Saturday, March 14, 2009Two recent articles, one in Wired and another one in The Register have brought a lot of traffic to our website. This is great as we love to see more people learn about Scratch!
The bad news is that this traffic spikes are difficult to handle. To put it in perspective, two years ago when Scratch was officially unveiled, we got so much traffic from articles on the BBC, Slashdot and Digg that our website went down for a few hours. We have made a lot of performance tunning since then, however, last week's spike combined with the regular high traffic from a normal day slowed down our website significantly. The numbers from Google Analytics and Quantcast show these spikes:
The issue of scaling is something that has been occupying us for a while. We have considered scalable solutions like AWS, unfortunately, the costs of those services for a non-profit project like Scratch are well beyond our budget. We are currently hosting our website at the MIT Media Lab and while this is basically free, it does comes with a lot of challenges for scalability. We hope that as Scratch gains visibility it might also attract the attention from organizations and individuals that would be willing to support our scalability efforts.
In the meanwhile, we will continue working on improving our site using free technologies, such as memcached, that would allow us to make the best use posisible from the infrastructure we have.