Years back, I was in charge of a site that faced millions of hits during competitions. We had what sounds like a similar problem. The server and even network seemed to be operating well and handling the volume. It was the software we had installed to track hits that was hanging up and bringing things to a crawl. I wish I could remember the specific software.
Connected to www.google-analytics.com
Though when that specific addy is manually entered into Firefox, it redirects to http://www.google.com/analytics/
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(preface the following with the fact I'm in central PA, and these anecdotal observations are irrespective of whether or not a HOSTS file is active)
I tried disconnecting that (google analytics) IP with my little CurrPorts app as close to instantaneously as possible, but it didn't seem to make any difference on my end.
Perhaps by the time it shows up in CurrPorts' list, the interference is already in progress ?
Or perhaps if all, or a (geographically ?) significant portion of FR's incoming traffic is being routed thru that Google addy before content can be served, it could be hosing things up ?
I parenthetically mention geographically because, in times past, when FR was glacial, I did some tracerts and found a huge (and consistent) latency bump at the .. wait for it .. CHICAGO hop !
Perhaps mine isn't an isolated incident .. I'm real curious if the slowness symptom might be limited to those of us east of the Mississippi ?
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Obviously, I'm no kinda network guy .. my brief stint as a professional geek was as a (novice) SysAdmin back in the mists of the Y2K era.
And maybe I just wasted a half hour typing up a buncha stuff that has absolutely no bearing on anything at all . . LOL !
But something is vey f*d up here on 'big' nights, and I fear that our beloved FR will be, for all intents and purposes, unserviceable come 6 Nov.