Sorry, I haven't been on here the past two days very much.
A couple of nights ago, our guests on-line went way up to around 8,000. WOW, I thought. Are we sure getting busy!
I started to peruse logfiles to see where, what and why we were getting such an influx of guests visiting our fair site. What I found was we were under attack from various servers around the world running robots and brute force password hacks against the site. They were very clever. They used bogus random IP addresses and opened mutliple threads to make it look like they were coming from everywhere.
Well... to make a long story short, I put the KABOSH on all these hits. I have spent the past two days configuring and reconfiguring firewall rules to weed out the bad apples. Not only that, I figured out a way to trap them into endless loops that is going to chew up their resources. I have these safeguards tested and in place and have been tweaking the settings and I think I have it all worked out. The trick here is to let good robots (i.e. search engines and news feeds), users, guests, etc into the site yet weed out the bad bots and others trying to exploit the site. There were probably momentary losses of connections (no more then 40 seconds at a time) and I apologize for that.
Anyway, we are back up and running normally. Thanks for putting up with the crap we have to put up with!