Rackspace Powers gdgt, Handles 55 Million Page Requests for iPhone 5 Event

What’s the link between Apple, gdgt and Rackspace? Apple releases new innovative products; gdgt shares the latest news with millions of visitors; Rackspace Cloud Sites ensures that gdgt’s site stays up and running so that Apple fans can get the latest info.

Today, the world was watching when Apple announced the new iPhone 5. Millions of fans wanted to get a sneak preview of this cool new gadget. However, since Apple doesn’t broadcast this event live, fans turn to gdgt’s live blog for photos and updates from the announcement. gdgt handled over 55 Million page requests in a matter of three hours. Here are more details and numbers on the traffic that flowed through their site today:

  • Total Traffic Served – Approximately 55 Million page hits
  • Peak Traffic – Approximately 90K concurrent visitors
  • Traffic Time frame – Approximately 3 hours
Traffic on gdgt in Hits per Minute During iPhone 5 Event

If you have ever managed a server during a traffic spike, you know that along with the excitement of traffic comes the pain of having to handle it on your own. To get help with the traffic onslaught, gdgt depends on Rackspace Cloud Sites to keep their site up and running. In fact, this is not the first time Rackspace handled such huge amount of traffic for gdgt. During a previous iPhone 4S and new iPad launch, gdgt handled 55 Million page requests in matter of few hours.

TCP Connections on gdgt Site During iPhone 5 Event

Before the event, the people from gdgt and Rackspace worked together to prepare for this kind of traffic. While gdgt ensures that their code is highly optimized, Rackspace ensures that we have all the infrastructure resources that they will need. We also follow our best practices for high traffic events – including hosting images on Cloud Files. Here are some of the stats on infrastructure that was used:

  • # of web servers – 59
  • # of load balancers – 5

The event ran so smoothly that Ryan Block of gdgt gave Rackspace a shoutout on the gdgt Live Blog at the end of the event:

It takes a lot of hard work from both the customer and Rackspace to make these high traffic events a success. At Rackspace, we make sure that gdgt doesn’t have to worry about their server performance or downtime so that they can do what they do best: bring you the latest information on all the coolest technology!

Be sure to find out more information about gdgt along with a video featuring Co-founder Ryan Block. Looking for best practices for optimizing your site on Rackspace Cloud Sites for a high traffic event? Check out this knowledge center article for more info!


  1. Boy am I glad that all my clients are hosted on Rackspace CloudSide. Wait until I show this article to my clients.

    Way to go Rackspace!!! This just proves that they are “fanatical” about their service and practice what they preach.

    • Dale, gdgt live blog is running on Rackspace Cloud Sites. Customers pays $150/month for the product and get huge amount of resources per month (Computing, storage and bandwidth). If you are a very heavy user and you consume all your resources then you pay little overage. More details are available here http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/public/sites/pricing/

      Whenever customers like gdgt expect million of customers they notify us (typically 7 days before the event) and we work with customers to get to handle the event and ensure customers have all the infrastructure they need -servers load balancers etc. Customer (such as gdgt in this case) DO NOT have to pay anything extra for this infrastructure (its included in $150/month)

      Here are more details on how we handle high traffic events such as this on cloud sites

  2. Is gdgt really using Cloud Sites? This sounds more like Cloud Servers. Just curious. I’ve used both products and when they talk about adding load balancers and more servers to handle the load, that sounds more like something you’d do with Cloud Servers, since most of that stuff is not configurable with the “Sites” product.

    Is this accurate?

    • Yes. gdgt live blog is running on Cloud Sites. Infrastructure (servers, load balancers, firewall, DNS, OS, DB, storage, Network) is included in the product. More details here towards the bottom of the page http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/public/sites/howitworks/

      Whenever there is a high traffic event like this, Clous sites customers notify us we work with customer to add more infrastructure , if needed (at no additional cost).

  3. Tarun,

    Thank you for the article and forthright responses, this is all most helpful.

    ps. I would love to see Magento added to the cloud sites offering (not sure if it is cost effective for Rackspace though).

    Thank you again,

    Brandon Elliott

    • Brandon,

      Glad that you liked the article.

      Thank you for the feedback. When you say Magento added to Cloud Sites offering, do you mean ability to install Magento quickly with a 1-click installer or do you mean Rackspace manages the Magento application or something else?

  4. Hello, just wondering, who would we contact to explore some solutions? We don’t really have temporary events, but our cloudsites-hosted website goes over the allotted resources ten-folds each month and would like to be able to scale more efficiently. Not to mention, the bottlenecks that the cloudsites alone creates for our semi-high traffic website.

    • Umar, I shared your contact details (that you shared on forum while commenting) with our specialist who will reach out to you shortly.


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