Here’s what happens when you get on the front page of Digg

Front page of Digg

A number of things happen when one of your blog articles reaches the front page of Digg.

1/ Your server crashes due to the high load

500 server error

2/ You get an e-mail* from your host company’s abuse department:


We need to inform you that we had to send out our abuse team to impose some additional limits on the system resources usage for your account. These measures have been taken in order to cease a very high load on the server hosting Your site is listed at (, which in particular caused the high server load.

To be more specific, we have:

– limited the number of processes your site can run at a time to 5

– assigned one of our team to keep a close eye on your account at all times

We have to ensure that any such high loads will not affect the covert operation of our server. For your information any high server load could affect the performance of all the other web sites hosted on the same machine.

Yours abusively,

Vassily Romanov

Abuse Team

3/ You receive a ton of negative comments on Digg:

“crap sandwich of an article”


“the article offers nothing”

“a really pointless article”

4/ You become paranoid about your own design skills

5/ You think about a career change

But what’s more…

6/ You don’t even get a t-shirt!

No Digg t-shirt

In saying all that, I am extremely grateful for those of you who ‘dugg’ my article and left positive / constructive comments, both on my blog and on Digg. Thank you kindly.

Now, I’m off to write a proper article about logos (not like these past logo design articles I’ve written).

*Some words in the e-mail may have been changed for effect.

46 responses

  1. It might suck at the time, but I’m sure there are more people like me who found your blog, enjoyed the article and bookmarked your site cause they appreciate quality content.

  2. I love the idea behind Digg – the kind of democratically elected news reel where respected articles get prominence over crap articles…

    However, the people that use Digg are, generally, a bunch of whinging moaners who love nothing better than to destruct and abuse the articles and authors that their peers have voted for in the first place.

    AND… Every other article that makes it onto the front page is a list – top 10 this, top 20 that – which isn’t news at all, but rather a bunch of rehashed lists I have already seen many times.

    It’s kind of depressing as it highlights that in a democracy, the masses don’t actually know what they’re talking about.

  3. TPB, I’ve just returned from the Scottish Parliament buildings. How did you know?

    Brad, I’m glad you thought the article (and my site) was worth bookmarking. Thanks for visiting.

    Goldcoaster, Aaron, I agree that there are a lot of ridiculous comments from some people on Digg. The site itself is a great idea, and for all the negative comments around my ‘dugg’ article there were a few that got me really thinking.

  4. I have to admit, I have a preference for posts that share personal blogging experiences such as this one. Thanks David.

    Surviving the Digg effect is a very interesting topic for bloggers. Stark over at recently posted some suggestions about how-to survive the Digg effect that might help anyone anticipating a Digg traffic rush.

    One thing I am wondering is whether getting dugg to the front page of Digg is actually worth it in the long run? In the short term David was flagged by his host provider as an “abusive account.” Is there lasting negative fall out for being flagged as such? Also, the short term spike was great for traffic; however, how many return readers does a blog pick up from such exposure? I enjoy Digg myself and routinely read the highly dugg articles; however, once I read the article, I rarely, if ever, bookmark the site for return visits. Most blogs I routinely visit, such as this one, I have found through other means and not Digg. Is Digg everything it’s cracked to be for bloggers?

  5. Yeh, its annoying when your server crashes because of the amount of traffic you get from digg.

    When i posted an article from my blog on digg, it got 18 diggs and i had 700 page views from digg, so its amazing how many people look at the story but dont digg it.

    Also, how many page hits did you get from digg?

    And just to say, i really like your blog. Its got a really nice layout.

  6. It’s nice to read your thoughts on this, Bret.

    I doubt my host provider will black mark me for the high load (at least they shouldn’t). My ‘reader count’ in the top right has almost doubled, but I know that after a few days it’ll settle back down to normal. If I’ve picked up another couple of readers on the way then I think it’s a bonus. One reader at a time – that’s what I beleive in.

    Andy, you can still see the article on Digg’s homepage now. At least at the time of writing this. The current Digg count is 1038.

    Thanks for the compliment on my blog layout. A big thanks goes to Brian Gardner for his Vertigo theme.

  7. Congrats! The good news is that the bum users from Digg never stick around longer then one hit, but for a long time I’ve been a detractor of the people using the site. Surprisingly the main use of the site remains intact despite these people, so that’s a good thing.

  8. Dawud, I’m not sure how long it took. It happened during about 18 hours when I was away from my computer.

    My site has been periodically giving a ‘500 server error’ all day. A simple refresh seems to clear it up which’ll do for the short-term until traffic’s back to normal.

  9. One other thing that happens is that FeedBurner incorrectly reports that you have many, many new subscribers. At least, that’s what happened to me when I got a front page Digg. Did you see a huge spike followed by a huge dip back to normal numbers?

  10. Dinner, thanks for that link. A couple of great tips in there.

    Jason, what do you mean about looking into WP cache?

    Char, thanks for stopping by, as always.

    Marios, there’s a spike in RSS readers at present. Today’s count is 575 whereas before the article was ‘dugg’ it was at 300, so almost double.

    I’m sure after a day or two it’ll be back to normal. I had a similar spike when a few of my articles were receiving traffic from StumbleUpon.

