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Stephen Hawkings’ Thesis Makes University of Cambridge’s Website Crash

24th October 2017

Stephen Hawkings’ PhD thesis caused The University of Cambridge’s website to crash when it was made freely available online for the first time.

 

Properties of Expanding Universes attracted thousands of physics fans to the university website after it was uploaded late on Monday night making the entire website crash intermittently.

The thesis he wrote aged 24 attracted over 60,000 web hits within 24 hours – traffic comparable to popular music festival tickets going on sale, or a Black Friday based retail event.

Commenting on its demand Stephen Hawking said: “It’s wonderful to hear how many people have already shown an interest in downloading my thesis – hopefully they won’t be disappointed now that they finally have access to it.”

Scientific journals typically attract fewer than 100 views each month. The surge in website traffic for Stephen Hawkings’ thesis is somewhat unusual but can be explained by the Physicist’s popularity and the previous £65 price tag for a digital copy.

Peak traffic hits websites in the education sector at other times such as when results are announced, university clearing and when applications for car parking spaces are released. This can cause websites to slow down or crash, leaving students, staff and prospective students frustrated.

Website Crash domino push

Even the biggest online companies, with the most powerful and vast amount of infrastructure, still succumb to website downtime due to peaks in traffic, remember when the new Marks and Spencer website crashed it annoyed their customers so much they threatened to boycott the brand.

No matter how much infrastructure you put in place when demand outweighs capacity systems crash, sites go down, customers are left frustrated, brand reputation is damaged and potential revenue is lost.

A solution which doesn’t require scaling up the infrastructure is TrafficDefender. The industry leading queue management system that:

  • Enables you to make informed decisions about how to handle traffic with accurate bot detection.
  • Reacts instantly when a spike in traffic hits, guaranteeing 100% web application uptime.
  • Grants website access to users in a fair manner when resource is available.

With TrafficDefender website visitors are kept informed with customisable waiting pages that can reinforce brand messaging and nothing can compromise stability and uptime.

Had The University of Cambridge implemented TrafficDefender they would have prevented the whole website from crashing while still providing access to the thesis. If your business plans to drive more traffic to your website, consider whether you can afford to do so without a website traffic management solution.

 

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