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TAMU Webmaster's Blog

Information and insight from the A&M Webmasters

Post-Emergency Summary

August 14th, 2012 by Erick Beck

Yesterday’s off-campus shooting incident triggered the launch of a Code Maroon and set us into emergency response mode.  While the incident was relatively short-lived, it did nonetheless generate nation-wide media coverage, which in turn generated heightened levels of traffic to the university website.  We are pleased to say that our server architecture held out quite well under the increased load.

Anecdotally, Help Desk Central reported that they did not get any complaints about the site being unresponsive, and CIS system administrators said that the hardware ran smoothly throughout the process.

According to our analytics, the site generated 234,450 page views yesterday, while the average is more like 75,000.  Over 67,200 of those came in the 12:00 – 1:00 time frame, with another 50,000 in the next hour.  The index page itself took 172,900 hits, and the “active shooter” emergency response procedures took another 10,900.  The About Us and University Facts pages also experienced higher than normal traffic, indicating that people unfamiliar with the university were looking to find out who we are.

Most of the page visits came in from one of the major search engines.  Huffington Post was the only one of the national media outlets in the top-10 referrers, and their numbers were negligible when compared to Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

The Code Maroon message at the top of the page referred 25,400 click-throughs to the emergency notification site. Unfortunately that’s all we can say about traffic to that site.  We purposefully do not run Google Analytics on the emergency site. Emergency situations by their very nature are likely to generate extraordinary page loads, so we are willing to live with reduced information in order to better guarantee proper uptime in those circumstances.

My thanks to everyone across campus who helped us put this emergency structure in place.  I know we still have room for improvements, but we held up to a major test yesterday and didn’t crack under the pressure.


Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 Code Maroon
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