As U.S. voters go to the polls for a mid-term election likely to decide control of both houses of Congress, analysts say voter turnout will be a critical factor. Political web sites are key tools in this effort - provided they can stay online.
Hosting uptime became a contentious issue in Connecticut's primary election in August, as the campaign web site for veteran Sen. Joseph Lieberman was completely unavailable on election day. Lieberman, the Democrats' 2000 vice presidential candidate, was defeated by challenger Ned Lamont. Afterward, Lieberman's campaign manager blamed the Lamont camp for the outage, alleging "coordinated efforts to disable our Web site." Other analysts said the Lieberman campaign had likely exceeded the bandwidth allotment on its shared hosting account at MyHostCamp.com.
Lieberman is back, running as an independent, and has a new web host as well. The Joe2006.com site is now hosted by Web.com, and is performing well through midday:
A dynamically updating chart of the performance of Joe2006.com is available. Netcraft offers a web site performance monitoring service that provides detailed uptime charts, along with e-mail alerts when an outage occurs.
Major political blogs are bracing for heavy traffic today, and some are adjusting their infrastructure in an effort to handle heavy traffic as readers track get-out-the-vote efforts and early results. Among them is Daily Kos, which says it is shuttering parts of its site to reduce the load on the web server.
"We've gone to great lengths to stay on the air today," site owner Kos (Markos Moulitsas Zúniga) wrote this morning. "The archives will be turned off today. They are a resource drain we cannot afford to have. So you won't be able to view or search for any diary or story older than 10-14 days." Kos noted that he has "some serious juice powering the site" but was prepared to turn off ads if the site begins to slow. Daily Kos is hosted by Voxel dot Net, which offers a clustered hosting infrastructure that offers improved scalability for traffic bursts. A chart tracking the performance of Daily Kos is available.