Getting Seriously Dugg

Wow.

On Wednesday, I wrote a story about my friend Jo’s 18-year-old computer mouse. It got a bunch of hits.

On Thursday, I realized it might be of interest to Mac users, so I submitted it to MacSurfer’s Headline News, not sure if they’d pick it up since it was already about a day old. I’m not sure, but I think they did. Throughout the day, I the piece got another 2000 or so hits — which is pretty standard for my posts listed on MacSurfer.

Somewhere in the middle of the day, the story got Dugg. By the time I realized it, it had 17 Diggs. That is a huge amount for any of my posts. My site doesn’t usually attract the Digg crowd for reasons I can’t fully comprehend. (I’m not sure what the Digg crowd is looking for and assume I just don’t deliver it.) I mentioned it on Twitter and got a handful more Diggs. But certainly not enough to get it on Digg Home page or even anyplace it might be noticed. By the time I called it quits for the day, it had 34 Diggs and about 4,000 hits. Cool, I thought.

This morning, I sensed trouble when I attempted to check my Web site. I got a 503: Temporarily Unavailable error. I figured that my ISP must be doing some maintenance. I tried a few times more. On the third try, I got through.

And saw that according to the WP-UserOnline plugin, I had 225 people online. At once.

This was mind boggling. One of the limitations of my hosting account is 50 concurrent hits to my MySQL database at once. That database is shared between 3 sites. I’d had MySQL errors before during peak times. I have a sneaking suspicion that my ISP may have removed that limitation. Which would be a great thing.

I think.

I Made the Digg Home PageThe 18-year-old mouse post had 10,000+ hits and 485 Diggs at 5:35 AM MST. But by the time I got to the Digg Home page — and found my post at the very bottom of the page, as shown here — it had 500 Diggs. So that means 15 more Diggs in less than 5 minutes. And another 23 Diggs in the time it took to write this. Egads!

Meanwhile, W3Counter, which I use to get hit stats for the site, reports over 7,000 visitors for today. I’m assuming that they use GMT rather than my local time. That would make it 11 hours rather than just 6. I cannot imagine more than 1,000 hits an hour.

Now if you’re saying “What’s the big deal?” you obviously don’t find these numbers as impressive as I do. You need to understand that this is a relatively unknown, limited-interest site. On a good day, I’d get 1400 hits from 1200 visitors. Today is off the chart — and it has just started.

And I’m worried. Worried about bandwidth usage. I’ve never used more than 10% of my total monthly capacity, but I’ve also never had what could turn out to be a 20,000 hit day. Worried about people who want to visit the site and can’t because of those darn 503 Error messages (I just got one again). Or, worse yet, worried about people who want to visit additional pages on the site and can’t because of those darn 503 error messages. After all, the site’s got a lot more to it than a story about an 18-year-old computer mouse finally crapping out.

So it’ll be interesting to see how today plays out. I assume the post will fall off Digg’s home page sometime soon and the flood of visitors will stop. Things will get back to normal. But until then, I’ll need to worry just a little.

And wonder whether getting seriously Dugg is a good thing.

What do you think?