Mac Musings

The Slashdot Effect

Dan Knight - 2001.12.20
updated 12.21

Talk about bringing in traffic - thanks to a note from Anne Onymus, Slashdot posted a link to Linux Lies at 7:47 a.m. Thursday. We had 4,000 hits on the linked article by 9:00 a.m., over 7,000 by 10.00 a.m., and more than 10,000 by 11.00 a.m. Overall we had almost 7,000 visitors from Slashdot by 11 o'clock in the morning, so the other 3,000 readers came from other links.

Thursday site traffic
You can tell just when Slashdot linked.

This is called the Slashdot effect, something we experienced when they linked to Anne's piece, Apple Ditching G4, in August 2000. The Slashdot effect has brought servers to their knees, but ours seems to be holding up nicely.

There are other aspects to the Slashdot effect. About 7-10% of these visitors click through to one or more links to other pages on our site, such as our earlier article about WebSideStory, the Rumor Mill home page (Slashdot provided that link), and so on.

A side effect - probably our first ever link from Linux Today, which has brought another 750 visitors to Low End Mac as of 11.00 a.m.

Another interesting tidbit is how many of today's visitors use Linux. As we noted yesterday, Linux users make up 1.1-1.5% of site traffic in a given month. This morning, we were at 14.1% Linux users, 51.4% Windows, and a paltry 25.0% Mac (down from the usual 42-46% level). As of 11.00 a.m., 3,200 Linux users had surfed over to read our article about the Linux share of the Web.

If things keep going at this rate, with an additional 3-4,000 hits per hour, we'll sail past our record of 37,601 hits (set on Sept. 25, 2001) by 2:00 p.m.

Which makes me wonder, how many Linux visitors will WebSideStory get today?

UPDATE: at 2:00 p.m., we'd served 37,439 pages today, including the Linux Lies article 16,509 times, and the earlier article about WebSideStory 746 times. Total visits from Slashdot were 10,883, and visits from Linux today were up to 1,775. Total pages served to Linux machines reached 5,616, representing 17.9% of total traffic. We've also been linked on NewsForge.

As of 4:00 p.m., our log indicates we've served 44,444 pages since midnight. Linux Lies has been served up 18,796 times, and 12,122 visitors have come here from Slashdot - 35.8% of today's traffic! Linux Today has sent 2,147 visitors to our site. Linux users represent 14.8% of all site traffic at 6,541 pages as of 4:00 p.m.

By the end of the Thursday, we'd broken all traffic records to the site: 61,257 pages served in a single day, 29,943 distinct hosts served, 23,012 hits on a single page, 14,365 visitors from a single site, and 5,355 pages served in a single hour.

We ended the day with 13.6% of our traffic coming from Linux users (16.0% for all *nix variants combined), 50.6% Windows, 27.3% Mac, and 6.0% other and unknown. A total of 8,304 Linux machines accessed our site during the day.

Month-to-date our traffic shows 2.5% Linux (3.4% *nix), 41.3% Windows, 44.2% Mac, and 11.1% unknown and other. This compares with the 1.3% Linux, 39.6% Windows, and 44.9% Mac levels we noted in Wednesday's article.

By the end of the day traffic was still up about 10-20% over normal levels.

That's some powerful effect - and we weren't even the primary link in that Slashdot article.

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Dan Knight has been using Macs since 1986, sold Macs for several years, supported them for many more years, and has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. If you find Dan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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