On July 4th 2011, my article about time appeared on Hacker News and I averaged almost 1 QPS over the next 24 hours. Here's what the webserver did:

And here's what the CPU did:

Static files, people.

On January 19th 2013, it appeared on Reddit and again on Hacker News, although with a less linkbaity title this time. Over the next two days or so, the article got 108k hits from 63k unique clients, plus 3k hits from 400 known bots:

And here's the matching CPU graph:

39k hits came from, which resolves to boris.pinboard.in. The netblock belongs to prgmr.com which is the same VPS provider I was using at the time.

The URL submitted to Reddit was /time/?v=1 which is bogus, because the article is a static HTML page which doesn't take any query parameters. Other referrers glued on even more ridiculous parameters.

Less than 2% of clients came in on IPv6. That makes me sad. We can do better, folks:

Some rough demographics:

Reddit drove most of the traffic by volume:

Like Jason Scott already told you, URL shorteners are a terrible idea.

I configure Apache to log the time taken to serve the request (%D in LogFormat) and the distribution for my article looked like this:

Request latency:
  min:      0.624 msec
  25%:      1.789 msec
  50%:      1.923 msec
  75%:      2.163 msec
  90%:      2.293 msec
  95%:      2.344 msec

The above is with mod_deflate involved. Here's what it looks like without compression:

Request latency:
  min:      0.151 msec
  25%:      0.521 msec
  50%:      0.560 msec
  75%:      0.581 msec
  90%:      0.607 msec
  95%:      0.627 msec

My entire website (being a handful of small static files) is served out of memory.

Charting is courtesy of Google Chart Tools.