9 million page views in 2 hours from 1 link

  • 0
  • June 26, 2009
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

The New York Times is celebrating this week after they managed to survive their biggest ever onslaught of traffic – 9 million page views in two hours.

The visitors arrived after an article about houses in unfortunate locations was featured on the Yahoo homepage, sending a staggering 7,300 hits per second and 4,9 million page views in the first hour.

Apparently the huge spike didn’t produce much advertising revenue because the page didn’t have any premium advertisers but the NY Times is happy enough and is praising the web developers for keeping the site running when most would have crashed.

An internal memo has the full details:

Links from other sites generate traffic to ours. Usually this happens incrementally, a little here, a little there, adding up over time. Every once in awhile, though, it comes with a rush you can almost hear, causing wild traffic spikes at the most unexpected moments.

On Thursday afternoon, Yahoo put a link in the “Featured” box at the top of their home page to this Home and Garden story. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/18/garden/18houses.html

In an instant, traffic to our site nearly tripled, breaking a couple of records: nearly 7,300 hits per second and 4.9 million page views for the hour in which the spike occurred, then 4.2 million in the following hour. That’s higher than anything we saw during the 2008 election campaigns, when the previous records were set.

It’s at moments like this when our technology is put to the test, along with the developers who build and maintain it. To their great credit, everything worked brilliantly.

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