November 11, 2008
News Sites Set New Traffic Records During Elections
Local online newspapers experienced record traffic during the historic 2008 presidential election with traffic peaking the day after elections, according to web analytics by Akamai Technologies and more than 1,500 U.S. newspapers.
Akamai -- the content delivery network used by TownNews.com -- showed record traffic to news sites, peaking at 8,572,042 visitors per minute on election night.
Akamai's edge serving service means that consumers are accessing their online newspapers from servers located within 100 miles of their homes or offices. This local and regional access virtually eliminates long-distance Internet routing that can add time to each page load.
Statistics gathered by TownNews.com -- a web hosting company serving over 1,500 U.S. newspapers -- showed that traffic in hits almost doubled the day after elections as compared to the Wednesday preceding elections, while bandwidth saw an approximate 50 percent increase in that same time period.
"Our systems responded brilliantly during the Presidential election," said TownNews.com general manager and founder Marc Wilson. "Our page views climbed by 50 percent over previous highs, and our bandwidth of 500 megs per second were 30 percent higher than our previous peaks. Everything went great."
Statistics tracked by TownNews.com's proprietary web analytics solution, MurlinStats, included the following, comparing the day after elections to the preceding Wednesday:
-- Visitors increased 13.85 percent. -- Page views -- generated by log files -- increased 24.23 percent. -- Bandwidth (MB) increased 26.08 percent. -- Unique visitors increased 26.22 percent. -- Tracker page -- generated by MurlinStats -- views increased 30.52 percent.
The Nixa XPress, a Community Publishers (CPI) weekly newspaper in Nixa, Mo., had 15,868 page views the Wednesday after elections, as compared to 559 page views the previous Wednesday.
According to Aaron Kimbrough, Internet Manger for CPI, nothing significant was done in print to promote the site's election coverage. "It seemed to be a very normal day," he said.
Kimbrough added that he was confident his sites would handle the spike in election traffic.
Sam Barrett, web master for the Casper Star-Tribune in Casper, Wyo., also had no concerns that his TownNews.com-hosted site would experience outages. The Lee Enterprises daily newspaper had 1,258,576 page views the day after elections.
Barrett speculated, "The day after elections the folks around the state took time to look at local election results online."
He added that staff was quick to turn-around articles and video throughout election night, and believes a higher volume of video were viewed in full.
TownNews.com served more than 12,000 simultaneous pages to end-users during the peak hours the day after the elections, and experienced no outages. Loads returned to normal numbers on Wednesday, November 5 at 2:30 p.m. CST.
Successful performance by TownNews.com sites was attributed in part to Zeus load balancers, which act as an interactive traffic cop, making sure that all data moves through TownNews.com's data centers as quickly as possible.
TownNews.com, based in Moline, Ill., is majority owned by Lee Enterprises (LEE), a premier publisher of daily, weekly, online and specialty publications. TownNews.com hosts more than 1,500 online publications, and offers a wide variety of products and services to U.S. newspapers. For more information, visit www.townnews.com.
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