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How Paper Magazine Kept Kim K's Butt From Breaking Its Site

Photo: <a href="http://papermagshop.com">Paper</a>
Photo: Paper

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While the Paper editorial team may have set out to figuratively break the internet with Kim Kardashian's nakedness, they didn't actually want to break papermag.com. And when the relatively small website became the center of all internet conversation for a week, it held up quite well. No glitches and no crashes (save for a Google Analytics meltdown), which is surprising given that the domain usually hosts 650,000 visitors per month, not per hour.

As it turns out, papermag.com enlisted a coding wizard who worked nonstop for six days to prepare the website for the notorious butt. Writer Paul Ford sat down with Greg Knauss, the man behind the operation, and had Knauss walk him through the whole process of how he prepared the site to handle up to 100 million pageviews in a week. It's an amazing look at how Paper's Kim Kardashian issue wasn't just a feat from the front end, but the back end too (jokes).

When D-Day arrived and the first images surfaced, papermag.com was actually over-prepared for the traffic. Kim shared initial photos on her Instagram so Paper's website didn't see the crush of visitors it was anticipating. But, thanks to Instagram's nipple ban, she couldn't post the second round of full-frontals and she linked back to papermag.com instead. That's when the floodgates opened. "The servers were working steadily at five times the pace of before, and the CDN was delivering images," Ford wrote. "The system worked. Nothing choked. Nothing broke down. PAPER got its traffic—30 million unique visitors over a few days, they said via email."

A couple weeks later, things died down and everything went back to normal. "I think I speak for everybody who does this kind of work," Knauss told Ford. "I'm just glad I could help — in some small way — to bring more thinkpieces into the world."

· How PAPER Magazine's web engineers scaled their back-end for Kim Kardashian (SFW) [Medium]
· Kim Kardashian Deploys Open Scheme to 'Break the Internet' With Her Butt [NSFW] [Racked]
· Kim Kardashian's Naked Paper Magazine Shoot Involves Full Frontal [Racked]