Is there a term for the moment when a lot of users visit/log onto your website at the same time?

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    In which context are you referring, from server perspective or a marketing /aesthetic perspective. Just to understand the context of why you're asking. – Abu Nooh Apr 28 '16 at 18:11
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    This question itself appears to have experienced __________ (insert term here). – MrWhite Apr 29 '16 at 21:00

12 Answers 12


In my experience we've generally refer to a spike in traffic to differentiate an unexpected or irregular increase from regular/daily peak periods. For example, a website may have peak periods around opening and closing time, but a spike might result from an advertising campaign or news article.

traffic spike

In this example, the "spike" is pretty distinctive compared to the rest of the day and remains unexplained.

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    Spike is right but slashdotted is more emotionally laden. – Tom Harrison Jr Apr 30 '16 at 3:01

If it is caused by users all visiting from a news site, it is called the Slashdot effect or Slashdotting.

Slashdot is one of the first internet news aggregators. When they posted a news article, it often crashed the sites they linked to because so many Slashdot users would visit simultaneously.

Today the term "slashdotting" can be applied when any site suddenly sends many visitors to another site simultaneously.

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    I don't think this is a universal and common term. People who don't use Slashdot probably don't know or use it and many similar terms exist for other big international (like Reddit) and national (like heise.de) websites. – florian h Apr 28 '16 at 11:49
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    It would be interesting to list the terms used by users of those other websites. "slashdotted" is certainly used in cases where Slashdot wasn't actually involved. – Stephen Ostermiller Apr 28 '16 at 12:06
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    @florianh I disagree. I do not use Slashdot and I know the term. It is the most commonly used term because it was the first (commonly known, large scale) place where this happened. I'd say it's a somewhat common term when it comes to website management. – Jasper Apr 28 '16 at 13:07
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    I believe reddit calls it "the hug of death". – DisgruntledGoat Apr 28 '16 at 15:19
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    In response to the number of people complaining about "slashdotted" being out of date, it's worth noting that a great many things in our language are similarly disconnected from the original context. Filibuster is from an old Dutch word for pirates, Gerrymander derives from an event in 1812, any case of genericising a trademark also qualifies (eg, Kleenex for any tissue). Heck, I'm typing this on a computer (the name comes from "person who performs calculations") using a keyboard (originally specific to musical instruments, as in musical key). Age matters not, only understanding does. – Kaithar Apr 29 '16 at 6:34

I would call it a Peak in visitors. This indicates that we're not having a usual amount of visitors, but more. The peak could be a small peak, or a large peak (a spike of visitors).

As a unit of time, you could go for Peak Hour/day/period.

peaked, peak·ing, peaks
1. Nautical To raise (a gaff) above the horizontal.
2. To bring to a maximum of development, value, or intensity.

  • peak might not be unusual, e.g. a website has periodic daily peaks. What about a surge ? – Radovan Garabík Apr 28 '16 at 14:52
  • As non-native english person, my first association is to power surge, electrical. But others might disagree – Martijn Apr 28 '16 at 15:05

If you have a sudden influx of users that happens to result in your site being taken down, your site has been given what a Redditor would call a hug of death.


ADDOS: Accidental Distributed Denial of Service

You wanted all those folks to visit, just... not at the same time.

  • Although I think the "A" in ADDOS would more commonly refer to "Amplified". – MrWhite Apr 29 '16 at 9:30
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    How about UDDos -- unintended. I am all for creating a new acronym :-) – Tom Harrison Jr Apr 30 '16 at 2:59
  • I think unintended is better actually! – aslum Apr 30 '16 at 3:29

It could be referred to as a flash crowd (from the novel Flash Crowd), especially if it was triggered from a post or article elsewhere linking to your site.


I've known this as a "spike in traffic". I find such spikes are more caused by robots that try to hack into the server by trying to request specific URLs in a super short time frame (I say about 20 to 25 requests per second). I find when users visit my site, I see no huge spikes at all since most requests total no more than 50 KB to 500 KB each depending on photo size and when google crawls my site like crazy, I still don't get spikes. It only happens when bots try to hack my server.


I think the proper term is Digital Bulge.


It's bottleneck or rush hour or even road rage. You can call any from the above or even a custom word based on what amount your website/app gets hit by.

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    I would not use the phrase "bottleneck" unless it causes a problem - in other words, if twice as many users hit the site as usual but the site continues to operate as normal, I would not consider that a bottleneck. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottleneck – Jake Apr 28 '16 at 13:05
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    "Road rage" relates to website hits how?! – Lightness Races with Monica Apr 28 '16 at 18:01

Only thing I could think about:

Rush Hour

like in traffic


If it happens once in a while, I'd add the word oscillation with peak and/or spike.

Also, if it happens periodically, I'd add the word redundancy.


Yes, it is called DDOS attack.

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    A DDoS attack is not a spike in users. A DDoS attack follows patterns that are clear and is continuous. – closetnoc May 2 '16 at 0:03

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