Hacker News Server Melt


So yesterday was interesting. To say the least. On whim I submitted Alana.io to YC’s Hacker News (one of my daily go-to sites) with the super user friendly title “New cc0 stock photo site” (sarcasm alert). Didn’t think much about it as there are probably millions of submissions every day. Went to grab a cup of coffee but then noticed my Google Analytics real time screen spiking. I quickly checked Hacker News again and saw we had quickly climbed to the first page! Awe…some?

Now, I’m sure we’ve all heard stories about how, as a website gets written up in Techcrunch for example, the site goes dark because the servers can’t handle it. Now, I used to imagine people running around screaming, trails of server smoke, electrical fires with alarms blazing in the background….well reality is (fortunately) slightly less dramatic. The site did slow down and even go offline for a short while (and a user was nice enough to send a screenshot) but all in all things quickly snapped back and we were back in business. Or fun. Or whatever you want to call it. So, overall I think my old, long time server actually held out pretty well under pressure. Server melt due to excessive concurrent users? Check that off my bucket list.

I did notice a few comments questioning the requirement for email addresses when downloading a photo. Its a totally fair question and one I want to clarify. The email does not automatically subscribe you to spam or any kind of mailing list. The email is there to send you the photo, by email. In retrospect it does seems like an overkill but may make more sense when you see the add-ons we have planned in the future. The main reason though is, when I was deciding how to get a MVP up quickly, I went with WordPress as a back end + Easy Digital Download to host content on Amazon S3. They had a cool “Free Download” plugin which seemed like a good idea at the time but unfortunately has a built in emails box.

I realize now how odd it might seem to folks so we are working on putting another popup box in place that will allow users to select “Download immediately” or “Send to email” (at which time the photo will be emailed to you).

I hope this clarifies things a bit. Please be patient. We are lean team (But hiring! Reach out at info@alana.io). Overall the feedback was great, super exciting and we really appreciate the votes. Thanks!



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