The Fake News 404

As everyone waited with baited breath for the results of President Donald Trump’s ‘Fake News Awards’ it appears that no one at GOP headquarters could imagine the high web traffic spikes that would soon occur.

Donald Trump tweeted a link to the GOP website however it quickly turned from fake news to no news when the site crashed within seconds of the tweet being posted.

Website visitors were greeted with the message ‘The site is temporarily offline, we are working to bring it back up. Please try back later’. Donald Trump himself has been less forgiving about website failures, tweeting in 2013; “When a complex website is broken the best thing to do is blow it up and start again – then sue the culprits and use the proper team!”.

Website 404, Intechnica, TrafficDefender, Donald Trump, Fake News, Website Downtime, website crash, queuing, automated traffic, bots


So why did the single-page static website crash in a matter of seconds? It could be due to a number of reasons, according to the Republican Party their spokesperson said, “Tonight, [the Republican Party website] saw more traffic than ever before. Even though the servers were scaled up, the interest was even greater than anticipated. Traffic is off the charts. Come back soon.”

The huge spike in traffic could be the primary contributing factor. However, many organisations fail to understand what traffic consists of. In 2016, non-human web traffic overtook the amount of human based traffic. A large proportion of web traffic is sometimes made up of what is known as ‘Content Scrapers’. These bots are programmed to scan websites and copy all content and repost it on other sites, increasing the traffic to their site and improving SEO at the detriment to the original legitimate site.

Without insight into their web traffic, due to the nature of the news announcement the Republican National Committee website may have been victim to both automated non-human traffic and human traffic contributing to the spike in traffic.

Reporter Tweet on Donald Trump website crash

Of course, this isn’t the only website to crash due to high traffic, even large eCommerce sites with powerful infrastructure can crash due to spikes in traffic. No matter how much money in spent on infrastructure, when demand outweighs capacity systems crash and downtime occurs.

If the Fake News awards have inspired you to review your own website, Intechnica can help you optimise your website performance to maximise your revenue. That’s news you can be sure isn’t fake.