Where do I begin?
Many of you no doubt have already heard that Kelsey Smith was found murdered today. My wife, Laura, was at the Smith home when the detectives came with the news that a body had been found and it was likely Kelsey. The identification was later confirmed. Laura and my daughter, Beth, are attending a prayer service at Hillcrest Covenant Church as I write this. Prayers are flooding in from across the country and around the globe. Please add your prayers to them. I will have much more to say about this in the coming days.
Quite aside from the unspeakable human tragedy, my technical team and I learned a great deal through this. The traffic to www.findkelsey.com (see mirror of original HTML site) was 160,000 page views yesterday and grew exponentially this morning. By 10:00 am we had serious performance impact, essentially taking down Vine Hosting, the ISP where our web servers are located. Searches for findkelsey.com reached #5 on Google as reported by Google Trends. You read that right. Our little hand-built quickie site was the #5 search on Google today. (Right now “Kelsey Smith” is #3, “find Kelsey” is # 7, and “findkelsey.com” is #9.) The flood of legitimate traffic was so great, Glenn – the director of operations for Vine Hosting – at first thought it was a DDOS. In reality, it was all legit traffic. Too much traffic. Glenn is still dealing with the aftermath.
The only people with enough resources to absorb this kind of traffic is, that’s right, Google. Realizing the disaster we were causing for Vine, I made the command decision to totally take down all traffic related to findkelsey.com at Vine, even the DNS. Then, as rapidly as possible, we created a new site on Blogger (which is owned by Google), changed to a high-volume DNS host, and pointed the DNS at Blogger. As soon as the DNS change propagated, we started getting comments on our posts. In fact, my first indication that we finally had things working was when a comment appeared in my inbox. It took almost another hour to figure out how to get most traffic coming to us as it should. In the following 2.5 hours, 754 comments have come in from around the country, directed to Kelsey’s family. That’s one comment every 10-15 seconds. Unbelievable.
Today I had the experience of building one of the highest traffic sites on the Internet. I was building it WHILE it was being hit.