It seems the Costco website (www.costco.com) is down. The site says "temporarily unavailable" and when I searched to see if it was just my own connection (not likely since I get the temp page), I found out that there was a recall on their Kirkland Cookies (in Canada).
Costco is warning its customers that cookies bought at its stores may contain pieces of metal.
How can cookies take down a website? It can happen to any website if there is a newsbreaking story. And even the best servers may not be able to handle the load.
No matter how secure and big a web server is, not many can take millions of connections at a time. Big surges of users looking for information can stress the entire network, not just the servers. So, if it happens to you and your server, you should NOT scream at the IT people. Instead, be happy.
Be Happy About A Website Being Unavailable?
Well, not normally. But in the case of it being down due to a big news story and a large wave of traffic, you should be happy about the interest in your site. Sure, it doesn't do you any good if the visitors can't get to your site at that moment, BUT it means they want to know more and they know how to get to your website. Yes, that is good.
Let your IT people do what they do to make sure things run properly. Don't breathe down their neck as that is NOT going to make things go any quicker. Any time you interrupt them is time they could be working on a solution. Though, usually the solution is just to wait out the tsunami of visits, and simply try to direct traffic during the rush.
For a real world example, let's say that Costco decided to have an unannounced 75% off everything sale. Imagine how bad traffic would get and how busy the store would get. A lot of people would not be able to ever get to the store, and for those that did it would be crowds no one wants to be in. That is what happens with a sudden surge in website popularity.
Good or bad news, it doesn't matter. You are in the mind of others, and they will very likely return in a couple hours or even days. Relax. If it's good news they are looking for, great. If it's bad news, well, it's the bad news that is the problem, not the web traffic and outage.It could be just a coincidence, having the site go down during the recall announcement. I also have no idea how long the site has been down. Maybe it was down before the recall. I only saw the opportunity to comment about web management and server administration, and the simple fact that some things just happen.