How Reddit and Hacker News Took Down My Blog, and How I Got It Back Up

When I was writing my article about NameCheap out ranking Go Daddy in Google  for the key term “domain name,” I knew it would draw significant interest from NameCheap’s enthusiastic customers, but I had no idea how much traffic that would mean.  As soon as I saw a few vote ups on Hacker News, I knew my blog was going to be hit with a sh*tload of traffic.

On a typical day where I write one to three articles, my blog draws anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500 visitors, give our take. Shortly after posting the NameCheap article, my blog was receiving dozens of visits a minute. In addition to the Hacker News vote ups, the article was voted up in the technology section of Reddit, which drew even more visits.

By late afternoon, my blog’s server (a VPS from Liquid Web with just one site) was struggling to keep up and had severe lag. When my server went down, I contacted Liquid Web to see if there was something they could do. Luckily, they have 24/7 support, and they were able to help me. Technical support staff explained that with the Smart VPS I had, I could re-size my server, allowing it to function smoothly despite the surge in traffic. They immediately re-sized the server for me, and within 30 minutes, it was back up and running without any problems or lag.

The nicest thing about the Smart VPS was that I could downgrade as soon as the traffic subsided, allowing me to pay only a pro-rated amount based on the amount of time at the upgraded level.

One other thing I learned from this experience is that if I expect to receive an onslaught of traffic to my blog, I can proactively re-size the server in advance, to avoid any downtime during a huge traffic spike. I really appreciate Liquid Web’s support and assistance, and I am glad I am using the Smart VPS.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Elliot, I would love to see a graph or chart of the traffic spike. I had one article hit the first page of Hacker News on one of my blogs once. I got around 10,000 visitors on the first day, 8,000 the following day, and dozens of inbound links.

    Hacker News has to be the best tech community on the internet. The discussions there are always insightful and intelligent.

  2. I’ve been on there lately talking a lot about expired domain names and making money with them. I’m glad to see you’re getting noticed and the article you posted got attention.

    The domain industry is still in it’s infancy and for Reddit to notice is a good thing.

    Also, what Puranjay said is correct. You will get trolls every once in a while but other than that he’s dead on.

    Keep up the great work!

  3. This is why I use MediaTemple. I am not a shill I promise. My old blog received 80,000 to 150,000 A DAY when it was number one story on digg and reddit. I used to get this a few times and a few times hit a million visits a month. Media Temple held firm and had overflow just in case of these spikes. Things have changed a little bit and I’ve heard they are not as strong as they used to be. I don’t have that kind of traffic anymore but your host should always take care of you, regardless of traffic pattern. And Elliot, glad to hear you got some good traffic. I remember the old days when I would just stare at the screen looking at the crazy numbers coming through. I always had trouble monetizing social media traffic but it wasn’t about the money at the time. And social media traffic hates ads anyway.

  4. The one downside to LW is that it can take a bit of downtime to to re-size the server. The lesson for me is that the night before a big story (if I am afforded the time to wait), I will re-size it and be ready for the additional traffic.

  5. @Elliot

    The problem is that some stories just pick up steam when you least expect it. You can’t really plan ahead for all of them.

    I’d much rather spend an extra few bucks on hosting than greet my visitors with a broken site during traffic spikes.

  6. @ Puranjay

    The plan that got me through it is much more expensive. Why pay thousands of dollars extra per year for the once or twice it’s an issue? The server kept up for a while and then crapped out after 15k or so visits. Not too shabby.

  7. i’m already on reddit…. i need to get a blog. even if i only got a million vistors i could put up an ad and then when people clicked on it… that would be money in my pocket. even if it was only two people a month… after six months i could buy a snickers bar. i try to stay away from sugar but i love snickers bars. i am not an employee of M&M mars and they have not paid me to make this post.

  8. Rich people’s problems. :p

    Congrats Elliot, always great to have recognition from the likes of Reddit / HackerNews – even if it must have created some heartburn during the downtime.

    Pretty interesting ‘daily billing’ that LW offers, never seen at any other host, even we do upgrades / downgrades only monthly at best.

  9. Elliot,

    30 minutes of downtime to resize your VPS server?

    Normally this takes 2-3 minutes, tops, to change the resource pool and stop/start the VPS (if required).

    Yes, it’s a good idea to plan in advance next time, though.

    – Richard

  10. Elliot,

    Can u share url for ‘hacker news’ you referred to above, as when i went to ‘’ it didnt look at all what i expected, and another google of ‘hacker news’ gave me an rss feed to ycombinator, also not what i expected


    keep up the great blog

  11. It sounds like Smart VPS has great customer service. Businesses stand to lose a lot of traffic and profit when their online sites crash, and so it’s important for domain hosts to address these kinds of problems efficiently.

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