Oh My Gaw… Traffic traffic and more traffic, resurrecting our servers… or why you should use Rackspace Cloud over Heroku

So we have successfully dealt with our biggest traffic spike so far. Thousands of unique visitors to RetroGiftsCo today and still climbing.

I almost fainted when I logged into Google analytics at about 10 AM this morning. Well actually, first I thought my eyes were deceiving me. I kind of giggled at my screen, woah, guess I need another cup of coffee. Then I checked the real-time analytics. There were 80 people on the site at that MOMENT.

Elation quickly turned to PANIC when I checked the site. No response. It’s down! Oh no! It didn’t scale after all… OMG what am I going to do now… all these people going to our site and there’s nothing there…

Tried to calm myself. With trembling fingers I managed to remember all my passcodes and logins to get into the rackspace cloud server manager. I’m a bit of a newb sysadmin so I didn’t hold much hope that I could fix this.

Ok… Hosting > Cloud Servers > Server ID …

My finger hovered over the Resize button. What if I screw this up!? What if it wipes my server?! I’m not at home, I can’t deploy another build from this computer… oh geez, well anything is better than a blank screen, even a 404. Shit. Threw some more RAM on there and upped the processor speed. SHIT SHIT. Clicked OK before I could talk myself out of it.

I sweated at my desk for about a minute. The Rackspace dashboard told me everything I needed to know. They were preparing the new server… shutting down my old one (OH JESUS CHRIST)… migrating the data to the new one (HELP ME) and turning it on…

and then it said,

Please verify your new resized server by logging in and making sure everything works.

OK, Rackspace. I really hope you have my back.

I pulled up the site… and it blazed onto the screen! OH YES! OH THANK YOU! OMG THANK YOU!!!!!

So that’s it, that’s my story. But basically, I just want to add some anecdotal evidence to the contention that managing your own servers ain’t such a bad thing. Despite many being in LOVE with Heroku, I’ve also heard a lot of bad stuff, mostly about downtime. While the idea of having your server all set up for you on a server platter sounds really good initially, I really did not have too much difficulty setting up my rackspace cloud server while making sure I have all the control I need. Haven’t had a lick of downtime except once at 2am, and it was for like a minute. Plus, it’s cheap.

And did I mention? My new speedy server is performing admirably. Traffic has died down a little bit but there are currently 33 people on the site as we speak, and they are all clicking around a lot (hows about a <20% bounce rate? Oh yea, average user has 6 pageviews, you like them apples??!) and the site looks pretty damn good. PHEW. P.S. Gotta thank the lovely KIM KOMANDO, for featuring us as her “Cool Site of the Day”, which is why we are enjoying this nice spike. Thanks Kim! 😀

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