Thought I’d share this portrait of my holidays….
This is why we’re a bit slack about posts of the Xmas-New year period. At various times over the last five end of years we’ve tried having lot of posts, few posts, and at the end of 2011 we mostly had OpenMike (and the least drop in visitor numbers – looks like people like making their own fun). The pattern always looks much the same.
Page views start falling through December with visit numbers dropping a lot less (people read pages fewer times), then abruptly drop just before the 25th. The 25th is invariably the worst day of the year. We get a spike a few days after Christmas day as people realize there is nothing much to do. But then they sink back into a summer turpitude until work is inflicted upon them again (ie about now) when our page views start rising rapidly. Then it becomes worthwhile writing posts again.
Nice for me. It means that there is one part of the year that I can safely move servers without doing the allnighters.
The primary server has been moved out into the offshore cloud far away from the expensive costs of having to pay for the costs of the Southern Cross cable monopoly. The ~5% of our traffic from human readers offshore wasn’t a problem. However the searchbots (most recently the bloody bingbot) and spambots causing us to exceed our “free” datacap on overseas traffic. This was $3/GB when we started on the old server and is now $1/GB.
However it has cost us thousands of dollars in variable per GB charges since I moved the server back to NZ in 2011. Does nasty things to the site’s operating budget. For instance in November it cost $103 extra because the Bing searchbot tried to read the entire site including every comment link. They nearly did a million page views in November and 600k in December. The really irritating thing is that we get very few incoming searches from Bing. I’ve now constrained Bing to a more limited diet.
But now the server is back offshore, I can budget without those dratted gouging variable costs from the Southern Cross cable monopoly. Because of the cloudflare content delivery network I don’t need dedicated servers any more. We were heading up to the main server straining on 30-40% of the available processing power prior to using cloudflare. These days the same server seldom uses more than 10%. So in doing the shift we sould drop the size of server required and the base cost of running a server has dropped dramatically. And that is despite the ever increasing numbers of visitors, comments, and page views over the last two years.
So my current limit is set at 800GB per month for all traffic and I’ll review if I need to lift that later this month.