The Slashdot effect
, also known as slashdotting
, occurs when a popular website
A website, also written as Web site, web site, or simply site, is a collection of related web pages containing images, videos or other digital assets. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet...
links to a smaller site, causing a massive increase in traffic. This overloads the smaller site, causing it to slow down or even temporarily close. The name stems from the huge influx of web traffic
Web traffic is the amount of data sent and received by visitors to a web site. It is a large portion of Internet traffic. This is determined by the number of visitors and the number of pages they visit...
that results from the technology news site Slashdot
Slashdot is a technology-related news website owned by Geeknet, Inc. The site, which bills itself as "News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters", features user-submitted and ‑evaluated current affairs news stories about science- and technology-related topics. Each story has a comments section...
linking to websites. The effect has been associated with other websites or metablogs such as Fark
Fark is a community website created by Drew Curtis that allows members to comment on a daily batch of news articles and other items from various websites. As of June 2009, the site boasts approximately four million unique visitors per month, which puts it among the top 100 English language websites...
, Drudge Report
The Drudge Report is a news aggregation website. Run by Matt Drudge with the help of Joseph Curl and Charles Hurt, the site consists mainly of links to stories from the United States and international mainstream media about politics, entertainment, and current events as well as links to many...
reddit is a social news website where the registered users submit content, in the form of either a link or a text "self" post. Other users then vote the submission "up" or "down," which is used to rank the post and determine its position on the site's pages and front page.Reddit was originally...
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as "tweets".Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July...
Digg is a social news website. Prior to Digg v4, its cornerstone function consisted of letting people vote stories up or down, called digging and burying, respectively. Digg's popularity prompted the creation of copycat social networking sites with story submission and voting systems...
, leading to terms such as being Farked
and the Reddit effect
. Typically, less robust sites are unable to cope with the huge increase in traffic and become unavailable – common causes are lack of sufficient data bandwidth, servers
In the context of client-server architecture, a server is a computer program running to serve the requests of other programs, the "clients". Thus, the "server" performs some computational task on behalf of "clients"...
that fail to cope with the high number of requests, and traffic quota
A disk quota is a limit set by a system administrator that restricts certain aspects of file system usage on modern operating systems. The function of using disk quotas is to allocate limited disk space in a reasonable way.-Types of quotas:...
s. Sites that are maintained on shared hosting services often fail when confronted with the Slashdot effect.
Sites such as Slashdot, Digg, Reddit, Stumble-upon and Fark consist of brief submitted stories
and a self-moderated discussion on each story. The typical submission introduces a news item or website of interest by linking
In computing, a hyperlink is a reference to data that the reader can directly follow, or that is followed automatically. A hyperlink points to a whole document or to a specific element within a document. Hypertext is text with hyperlinks...
to it. In response, large masses of readers tend to simultaneously rush to view the referenced sites. The ensuing flood of page requests from readers can exceed the site's available bandwidth or the ability of its servers to respond, and render the site temporarily unreachable.
Major news sites or corporate websites are typically engineered to serve large numbers of requests and therefore do not normally exhibit this effect. Websites that fall victim may be hosted on home servers, offer large images or movie files or have inefficiently generated dynamic content (e.g. many database hits for every web hit even if all web hits are requesting the same page). These websites often become unavailable within a few minutes of a story's appearance, even before any comments have been posted. Occasionally, paying Slashdot subscribers (who have access to stories before non-paying users) have rendered a site unavailable even before the story is posted for the general readership.
Few definitive numbers exist regarding the precise magnitude of the Slashdot effect, but estimates put the peak of the mass influx of page requests at anywhere from several hundred to several thousand hits per minute. The flood usually peaks when the article is at the top of the site's front page and gradually subsides as the story is superseded by newer items. Traffic usually remains at elevated levels until the article is pushed off the front page, which can take from 12 to 18 hours after its initial posting. However, some articles have significantly longer lifetimes due to the popularity, newsworthiness, or interest in the linked article.
By 2005, reporters were commenting that the Slashdot effect had been diminishing. However, there have been subsequent reports of the effect being seen on Twitter when some popular twitterers mention a website.
When the targeted website has a community-based structure, the term can also refer to the secondary effect of having a large group of new users suddenly set up accounts and start to participate in the community. While in some cases this has been considered a good thing, in others it is viewed with disdain by the prior members, as quite often the sheer number of new people brings many of the unwanted aspects of Slashdot along with it, such as trolling, vandalism
Vandalism is the behaviour attributed originally to the Vandals, by the Romans, in respect of culture: ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable...
, and newbie
Newbie or noob is a slang term for a novice or newcomer, or somebody inexperienced in any profession or activity. Contemporary use can particularly refer to a beginner or new user of computers, often concerning Internet activity, such as online gaming or Linux use...
Assistance and prevention
Many solutions have been proposed for sites to deal with the Slashdot effect.
Slashdot does not mirror
In computing, a mirror is an exact copy of a data set. On the Internet, a mirror site is an exact copy of another Internet site.Mirror sites are most commonly used to provide multiple sources of the same information, and are of particular value as a way of providing reliable access to large downloads...
the sites it links to on its own servers, nor does it endorse a third party solution. Mirroring of content may constitute a breach of copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...
and, in many cases, cause ad revenue to be lost for the targeted site.
There are several systems that automatically mirror any Slashdot-linked pages to ensure that the content remains available even if the original site becomes unresponsive. Sites in the process of being Slashdotted may be able to mitigate the effect by temporarily redirecting requests for the targeted pages to one of these mirrors.