Jean Claude Van Damme Personally Took Down Fstoppers For 72 Hours

Jean Claude Van Damme Personally Took Down Fstoppers For 72 Hours

On Friday our writer Dave Geffin featured Jean Claude Van Damme's newest commercial for Volvo, hailing it as the most successful commercial of 2013. The post was an instant success but then Jean Claude himself saw the post and decided to share it to millions of his followers. For 3 days Fstoppers received thousands of clicks per second. So many clicks that the site would crash instantly every time we reset the server.

Don't get me wrong. I love website traffic but this was ridiculous. wtf After commenting on our Facebook post about his video he proceeded to share it on is Facebook page with 5 million fans.
van damme facebook
Our post was then shared on facebook by his fans, and friends of his fans 180,000 times.

Basically our site could still be on taken down at any moment and there is nothing we can do but wait. Once this all blows over we will be switching from a dedicated server to Amazon S3 an elastic cloud server so this will never happen again. Once that happens we will gladly accept everything Jean Claude can throw at us.

And Jean Claude, if you are reading this. Do not share this post or I will start working out really hard and in a few years, when you least expect it, I will find you.

Lee Morris's picture

Lee Morris is a professional photographer based in Charleston SC, and is the co-owner of

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I'm glad it's starting to slow down so i can enjoy some reads ive been missing the past several weeks.

And this is how one person can make all photographers of the world bored for a whole weekend

Noam trust me, you haven't lived until you've had a mob of angry photographers chasing you with their burning tripods and speed lights on high speed sync, on continuous just image if Chuck Norris was featured.

So this is a Wordpress blog, right? S3 isn't going to do it for you. S3 serves static content, not dynamic content. You *could* use S3 but you'd have to switch to a static site generator like Jekyll or Middleman. I think you probably mean EC2, but that also wouldn't automatically save you since resizing your server would take a good long while.

Your best options are:

* EC2 servers with an Elastic Load Balancer in front of it (hard).
* S3 with a static site generator (hard).
* A managed Wordpress hosting service like WPEngine (easy).

Happy to discuss these options in more detail if you'd like. You should have my email address through Disqus.

Hah ya obviously I don't know what I'm talking about but basically we are moving to cloud servers rather than a single.

All good. And, I think, all the more reason to choose a managed service over EC2. I don't have any relationship with WPEngine. I've just heard nothing but good things about them over the past year or two.

We are about to do a site revamp and move over to drupal. What would you suggest for that?

I have no direct experience with Drupal, but—from what I've heard—I'd recommend not doing that :)

With regard to CMS systems, their inherent limitations, and all that, Josh Marshall from Talking Points Memo has actually been writing quite a bit about the topic recently. His blog posts have been quite insightful to me, and it may be worth your time to read them, and to even reach out to him.

I'm a professional software developer who shoots as a creative outlet, so I have a certain inherent bias in the matter. Among other things, I run a website ( that sees a significant amount of traffic every month. I built a custom content management system for it because a) I didn't feel like off-the-shelf solutions would give me what I wanted, and b) I could.

I don't recommend you take the same path I did, though. My site's audience—and my core competence—is custom software development. I don't want to make any assumptions of your talents, but these projects inevitably take longer than you would want them to, and they rarely deliver the sort of value you'd want to see given the amount of money/time/effort you put into them.

In my case, it worked out only because I had a list of feature requirements that could be measured on one hand, and had tied myself to launching the site within a single day.

Sorry I can't be more helpful, but—seriously—shoot me an email and I'd be happy to talk with you guys about this in more detail.

Sorry, have to disagree on that part. As a project manager for a Belgian company, that is enterprise partner with Acquia (business enterprise company by the inventor of Drupal, Belgian Dries Buytaert) I can confirm a Drupal site can handle loads and cloud config just fine, if of course site, database & server(s) are configured properly (but that's also needed for other CMS's).

Stefaan - I agree that Drupal can scale, I've certainly seen it do just that. I'm saying it's not likely to be the right tool for the job.

On an unrelated note, I've been thinking quite a bit about RAW/DNG backup solutions for pro photographers, and I'd love to pick your brain about what I've been mapping out sometime if you'd be willing to spare an hour for some back-and-forth over email.

for sure, message me anytime at

Moving to Drupal won't make the difference if the server isn't configured properly. You should be looking for someone to setup a load-balancer, Memcached and Varnish on an EC2 server. Rather than hitting the database every time for the JCVD post (and the rest of the stories on the front page), it would be generated as a static post and saved to a cache for quick accessing, and saving the database from running queries to find that post.

A great article on high-traffic WP blogs from Smashing Mag:

You can try CloudFlare ( before moving to a cloud solution. It's a CDN solution. The best part: you can use it free of charge (paid options available too).

Yeah he didn't mean S3...just moving from a dedicated server to an elastic cloud server .

Hi Aaron,
You certainly seem knowledgeable on the topic. I was unable to find your e-mail through Disqus, but would you be open to consulting with me on some issues of server speed and SEO optimization? For compensation, of course. If interested, please drop me an e-mail at

Thanks much!

This may be of interest. Lots of Wordpress sites get fireballed whenever Gruber of linked to them.

The last paragraph up there if FULL OF WIN! :D

No matter what don't ever run a story on Chuck

Install WP Super Cache on your blog. You'll easily be able to ride out that storm with a little caching :)

Hence proving that counting clicks leads to a breakdown and not higher quality... ;)

I hope Dave got a raise for this! =)

Thanks Bert LOL, but having JCVD post the article on his FB and the ensuing chaos was reward enough :)

He's actually going to get a bill for 4 days of lost revenue while our site was down :)

Hahaha, better watch out for an appearance fee to arrive.

Lol! Awesome :D

awesome, the power of van damme!


Glad it's back up, PetaPixel just isn't the same...

Worth not having fstoppers for three days lol

I say the writer of the article deserves a FAT raise!

Stuff JCVD or Chuck Norris - image the chaos that would ensue if George Takei posted a link to here.