The Parliamentary Registry Office [PRO] has explained the circumstances surrounding the situation which saw their website repeatedly crash under load on election night.
The PRO said they had tested it with a target of 500,000 ‘hits’, and the site performed well with this load. However on election night, the ‘hits’ exceeded 2 million which caused the site to crash.
A statement from Government said: “A team was monitoring the situation and activated a duplicate website that was on standby to service the media with real time results.
“Immediate actions were also taken to increase the resources to compensate for the traffic, and ticker information and similar functionality were deactivated to simplify the site and allow the core functionality more bandwidth.
“This action meant the results could be out in real time through the media and towards the end of the night, service was largely unaffected.”
The term ‘hits’ is often confused with pageviews, but they are different. A pageview is when a website page is looked at, and a single pageview can generate dozens of hits at one time, depending on how much information is being called up [graphics etc] on the page.
The election site had been coded so that the page was automatically refreshing, meaning when a single computer was on the site it would continuously refresh generating multiple ‘hits’, a system which creates a very heavy server load.
The full statement is below:
In the run up to the national election, the Parliamentary Registry Office (PRO) took a number of steps to ensure voters had the information they needed to place their votes and for the results to be made available in the most efficient manner.
For reporting results, an online system was developed to allow the PRO to upload results as the counts came in. These were then posted to a website for people to track in real time.
Anticipated levels of interest were set with high targets of 500,000 hits and significant planning and stress testing of the elections.gov.bm site was undertaken. The site performed well with this load and comfortably managed the transactions.
On the night of the election we were delighted to see we had generated huge interest and the results of the Bermuda election were being sought globally, with people from 99 nations outside of Bermuda logging in.
The site received an unprecedented volume of 2.2 million hits and as the election results unfolded, significant interest via social media was also redirecting this community en masse, resulting in unusually high surges of activity. This caused the unexpected issues with service on the night.
A team was monitoring the situation and activated a duplicate website that was on standby to service the media with real time results. Immediate actions were also taken to increase the resources to compensate for the traffic, and ticker information and similar functionality were deactivated to simplify the site and allow the core functionality more bandwidth.
This action meant the results could be out in real time through the media and towards the end of the night, service was largely unaffected.
While disappointed that the service did not hold up the entire night, it’s encouraging to see the high levels of interest in Bermuda politics both here and around the world.
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