Help my wiki survive slashdotting!
February 1, 2006 12:40 PM   Subscribe

How can my little wiki survive slashdotting? If it were just static pages, I could figure out how to colocate, but what to do about collaborative content?

I run a MoinMoin wiki farm on a cheap little Linux box connected to the big wide world via a crummy little DSL line. My book is being published today from a geek-friendly publisher, and I have reason to believe the book will soon be mentioned on SlashDot, BoingBoing, and 43 Folders, among other big name sites. The official page for the book links (or will link shortly) to my wiki, and I'm scared pooless that my site is going to go down hard. Can you help with some advice and pointers to resources?

Thank you, Masked Man. Thank you, Hive Mind.
posted by rwhe to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
It's likely going to go down hard, so what you should have prepared is a replacement of the site with a low-images, small size (kbs) page thanking your visitors and explaining the situation to them. Include a paragraph of what the site is about and ask them to bookmark it for post-Slashdot times. Doing this will allow you to keep the site up much longer.

However, I would definitely recommend moving off of the DSL line to even a cheap hosting company. It will definitely handle things a lot better.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:56 PM on February 1, 2006

can you just static-ize your wiki for a bit? a little googling came across this little blurb about using wget. way to be a badass with the popularity!
posted by soma lkzx at 12:56 PM on February 1, 2006

Get web hosting, it's not all that expensive. Change your DNS and hope it switches quickly. If you're lucky you won't get slashdotted or digged for a day or two.

Some hosts are accomodating if you get slashdotted, and will not mind the spike in traffic, others aren't and will bounce you. It'd be kind of you to warn them that it well happen.

In the mean time, make sure that your entry page that will be linked to is static. Take your wiki offline and post a one page summary with links to the book and promise you'll be back shortly.

Your DSL won't cut it.
posted by voidcontext at 1:03 PM on February 1, 2006

It's an issue of caching and bandwidth, but nothing can do well on a DSL line.

I'd wget the whole site and regularly upload static copies to a colocatation facility. Make sure the http cache headers are set correctly to assist upstream caches. See if the host can run something like Squid in front of your site too.

From the looks of it MoinMoin doesn't have memcached or something similar, so it probably wouldn't stand up well.

And the idea above of including a message saying this is only uneditable during the slashdotting is a good one. /.ers love to feel like rampaging mongolian hordes :)
posted by holloway at 1:07 PM on February 1, 2006

I've been linked by Wired, /., and most surprising to me, Dave Barry's column. In all cases the effects were not pleasant. If you are using an easily configurable DNS or dynamic DNS system, you could set up a coral cache and forward your page to there. Or a quick'n'dirty approach with static pages is just to try to boot all requests directly to the Google cache version. might also work in a pinch, but their system is slow.
posted by meehawl at 1:10 PM on February 1, 2006

Encourage linkers to link to you via the coral cache.
posted by adamrice at 3:08 PM on February 1, 2006

I asked a similar question a few months ago and got some great advice: Help us survive a major-but-short-term traffic spike.

I just had a look over the wiki in question: without a doubt, my first move would be to make a static copy of everything, optimise the hell out of the pages and disable editing for a few days. But seriously: DSL? Ouch. Email if I can help.
posted by blag at 4:54 PM on February 1, 2006

If you do switch to hosting, mention to a webhost that you will be slashdotted and throw a blurb about them on the front page. Then I'm sure they wouldn't mind the spike in advertising!
posted by charmston at 5:52 PM on February 1, 2006

Outside of the other suggestions, you may also want to look into caching. Either through your wiki software or using something like PEAR's Cache_Lite module, which is a relatively simple to use PHP solution.
posted by melt away at 7:29 PM on February 1, 2006

That is... caching on the host end (in addition to using Coral Cache).
posted by melt away at 7:30 PM on February 1, 2006

If you are really stuck hosting on your DSL line, you should, at the very least, enable HTTP response compression.
posted by Good Brain at 8:17 PM on February 1, 2006

Turn the "front page" into a static html page. Make it lightweight (few graphics, etc.) and try to get all/most of the information that the slashdot readers will be looking for onto that one page.

But even if your machine stays up, your DSL connection just doesn't have the bandwidth for slashdotting. If you get a mention on the slashdot front page, most of the people clicking through (while the article is on the front page) will not get through to your site even if your machine is working fine the whole time.
posted by winston at 5:18 PM on February 2, 2006

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