How Bill Gates Took Down My Site

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He’s a popular guy.  Somebody Stumbled my post on How To Think Like Bill Gates, and the traffic spike exceeded what my hoster could allow for a shared server.  So if you happened to wander by Sources of Insight last Sunday, you might have noticed it wasn’t available.

Here’s the impact … I had to move to a dedicated server which changed the costs of my little blog from a few dollars a month to a few hundred a month.  Wow.  I did not expect this.  It’s the Slashdot effect

What I also did not expect is that my site was not available for a stretch of time during the migration.  I also had to re setup and pay for a more expensive backup plan.  All of this, to deal with periodic spikes.

The good news is, I can revert back to my shared hosting cost, if my traffic goes down.  The bad news is, each time I hit a spike, I’ll either have a server down, or I have to swap back and forth between a dedicated server and shared hosting.  Not good.

Maybe it’s a sign that it’s time to level up in life.  I might just stick with the dedicated server for now.

I can’t help but think back to my early days of little league.  I was batting .700 (which, if you know baseball is extremely high.)  I was in the minors and didn’t want to move to the majors … I thought I would suck.  The surprise for me, was I didn’t, and although my average went down, I was batting in the .300-.400 range, which was still extremely high.

Here’s how I’m going to respond to this unexpected change of plans:

  1. Stick with the dedicated hosting per now.
  2. Experiment and test ways to fund my site.
  3. Enjoy the journey.

I figure if I keep flowing value, and if I give more than I get, then things should take care of themselves.  Worst case, I’ll learn a lot from my experiments, and at least my site should now handle more traffic.

So if you see me fumble and stumble along the way, please bear with me, while I find my wings.

Photo by jurvetson

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27 COMMENTS

  1. JD,
    It’s a good sign, you are breaking through to the dedicated server league! Shared server is in the past.
    Congrats!
    And I like the story – literally making lemonade when the life gives you a lemon – 😀

  2. Yes traffic spikes are a hassle.

    I guess you know about super cache and ways of handling them – you seem much more tech savvy than me.

  3. Hi JD .. I wondered what was going on .. but to clarify your problem you have dealt with it in your usual way: the rule of 3.

    It must have been a little surprising! (to say the least) .. but you’ve been talking up recently – so as you’ve been mentioning perhaps the time has come ..

    Looking forward to the changes and the ‘up’ .. good for you .. cheers for now Hilary

  4. JD, the few hundred dollars a month sucks, but congrats on getting all that traffic! How cool is that?!

  5. Hey JD,

    Congratulations on the traffic spike.
    That is great news!

    Having so much traffic that you have to improve your hosting is never a bad thing 🙂

  6. How about moving to the cloud? Dealing with traffic spikes is one of the main benefits as per your own cloud strategy articles. Is there a reason why that would not work for you here?

  7. @ Alik — It’s a new league, and now I realize the most significant thing is my change in mindset.

    @ Evan — I think the trick now is making the most of my new capacity. Now it’s a chance for me to start bumping up against my new limits.

    @ Fred — Very true, and that’s a way to look on the brigh side.

    @ Lux44 — Thank you. It’s also a reminder that there are other mediums and channels beyond the site.

    @ Joy — Well put, yes, it is the best way to be move 😉

    @ Hilary — It’s blue skies ahead and a brave new world. No matter what changes though, my North star is always to empower people with skills to make the most of what they’ve got.

    @ Bryan — That’s a great outlook and I’m embracing it. One of my friends gave me a very specific challenge that inspired me to take the bull by the horns.

    @ Lance — It’s kind of ironic in that I like to stay low key, but it’s at odds if I want to help as many people as I can. It’s a line I’ll always have to walk.

    @ Daniel — Thank you. It’s definitely forcing me to shift to the economic perspective, which is also a good thing. I do need to think of the business of Sources of Insight and how to make it “earn a living.”

    @ Micha — I’m a fan of “pay for play” and the cloud is perfect for that. The cloud would be perfect for my scenario, and I do hope my hoster moves to the cloud. The cloud is good for consumers.

    @ Jimmy — Those blessing and curse combos are always remind me of the saying, “Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.” 🙂

  8. Hi JD,

    This is excellent news that you got so much traffic for your site. 😉 Keep up the excellent work. You are on the right path…

  9. Hi JD — it sounds like you’ve had some frustration in dealing with server issues, but it also sounds like you recognize this as a “high-quality problem.” I’m glad to hear you acknowledge that you offer value to people — many people don’t feel able to acknowledge that, in my experience, and it can take work to get to the point where owning the value we offer to people feels possible.

