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We want to set up a WordPress 3 with the multi-site option enabled in order to have several (2-3) sites for news, photos & video. The expected audience is around 10-15k visits/day.

One of the problems is that we know that we will have big, exclusive news which will generate Slashdot effects generating spikes reaching to 50-70k visits/day. These spikes will be rather rare: let's say one-two spikes / quarter. Each spike will last 1-2 days and after this will fade. But it is critical for us that during the spikes the site(s) will be online AND responsive.

Another problem is that (at least) one of the sites will stream video. It is our video but we think to put it on a CDN (more on this later). ~250 episodes, each episode will be between 35-47 minutes. This gives us approx. 150 MB x 250 = ~ 37 GB. We plan to post two episodes / week. No, we don't think that all our audience will look at these. Let's say that we'll have at most 2-3k streams in the first day of a new episode. Also, even if we consider that the video is good (isn't it? ;-) - we don't think that this will generate any slashdot/digg (etc.) spikes). We think to use Amazon CloudFront for this.(or another CDN? suggestions please...)

Giving the above what hosting solution do you recommend?

We look at the following values: speed, uptime, budged, tech support - yeah, I know, the Paradise is in Heaven not here, on Earth :-). FTR, most probably we need a VPS, that's why I put the question here.

TIA for any comments

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1 Answer 1

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I'm not entirely sure this question is right for this site; but I'll have a go at it.

First off, I would use a value-adding commercial-use streaming video service that includes a CDN. There are several -- Wistia, Bits on the Run, Brightcove, Viddler and many others. Research which provider to use carefully; you want someone who can deliver fast video to your entire (global?) user base. Generally these services will:

  • simplify your work greatly (by handling encoding, player embedding code etc for you).
  • offer good statistics/reporting on playback.
  • offer fast streaming video optimized CDN delivery of your content.

Regarding video CDN:

We think to use Amazon CloudFront for this.

That could work. Be sure to understand the difference between putting a video file on HTTP, true video streaming, and pseudostreaming. If you choose to handle video streaming yourself (which can be a perfectly reasonable choice), then pick a CDN that supports what you need and integrates well with your player.

For the site itself, caching is the key to surviving a Slashdotting on Wordpress. WP 'static page' plugins such as WP Super Cache help a lot.

If that's not enough, to go really fast you want an in-RAM reverse HTTP proxy (a.k.a. HTTP accelerator) in front of your Wordpress application server. Unfortunately caching Wordpress pages isn't that easy, as Wordpress uses cookies a lot, and strictly speaking cookie'd pages may not be cache-able. Varnish Cache has some decent docs describing Wordpress' cookies, and how to mitigate this if you're using Varnish as your reverse proxy.

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