Rick Falkvinge’s website Falkvinge.net recently frontpaged reddit.
Actually, in the default setup, he had three articles, (#16, #22, #24), which, as he says, is a record for him.
Why is this a big deal? Well with reddit being Alexa-ranked 133 and getting about 8.7 million visitors every day, being on the front page 3 times at once, means you’re going to get a lot of traffic in a relatively short space of time. Think of 3 phone numbers being read out concurrently on 3 TV stations that all point to the same call centre – that’s falkvinge.net
This is pretty much a nightmare scenario to prepare for from a systems administration point of view as you have to prepare for lots of traffic in a short window of time. In addition, with social media, you don’t have the foggiest clue how popular something is going to be – something posted to reddit is much more likely not to generate much traffic or a smallish amount of traffic than it is to cripple your webserver, so you actually need to be constantly prepared for lots of traffic in a short window of time.
Stats for the 24 hours when I had 3 articles on Reddit’s front: 421 gigs of data served, 21.7M HTTP requests, peak 630 reqs/sec
Rick has a somewhat customised WordPress setup with the W3 Total Cache plugin on the latest version of Ubuntu, probably definitely with Apache from what I can tell. It’s anyone’s best guess what hardware it’s running on (UPDATE: this is the hardware he’s running). Fairly standard as far as I can see – it’s mainly static content and not outrageously interactive or personalised. There are some images, but they don’t form the main part of the site.
Again, I could not have survived that traffic peak without @CloudFlare (see previous tweet)
Rick’s solution to the problem is to the “cloud” Infrastructure-As-A-Service provider Cloudflare, which is essentially is a caching reverse proxy/CDN combined with a Distributed DNS service. What this means in practice is that they’re able to use Cloudflare to handle these unexpected large peaks in traffic without changing their infrastructure.
Using a blackbox called Cloudflare to scale one’s website is all very well, but doesn’t suit everyone and presents an interesting sysadmin challenge:
How would you build a setup for a simple-ish WordPress instance, like Rick’s, to cope with the levels of traffic he mentions?
…in Sweden we have the first political party, that, if you like, is allying itself with a particular age group – the Pirate Party.
I don’t think this is true. I mean sure, in Sweden there’s a political party called the Pirate Party, but it’s hardly focused on a specific age group.
Let me explain: actually, there are Pirate Parties in over 40 countries, inspired by the Swedes. In Germany, I was there for the run up to an election which saw the German Pirate Party get 14 seats in the State Parliament. So whilst Sweden was where the movement started and has had some success, (Sweden is represented in the European Parliament by two Pirate Party MEPs), the concept is hardly isolated.
In the UK, we have a Pirate Party. If you’ve read this blog before, you may have noticed that I’m currently the Education Spokesperson and that I contested the parliamentary seat of Manchester Gorton in the 2010 General Election.
I think it’s also worth thinking about the other point that Keri made; is the Pirate Party allying itself specifically with a certain age group? Rick Falkvinge – the founder of the Pirate Party movement – puts forward an interesting explanation:
As Rick says, “it’s a little bit more than that; let us explain” and I hope this post has helped people to understand and clarify the original statement.
Originally posted on the Pirate Party website.
Tim Dobson – Pirate Party UK Education Spokesperson:
On Sunday I was in Germany watching the Pirate Party movement making history again. The Pirate Party entered the Berlin State Parliament, gaining 14 seats after polling almost 9% of the vote. At the same time the liberal FDP, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, crashed out, with only 1.9%. Pirate Party UK is inspired by the hard work of all the activists that made this result possible and sends its warmest congratulations.
Pirate Party Germany’s success shows our movement’s ideas have a broad appeal and platform. Despite smears from a clearly rattled opposition during the election campaign, the Berlin Pirates showed they have a lot to offer on education, business, representative democracy and social policy. Equally, the people of Berlin have realised that it is about time that their politicians understand the Internet better.
This result shows that the desire for a new politics and digital rights fit for the 21st century continues to grow throughout Europe. As Rick Falkvinge, Pirate Party Sweden founder put it, “We fight for civil liberties together, shoulder to shoulder, and we succeed together.”
I was lucky to get an insight into the Pirate’s campaign from the inside, their innovative poster designs and campaign slogans – ‘Ask your children why they vote for the Pirate Party’, clearly captured the imagination of the people of Berlin.
I had a great meeting with Andreas Baum, one of the 14 Pirates who will be taking up seats in the state parliament. He showed to me their ‘Glazenmobil’, a trailer with a glass wall containing a mock up of a typical front room. Their message was that instead of transparent private lives, there should be transparent politics.
In Britain, where cities are in danger of being left behind in global competition and held back by outdated political masters, the Pirate Party will continue making its case for change. We will be following in our German partners success with new candidates and a more comprehensive policy platform.
Pirate Party UK
+44 (0) 161 987 7880