20,000 visitors in 3 hours – The Ashton Kutcher Effect @aplusk ! [video]

About 8 hours ago, Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) tweeted about my post entitled “Reclaiming the Longest Tweet in History at 250 characters!”. I noticed a spike immediately, and the highest number of concurrent users surfing the site was 3000 users! This post is dedicated to show you what you can expect when someone as popular as @aplusk tweets about you.

Ashton Kutcher #1 on Twitter according to wefollow.com

Ashton Kutcher #1 on Twitter according to wefollow.com

Note: at the time of writing, Kutcher was the #1 on twitter.com based on the number of users following him: 2,780,274 followers.

45 minutes after the tweet…

As soon as I was able to think again, it occurred to me, with GetClicky, I can use the “Spy” mode to see how many visitors are surfing the blog in real-time. I was shocked to see that about 10 people where accessing the site per second! The concurrent number of visitors at this point was about 1500!

To share this experience, I took a video screen capture. Watch it below:

The stats 8 hours later…

As expected from a real-time messaging platform like Twitter, the life span of a tweet is not too long. The good thing about twitter is that people Retweet what they like, that definitely gave the traffic a bump up and kept the traffic coming for a longer time.

Within these first hours, the post got about 200 retweets according to BackTweets, and more than 30,000 bit.ly clicks overall!

That’s how the number of uniques go:

  • Hour 1: 10,847 unique users
  • Hour 2: 6,357 unique users
  • Hour 3: 3,475 unique users
  • Hour 4: 2,225 unique users
  • Hour 5: 1,586 unique users
  • Hour 6: 878 unique users
  • Hour 7: 632 unique users
  • Hour 8: 407 unique users

What did we learn? Things to keep in mind…

Twitter drives large numbers of mobile users!

Twitter drives large numbers of mobile users!

If you have a self-hosted blog and you’re trying to get loads of traffic via Digg, Reddit, Twitter or any other social medium, you need to make sure your blog can survive the spike in traffic. In our case, we got 2% failure rate due to database configuration issues (see #3 below):

  1. Make sure you have a powerful server hosting your blog – I’m using MediaTemple Grid Service, it’s quite good in handling traffic, but gives me some weird glitches every once in a while. Upgrading to a dedicated server soon!
  2. Make sure you have the WP Super Cache plugin installed. This plugin serves static copies of your posts without running PHP or connecting to the database, in turn saving your precious CPU cycles and memory usage.
  3. Make sure you have the MySQL my.cnf file variable “max_connections” set to 100 or more. We had it set to 60, but that was not enough!
  4. Consider testing how your blog loads on iPhone, Blackberry, iPod, Android and other phones. We received 12% of the traffic from mobile users!
  5. I’m now considering using CSS Sprites for the blog, which reduces load on the Apache server by delivering all the small images in one image file.
  6. Make sure you have a big and clear retweet button. I don’t need to explain why that’s important. WordPress blog administrators have 2 options that I’m aware of: TweetMeme or BackType Tweetcount.
  7. Always keep an eye on your log files!


Did I miss any points for surviving The Kuther Effect? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Ashton Kutcher's Tweet linking to Thoughtpick

Ashton Kutcher's Tweet linking to Thoughtpick

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