  11. Ah, cheers Mike.

    Is anyone else using this plugin? I had to double check my plugin folder to be sure. ;)

    The description seems like it’ll help but it might be the first time I’ve come across that one.

  12. I use it on my blog. I’m yet to get Dugg, but since I enabled it, it seems like my pages load much faster. Give it a whirl! ;)

  13. I love digg, but hate the shit talkers. thats pretty lame it crashed your server too, but you scored a lot of new regulars I bet! and don’t ever question your career if what you’re doing makes you happy. unless you suck at it. but you’re a damn good designer from what I can see, so you don’t suck at it.

  14. Your post that was dugg was really great. Don’t let the few losers on digg get you down. Most of them NEED something to complain about at least once a day, or they go into withdrawls. *=)

  15. don’t you think that’s kind of a shitty way to look at things?

    yes, a couple of losers shit-talked your article, and then they went back to playing counterstrike all day and refreshing, you made the front page of a site bigger than any newspaper online.

    yes your server got pissed but that’s what’s going to happen when you’re on a shared host. if mom and dad’s golf shop was on the same server as you they were getting the same 500 error (and still are) and that’s bad for whoever your hosting is, and there’s something in your TOS that protects your hosting company in this regards. if it is a real issue for you, you might want to think about getting dedicated hosting, whereas shared hosting is anywhere from 6-10$ a month, dedicated hosting is 30$ a month, if you need recommendations or advice or anything i’m more than willing to help.

  16. James, I’d be quite happy if it caught on again with this post, but I don’t think that will happen. This was my idea of humour, which I’m sorry you didn’t get Jamie (Martin) – thanks for offering your help though with dedicated servers.

    Mat, terra, Sujan, thanks for your compliments. They’re very welcomed. ;)

    Sujan, to answer your question, my RSS subscriber count has almost doubled, from 300 to 590. A similar thing happened when a few of my posts were ‘stumbled’ and after a day or two the count returned to normal with perhaps a few more additions. It’s a temporary spike and I’m sure a similar thing will happen again.

    Romeo, that’s great you’re sticking around for a while. I hope you find something interesting here.

  17. Bummer. Time to move on with a new provider? I have had some good times with stumble upon and an occasional digg, but my server just dies. Fortunatly I’m on a unlimited bandwidth (with limited use ie no pod casts etc) plan, so I just send them an email and bitch the hell out of them, they reset the server and its all hunky dory.

  18. Jamie, you’re very kind. Thank you.

    DT, I’ll stick with my current provider for now, although I had thought about a switch.

    Good to see you stop by.

  19. Digg is over-populated with whiny 13 year old boys, but any publicity is good publicity ;-)

    These hosting companies do annoy me: sure it affects others on the shared server, and that’s unfortunate, but you can never predict when something like this is going to happen – perhaps they should be more prepared for this kind of thing?

    Still, I’ll never need to worry :cry:

  20. Digg drives me up the wall. I’m a much more enthusiastic Redditer (sp?), for a couple of reasons: first, my posts always seem to do better there; second, the resulting traffic comes more gradually, usually spread over 24 hours. I’ve no idea why this is, though I think it could just be a result of Reddit being less popular – you get a better class of reader and fewer loons with nothing better to do than randomly flame articles.

  21. Oh man, the first article I have submitted is now ranked #3 on Digg’s Top 10. What a nerve wracking experience this has been. There are A LOT of haters out there. I think I need to toughen up, because I have been driven to eat quite a bit of ice cream today (not directly out of the carton, thank goodness- hah). Anyhow, thank you for writing this. It made me a feel a bit relieved to know that I am not the exception that proves the rule, but the rule that proves the exception.

  22. Bill, I’ll definitely have to look into Reddit more than I have done. Thanks for commenting.

    Mike, very kind of you, cheers.

    Brie, well done for getting to the #3 spot. I’m glad that you can empathise with my article.

  23. Very funny – but I would take most of those problems in a heartbeat. The only one I would have an issue with is the t-shirt (or lack thereof). ;)

  24. Neena,

    There were certainly some positives from the experience, and I know that a few people have hung around since finding me through Digg, which is fantastic.

    Still waiting for my t-shirt. Hopefully one day. ;)

  25. I suffered exactly the same as above last night.

    Last I checked I had 500 Diggs and 6000 page views!! 30 mins later I have 800 Diggs but the server is crashed.

    My blog is down, my business website is down, all of my email is down.

    It’s amazing how every one of your points above happened almost exactly the same to me. Except numbers 4 and 5.

    For number 5 I am considering a new host not a new career!

  26. Hi Shaun,

    Congrats on your Digg success (I think).

    Who are you currently hosting with? Surprisingly, I’m still with the same web host, and have found them to be incredibly helpful through my online trials and tribulations.

  27. I’m with Host Gator at the moment, I will be changing VERY soon!

    I can understand them blocking my blog temporarily after the mass spike in traffic but there is no excuse for taking my main domain down, that is my business and it’s costing me money every second it’s down!

    I also can’t excuse their lack of support. I’ve sent constant emails for the past 12 hours and received nothing back except automated responses and people insisting it’s being looked at.

    I’m also without all of my email accounts which again effects my business, i’m just praying that once this is all sorted nothing is actually lost.

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