Virgin's web traffic planning

Yesterday industry publication Web Host Industry Review reported that UK-based hosting company DediPower had been selected to host the Virgin Galactic web site. The announcement made it sound like Virgin was expecting a wave of traffic to come to the site in the future: it mentions that DediPower would provide a hosting solution “capable of handling the large volume of traffic expected for the site” and it was providing custom solutions “to accommodate the traffic volume”.

Other data, though, hasn’t indicated overwhelming demand for the site in the past. The ranking service Alexa gives a traffic rank of 79,100 as of Thursday morning; the rank is based on a combination of average daily visitors and pageviews. The site did see a spike in activity on December 7 for the SpaceShipTwo rollout, when it got into the top 5,000 or so of sites, but that traffic ebbed in the following days. Looking at two years’ worth of data, there have been a few similar, predictable spikes in traffic: the unveiling of the design of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo in January 2008, the rollout of WhiteKnightTwo that July, and the groundbreaking of Spaceport America in June of this year. However, there hasn’t been any sustained, heavy demand that would keep the site regularly in the top 100,000 sites on the web.

However, the Virgin Galactic site has undergone a redesign in recent weeks, shortly before the SpaceShipTwo rollout, with a greater emphasis on interactivity, such as the ability for visitors to post comments on press releases. That, couple with increased visibility as SpaceShipTwo goes through its flight test program and heads towards commercial service, might indeed leave result in increased traffic on the site in the future.

1 comment to Virgin’s web traffic planning

  • I agree: this would probably be the year to increase capacity on the website. As excited as the first customers and space enthusiasts have been, there probably hasn’t been a real Digg moment yet. Preparing for one as flights commence might make the difference between some reporter making or missing a deadline because of a PR download.

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