  10. @ Dia — Thank you. I expect the path will have lots of bumps that I’ll need to turn into learning opportunities.

    @ Chris — Thank you. A while back a friend of mind said always think of the sapling and the mighty oak. We’re all at different stages in different things, and our experience can help saplings, similarly to how we look to mighty oaks on our journey.

    @ Rochelle — Thank you.

    @ Regis — It’s always an option.

  11. I’m late the congrats, but congrats! You got kicked up to the big leagues and that’s really cool. I can appreciate the pondering about where to go from here (even though you’ve already figured it out for now). It’s exciting and humbling when you can feel life calling you to play bigger.

    Play big, JD!

    This post made me think of Michael Hyatt’s blog. michaelhyatt.com. He’s the Chairman of Thomas Nelson publishers and his blog is serious business.

  12. Great job well done J.D. After reading your post and the way you share with people this is no surprise to me. You are a very giving person and the more we give the more we get. As for you what is wonderful is that you give with an open heart and it doesn’t matter to you if you get back.

    You deserve the traffic and all the success the world has to offer.
    Sorry for the problems it is causing, but I guess with the good sometimes comes a little bad.

    Keep it up and I am sure glad you are better with the technical stuff that me. I would proably be dead in the water for a month. Than I would have to hire the coast guard to fish me out. LOL

    Blessing to you J.D.
    Debbie

  13. @ Angie — Great frame, and I like “play big.”

    Playing at work and playing at life, is a way to keep up the fun factor, while dealing with the challenges that come our way. And fun has a way of bringing out our best.

    @ Debbie — Thank you. I thought it was the type of scenario that only happened to “other people”, and I wouldn’t have to worry about it. Life always has a curve ball up it’s sleeve.

  14. Indeed, a wonderful problem to have! I think a congratulations is in order. I’m sure your pragmatic & scientific mind will make it all work out for the good of all concerned.

  15. @ Rob — Thank you. I can’t help but to think of the Rider and the Elephant, and I really hope my Rider helps unleash the best of my Elephant.

  16. Congratulations are in order – though I am glad it happened to such a smart dude because something like this would probably end my blogging days – and I would not know how to deal with the technical things at all.

    Then again I still do not make enough money to pay for more than I am doing right now either.

    Maybe I should say too I am still working on getting Wise Ears up and running, but with IT Girl writing her thesis right now…it is even slower work…I just changed my focus for awhile

    I think you are still batting well

  17. J. D.

    Interesting! I’m not sure what the difference is between a shared server and a dedicated server beside money since I still enjoy the simplicity of being hosted by wordpress.com

    I haven’t found that people stick around much from stumble upon traffic so it makes me wonder if it’s worth the money to switch to the dedicated server. But you will see in time. Especially if the post keeps stumbling. I have one post that keeps stumbling and it’s been months. So that could happen.

    Whatever happens, I hope you get a high level of interest because your content deserves it.

  18. @ Patricia — Thank you. What I’ve learned is persistence pays off.

    It’s tough to get things right up front. It’s better to experiment and test what works. I’m starting to connect a lot more dots than I could before. With some course correction, I should be able to amplify my traffic and make good use of my new capacity.

    @ Sandra — Thank you. I should be set to soar soon.

    There are definitely some advantages to being on a platform like WordPress.com or blogspot. Now I’m curious what would happen if I was on Sitesell.com. I’ll test that with a project soon.

    On a dedicated server, I don’t compete for resources like CPU, memory, and bandwidth. That means I don’t slow down other sites, and they don’t slow me down.

    My hoster argued it wasn’t just the spike. I was at a couple thousand visitors a day, and creeping to around 3,000 a day. While that might not be a lot in the grand scheme, I’m past their threshold for shared hosting. They consider me a high-traffic site.

  19. hahaha
    i loved the post title JD
    i dont want to sound like promoting something but i tried media temple and they are amazing!! a bit expensive though but i never had hosting problems since i moved my site there

  20. @ Farouk — Thank you. At the end of the day, I’m a believer in you get what you pay for, and quality does cost more. But it sure pays off in the long run.

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