Website Mysteries

Running a website can be weird.

I do all the day-to-day maintenance of this site myself – a friend of mine designed the layout, but the posts and any additions to the pages are all written by me.  Generally, it’s worked pretty well, and it mostly just does its job in the background without me needing to keep fixing things.  But while I don’t really run into any problems administering the site, I keep tabs on the access stats via a log file analyser, and some of the stuff I find out in the process just makes me scratch my head.

For instance, if anyone tried to guess the most common location that people access this website from, they’d probably guess the USA, and they’d be right.  But if they tried to guess the second, third, and fourth countries on the list, they’d almost certainly be way off.  It turns out that said countries are China, Thailand, and France, respectively.  I have no idea why, but I’m guessing it involves spambots.

Speaking of spambots, before running this site, I never realised just how heavily websites in general get attacked.  I haven’t calculated exactly how many spam comments I get per day, but the amount of spam comments this site gets per week is greater than the number of human-generated comments that that this site has had in the past two years.   The spam filter catches over 99.9% of them, but the sheer number means that some still get through.  (On which subject, don’t put links in your comments.  The spam filter does its best, but URLs of any kind in a comment are a major feature of spam mail and . . . well, if your comment isn’t getting posted, that might be why.)

Every now and then, though, you get something that’s just bizarre.

In this case, it’s one of the Encyclopaedia articles I wrote the best part of a year ago, Advanced Divination (Part Three).  It’s a fairly standard page, right?  Nothing really out of the ordinary.  Definitely nothing to make it stand out from all the other posts and articles I’ve written.

Yet for some reason, that one page is viewed more than any other page on this website.  In fact, that one article’s been viewed more than all the other sixty Encylopaedia articles put together.  Just in the first three weeks of this month alone, it’s had tens of thousands of page views, and for the life of me I have absolutely no idea why.  And along with the views comes the spam – I finally turned off comments on that entry just because that page alone was getting triple-digit numbers of spam comments on a daily basis.

I honestly can’t figure out why that page would be accessed more than every other one.  I can’t think of any legitimate reason for people to be doing this, so my best guess is that a bunch of bots have locked onto it and are loading and reloading it over and over again, but I have no clue why.

But if any of you guys have any theories, I’d love to hear them.

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7 Responses to Website Mysteries

  1. Chris Bridge says:

    Hi Benedict

    Perhaps it’s time for you to outsource some of your website maintenance?

    I’m not offering, just suggesting 🙂

    Chris

  2. Adam Darby says:

    Hey, I “suggested” first! 🙂

    -Adam
    Web developer extraordinaire

  3. Benedict says:

    Well, about 80% of the real work I do on this website is actually writing the posts, which isn’t something I can easily outsource. 🙂

    I guess I could get someone to do the last 20%, but I have the feeling I’d spend as much time explaining what I wanted as I’d take just doing it myself…

  4. lekysma says:

    I live in france and visit your website every two days or so, it might surprise you, but you do have fans there

  5. OldBob says:

    Sounds like a poor man’s DOS attack. Probably with an older computer or a laptop. Some ultra-christian kids do things like that since mommy and daddy told them that Harry Potter was the work of the devil.

  6. Nepene says:

    The spambots likely target you by searching for “powered by wordpress” “Leave a reply” style identifying marks from this website that tell spam bots this is a blog they should attack. Most of the common attacks search for something like “Leave a reply” “something spammy” and then post a link to drugs or whatever. Your page presumably contains a popular keyword- if I was to guess, that word is futures, perhaps with something else like focus intensifying that.

    To a simple minded spam bot you are looking into the future because you have a need. A need for drugs, a larger sexual organ, a job that you can work from home, a trick that a woman discovered that makes doctors angry. They want to satisfy that need.

  7. Steven Allen says:

    Taking a shot here….Could be key words

    The “crawlers” look for keywords and highlight them. Maybe Focus Pattern and Spider along with Advanced..

    just guessing though