that weekend. Also it can take 48 hours for a change in hosting to fully propagate over the internet and I want to make sure that when I do make this change that everything is fully set up for you guys in time for a weekend.

I will have prepared and transferred most of my content over prior to flipping the switch, or at least that is my intention, so any downtime should be kept to a minimum and for most of you who search for the spoiler, or who follow me on twitter which has seen a similar rise in followers, it is unlikely you will notice any difference apart from a boost in site performance once the switch has completed.

Sorry this post has been a bit waffley but I needed to update you guys and apologise for the brief outage both yesterday and when I initiate the switchover. I would like to thank each and every one of you for both taking the time to visit this site to view the spoiler and for reading this far in the post.

I’ll see you next weekend for the spoiler and then over at my new host for the weekend after.

Dave

Complaints to UKHost4U (http://www.ukhost4u.co.uk)

Further Update 29/10/2014 – further to this post I have been researching alternative hosts. I have also made some under the hood changes to how this site’s pages are delivered which may increase my server’s capacity during traffic spikes. I will be monitoring the situation on Saturday Night after which I will make a decision about whether moving hosts is still necessary