Receiving the Reddit "hug of death"

The Internet is cool. But sometimes it’s unpredictable and just downright bizarre.

This week, one of our clients, sine.com, was posted on the popular social news website, Reddit. Tens of thousands of page views started pouring in and we saw their DNS traffic shoot up… way up. Yes, they were experiencing the dreaded Reddit “hug of death”.

Here is the original Reddit thread that sparked the interest. Three hours later, someone linked to sine.com and users started clicking.

Within just 3 hours, sine’s traffic peaked and began leveling off:


Interestingly, DNS traffic looks very different from the server’s actual bandwidth usage:


This is a result of several variables, especially DNS resolver caching.

While interesting to visualize, the “hug of death” posed no threat. Sine.com relies on NSONE to handle these huge traffic spikes and give their viewers quick DNS answers.

In the end, sine maintains its course and continues to serve the Internet with a continuous stream of random images. Godspeed.

Big thanks to sine.com for allowing us to use their traffic stats and providing bandwidth graphs.