In the early days of social bookmarking, when Slashdot was one of the most popular websites on the Web, a phenomenon started occurring when small websites were bookmarked at the very popular site Slashdot. This resulted in huge traffic spikes to the smaller websites, which were usually hosted on shared hosting plans, and those sites would meet their host’s bandwidth requirements and temporarily be shut down. This came to be known as the Slashdot Effect, or Slashdotting.
It still happens today, but these days it is typically done from other very popular websites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Twitter.
The surest way to prevent the Slashdot Effect from overwhelming your website and your web host is to not have any bandwidth limits. Of course, there is no shared hosting plan in the world with unlimited bandwidth. Technically, there aren’t any cloud hosting plans with unlimited bandwidth either.
However, if you are with a cloud host and you start to see your traffic increase by greater numbers in a short period of time, then you can request more bandwidth. If it looks like you are on the Slashdotting course, contact your cloud host and request more bandwidth. When the traffic has died down and your bandwidth usage has gone down to normal levels, you can request that your bandwidth limit be decreased back to normal size.
This allows you to handle traffic spikes on a short term basis without losing your website. You’ll have to pay for the extra bandwidth, but since it is short term, any profits you realize from the increased traffic should help you pay for it.