Tips for Surviving the Digg Effect on Shared Hosting

digg for content aggregation

What is the Digg Effect?

If you’ve ever had a story get to the front page off any large social bookmarking site like Digg or Reddit or Slashdot, then you know the “Digg Effect” refers to the thousands of nearly instantaneous visitors your website is likely to receive on such an occasion.

If you’re running your website on a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, or any type of Forums, this type of traffic burst is going to have an extreme effect on the server’s processing to-do list. For a non-optimized site on a shared server, this could temporarily shut down services. Even on a virtual private server, this could slow things down more than you or your visitors would like.

Tips for Surving

* Enable an addon to Cache pages

Creating a cache is like telling the CMS to hold a copy of the page in its storage and serve that copy to each visitor for a few minutes. This saves processing time because the computer the site is hosted on won’t be required to constantly calculate the variables and bring together all of the various strings and data that make up the parts of your web page (pictures, posts, poster name(s), widgets, etc…)

  • WordPress Super Cachedownload and info
  • Joomla Cache – download and info
  • SMF Caching – Admin > Server Settings > Caching

* Minimize Website Clutter

Each image, script, and on-page component of your page will take up a fraction of a second of processing time. Multiply that by enough objects and enough visitors in a short enough period of time and that could be trouble. Reducing icons for social bookmarking with or replacing icons with text links can reduce this issue.

If you are caching the site, it could also be useful to limit the data size of any images on the site. Unless a high level of detail is essential, try to keep them under 100k.

If that doesn’t work, Send your traffic to me!

Just kidding! Good luck with your website promotion and staying online through heavy bursts or traffic. It is not unheard of for a front-page placement to launch tens of thousands of visitors in a day, but it doesn’t last forever and its not something that happens often for most website writers.

So long as the site stays online, you’ll enjoy a big boost of traffic and a lot of incoming links. The traffic may not convert directly into sales, but the visibility and domain recognition will help you out with further marketing efforts.

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