We have a small community for our university students. There we provide some tutorials and other stuff that may help students to accomplish their task better.

The catch is I think our traffic is abnormally high! We only have 2000 visits per day at its best (for the last 3 month we have had something around 1500 visits per day - more info here). Having this said, our monthly traffic has been ranging from 30 Gigabytes for our first month to 70 Gigabytes for the last month and now 322 Gigabytes for the past 16 days of the new month!

I checked the awstats figures and found that 98% of this traffic is for partial contents . Now my question are:

  • Having said all this about our community and its size, is this abnormal?
  • How can we get more information on the contents being downloaded on our community site?
  • In case it is abnormal and abusive how can we avoid it?
  • Are the tutorials videos? Could you please specify a bit more in depth the content you are serving? Also, more info on the server stack you are using would help for hints on how to dig into this. I believe you are hosting this website from a IIS Webserver, is this correct?
    – milo5b
    Aug 16 '12 at 14:00
  • Yes most of them are videos.Well we provide tutorials on students courses, such as programming courses like C++, ASP.Net and etc. we also try to host softwares that are intrudoced in the community to avoid broken links after sometime. but none of the videos or documents exceed 120 Mb individually.We host more than 13Gigabytes of files which consists of these tutorials and documents and softwares.And we are on a CentOs VPS no IIS though.
    – Rika
    Aug 16 '12 at 18:06

If we'll divide the 322GB on 16 days and 2000 visits we'll get about 10MB per visit. It may be absolutely normal if you have on the site some video or pdf files.

Google Analytics can help tracking the traffic.

  • is there a way to know which files are being targeted ?
    – Rika
    Aug 16 '12 at 18:07
  • @Hossein I think Google Analytics can help
    – Roman
    Aug 16 '12 at 18:57
  • Would you add this comment to your answer as well?
    – Rika
    Aug 16 '12 at 19:09
  • @Hossein I did.
    – Roman
    Aug 16 '12 at 19:41
  • Also Apache's access log can help you.
    – milo5b
    Aug 17 '12 at 8:16

We see a lot of requests for "Partial Content" when the document served is PDF. If your PDF documents are optimized and the server and client both support it (mostly likely they do) then all .PDF files will be served as 'byte-range' requests. So even if the entire PDF is downloaded the request will appear as a series of requests for partial content.

My experience is with Apache but I expect IIS is similar.

I think it is extremely unlikely to be abuse.

If you need more details on downloads and you might be able to tweak awstats settings to give more detail than you are seeing by default. Alternatively you could look at analog which is very very configurable and use it forensically to dig into this issue.


But really, I don't think anything is out of the ordinary here.

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