Danger: sarcasm ahead! Note that I have spent quite literally thousands of hours helping people use Blogger and Blog*Spot, because I believe in the power and value of personal publishing. I also believe that if you are pulling tens of thousands of hits, you should get the hell off Blog*Spot, now. The reason Blog*Spot sucks these days is because people are using “the quick spot for your blog” as “the permanent place for your blog, because you don’t want to pay for hosting for a page pulling serious numbers.” I don’t want Blog*Spot to fail: I think that it is a very important part of Blogger’s success. In a few minutes, with no cash outlay, you can see how Blogger works, and see your thoughts published on the web. I just don’t see any way of moving the people (*cough* instapundit *cough* samizdata *cough*) who should be getting their own hosting out, short of either publicly stating, again and again, that they need to get the hell out, or Blog*Spot getting intolerably bad. Thus, a modest (hint: that means sarcastic) proposal…
It seems I’m not the only person who thinks that Blog*Spot should suck harder. Rand Simberg wrote himself a script which checks Blog*Spot (every thirty seconds), and displays a traffic signal in his (non-Blog*Spot) weblog to tell you whether or not Blog*Spot is up. You know, if you can’t tell whether an “unable to find server” error means that it’s down, or…, it’s down. Yeah. But the good part is, checking every thirty seconds, with a GET request, rather than a measly HEAD request that would just return a 400-odd byte header, Rand is managing to add almost 3000 extra hits a day to the overloaded Blog*Spot server. Doesn’t matter whether anyone is viewing his weblog at 3 am on a Sunday, it’s still checking. And just in case that’s not enough, now he has made his script open source, so anyone who can run Perl scripts can add another 3000 extra hits a day. If just two people do it, that’s nearly 6000 extra hits a day. And if 50 people do it (can you imagine, 50 people a day), why that would be an extra 144,000 hits each and every day.
And by the way, I wouldn’t count on his traffic signal actually telling you whether Blog*Spot blogs are available or not, since it’s checking www.blogspot.com, which isn’t always down when Blog*Spot blog are unavailable. I just hope that won’t affect its ability to hammer the server. </sarcasm>