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Hug of death

Hug of death

(also Slashdot effect, slashdotting)

Hug of death definition

The ‘hug of death’ refers to the unintentional crashing or slowing down of a website or server due to a sudden surge in traffic. Typically, this happens when a small, less-known website gets highlighted or linked from a larger platform, causing a flood of visitors.

The sudden influx often overwhelms the website’s hosting capabilities. It’s like a crowd rushing into a small store after a major celebrity endorsement. Though stemming from positive attention, the outcome can be crippling for the ill-prepared website.

See also: Ping of death, Dead code

Hug of death examples

  1. Popular Reddit post. A user shares a link to a niche artist’s personal website on a major subreddit. Thousands flock to see the art, crashing the site within minutes.
  2. Viral tweet. A celebrity shares a link to a local charity’s donation page. The site buckles under the unexpected rush of generous fans.
  3. News feature. A national news outlet advertises a small online store for its unique products. The sudden exposure overwhelms the store’s server, causing a downtime.
  4. Gaming sites. A renowned streamer mentions an indie game’s website during a live session. Eager viewers flood the site, causing it to become unresponsive.
  5. Forum recommendations. A user on a popular tech forum praises a new open-source tool. Enthusiasts rush to download it, overloading the host server.

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