Skip to comments.Vatican's Web Page Stood Up to Heavy Traffic - Equipment Updated for Historic Events
Posted on 04/28/2005 3:52:19 AM PDT by NYer
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 27, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See's Web page has succeeded in coping with the unprecedented interest in Pope John Paul II's illness, death and funeral, the conclave, and Benedict XVI's election.
According to Global Language Monitor, interest in John Paul II's death far surpassed that of other events such as the December tsunami in southern Asia; the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; and the deaths of Ronald Reagan and Princess Diana.
The greatest impact on Internet was registered by the Vatican's official site (www.vatican.va).
Legionary of Christ Father Fernando Vérgez, director of the Holy See's Internet Office, explained in an interview with ZENIT that the Vatican Web page is among the 100 most-visited sites worldwide, in general in 80th place. But on April 14, it was in 16th place, and more recently it has been in 12th.
John Paul II's funeral Mass on April 8 was followed on the Holy See's Web page by 1.3 million people, said Father Vérgez as he displayed graphs and statistics on his office table.
The election announcement and inauguration Mass of Benedict XVI had close to 2 million visitors.
To handle the heavy Web traffic, the Internet Office had to reinforce its equipment. Usually, the Web page's transmission band is of 34 megabytes per second. As of March 31 the line was increased to 538 megabytes per second. At the same time, the number of servers increased to 18 from two.
The most visits during John Paul II's funeral came from Italy. California (in the Statistics Office, each U.S. state appears as a country) was second, followed by Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany and Lithuania. Visits from China outnumbered those from New York or New Jersey.
From April 1-8, the Holy See's Internet Office had to guarantee 24-hour service. Some staffers spent day and night in the office to update the page, monitor the traffic, and avoid the collapse of the line.
In those days, virtually all the Italy-based Web pages covering the event collapsed. The Vatican's page held up.
The Holy See's success was due to unexpected allies. In John Paul II's last days, a telecommunications company realized that the Vatican Web page was beginning to have problems due to the excess of traffic. It immediately made available, and for free, a broad band to handle the Web traffic.
Technicians from several companies volunteered to help the Vatican technicians cope.
The technicians had to get permission from their executives. Father Vérgez displayed two letters that granted the permissions to the technicians to work without pay as a gesture of support for John Paul II.
Thanks to the Vatican Web page, it was possible to follow through a camera of the Vatican Television Center the procession of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who arrived at St. Peter's Basilica to view the Pope's body and pay their last respects.
Visits to the Vatican Web page increased excessively, using 266 megabytes, when white smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel. According to the technicians, in those moments a user, say, in Sydney, Australia, took only 6 seconds to connect to the video.
Another challenge the Holy See's Internet Office has had to face is the e-mail sent both to John Paul II, during his last days, as well as to Benedict XVI.
About 100,000 messages already have been received at the new Pope's e-mail address.
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Dedicated workers...and some special help :)
Am I the only one that finds their website in general to be rather clunky and hard to navigate? It's one of those where they either (a) have more than I have found so far or (b) could have so much more and don't.
Then again, they're probably pretty busy running one holy and apostolic Church. :o)
FYI, they run a combination of Apache 1.x and 2.x on Solaris, according to netcraft.com.
The one thing I'd like that the Vatican web site currently lacks is a Latin version.
God is my IT tech.
The site was inaccessible to me for a very short time the evening that JPII died . . . but they had it up and running again quickly, within ten minutes.
This just in, Vatican web site is still running.
Does anyone know what kind of web switches they're using?
On the English language home page there is a link to a site map in the upper right hand corner. That may help you to find what you're looking for (assuming you know what you're looking for and aren't just browsing).
Personally, I use Google to search the Vatican Web site. If you go to the Advanced Search at Google at http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en, and enter vatican.va in the field titled "Domain [Only] return results from the site or domain," your results will only come from the Vatican's Web site. You can also specify in which language you want results.
The section for the Vatican Museums is exceptional. It far surpasses other online art museums. One can view the works of art interactively - zooming in and out, sliding the images around to look at different parts close up. I was quite impressed.
Patron of the internet?
On Dec. 31, 1900, inspired by Pope Leo XIIIs prayer for Gods blessing on the church in the new century, a young seminarian made a New Years Resolution to do something for his Church. James Alberione would dedicate his work to St. Paul, who was a writer and a preacher.
After his ordination in 1907 for the Diocese of Alba, Italy, he first founded a printing school where young men could learn a trade as well as produce good literature. In 1914, he founded a religious community known as the Society of St. Paul (Paulist Priests), who would spread the Gospel message through modern media.
In his ministry, Fr. Alberione embraced all communications technology from radio to television to motion pictures.
Fr. Alberione died in 1971 at age 87, with Pope Paul VI at his bedside. He died before the advent of the Internet, but many supporters think he would have embraced it as one more means to evangelize.
Fr. Alberione was beatified on this date in 2003.
Sound like the underground Church in China is strong to you?
Good News travels fast.