How a legal blog survived traffic tidal wave after court's healthcare ruling


As 10 a.m. EDT approached, the system began being put to the test. At 10:03, the site was handling 1,000 requests per second. By 10:04 it had reached 800,000 total page views. That number climbed to 1 million by 10:10, and by 10:30 the site had received 2.4 million hits.

Because of the satellite caching, Mallory says, the site was loading faster during peak traffic than it ever had before. In post-mortem reviews, Sound Strategies engineers said they found evidence of two DDoS attacks, one at 9:45 a.m. and another at 10 a.m., which the servers were able to absorb.

"We built this fortress that was used basically for two hours that morning," Mallory says. "It worked and it never slowed down."

Since the healthcare decision, SCOTUSblog has seen higher-than-normal traffic, but nowhere near the 5 million page views the site amassed on the biggest day in the blog's history.

"It was a roller coaster," Mallory says. "You can have the best analysis, the fastest, most accurate reporting, but if your website crashes and no one can see it that moment, it doesn't matter."

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