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How To Stress Test Your Website? Invite the Pope to Visit !

Sep 26th 2015

Two of our long time customers that are responsible for, Radha Nagaraja, Dir. Software Development and Marc Cima, CTO contacted us about 10 days ago to inform us that they would be having a major event on September 25th that may stress the website and wanted to know what we could do to help. The website had to stay up and perform perfectly as they would be streaming a live event featuring Pope Francis’s visit. I let them know that we had immense processing power and bandwidth at their disposal, the problem is, many customers don’t take full advantage of our resources and cache enough content with us. I recommended they read a past blog article entitled “How to use a CDN properly and make your website faster”

In essence if they followed these 2 easy steps they would not have any performance problems and we could easily handle 100’s of millions of requests for them.

The 2 steps:
1) Define all of’s URI’s that should not be cached (ie./shopping_cart).
2) Then apply caching and/or forced caching for 10 minutes or more on everything else.

Radha sent us a list of approximately 15 URI’s that should not be cached. We entered these into their configuration specifying “No Cache”, then applied a mix of “caching” and “Forced Caching”, forced caching allows our system to over ride any cache-control headers on the specified URI’s or file extensions and cache that content for a specified time period.

**The key here is, to have cache-control headers that allows our service, which acts like a CDN to actually cache the content or apply “forced Caching”.

The morning of September 25th arrives and our Operations group is on high alert and so am I, especially after making some bold statements about our capabilities. Three hours prior to the Pope’s arrival, there is a small layer 7 DDoS attack, it is quickly dispatched without effect. Is this going to be one of those days, I think to myself.

The Pope arrives at 11:00 eastern and website visitors start ramping up. Although the actual live streaming is done by Youtube via a link inside the website the rest of the website is served up by our service.

In the end the whole event went off without any issues and everyone was happy.

Here are some stats taken from our dashboard during the Pope’s visit.
Almost a million unique IPs on the website.


At its peak we were only sending 10 Req./Sec to their backend servers as the vast majority of requests were being handled by our system.

89% of content was being cached

911Memorial Cache

A special thanks to Radha Nagaraja, Marc Cima and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum for allowing us to post this piece.

Mark Teolis, CEO
DOSarrest Internet Security

Added By : Mark Teolis

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