OVH Dedicated Servers

Public Cloud instances

Load Balancing IP


High availability

Hosting a heavy traffic website

A scalable infrastructure that can handle huge traffic spikes

SYSADMIN BADASS is the provider in charge of the infrastructure of sofoot.com, a French media company dedicated to football news. The So Foot website was initially hosted on a single dedicated server, and has been hugely successful since it was set up in 2006. The night before the 2014 World Cup, SYSADMIN BADASS had to implement a more robust and scalable infrastructure to handle the expected surge in the number of visitors - more than one million page views per day by 500,000 unique visitors - during the competition. The aim: zero service interruptions during the month-long competition.

This infrastructure won the OVH 2014 Infrastructure Award under the Cloud Project category at the OVH Summit on 7 October 2014.

Key information

  • 85,000 articles
  • 1.2 million commentaries
  • 60 GB of static content (images, videos, etc.)
  • 13 million database entries (5 GB)
  • Visits to the website multiplied by approximately 3 during the World Cup


  • Handle peak loads of 5000 http requests per second, 500,000 visitors per day and three times the load in less than 10 seconds
  • The website's code cannot be redone as the development team has very limited availability; however the site was built to run on a single machine (the application isn't "cloud ready")
  • Limited budget makes it impossible to mount an infrastructure that can permanently handle peak loads
  • 100% website availability

Solution deployed at OVH

To ensure maximum availability of sofoot.com, SYSADMIN BADASS built a high availability infrastructure. This infrastructure is elastic as it uses Public Cloud instances that are billed per hour and deployed in minutes.

1 – Distributing the load

2 - Scaling down the web front-ends

3 - Replicating the database

4 – Implementing a backoffice server for the editing team

5 - Automating the deployment of additional machines

6 - Monitoring the infrastructure

7 – Backups


"The infrastructure handled the load from the first to last day of the World Cup and, as sofoot.com permanently adopted this architecture, it continued to do so well after."

“The infrastructure handled the load from the first to last day of the World Cup, and as sofoot.com permanently adopted this architecture, it continued to do so well after. The architecture is elastic as Public Cloud instances are only rented during peak periods, which actually makes it very affordable.

Peak loads were within our expectations - a maximum of 320,000 VU/day, 2,300 requests/second and, for the first time ever, a three-fold increase in load in less than 30 seconds, which occurred in general at the end of the match. However, contrary to our expectations, sofoot.com set a new visitor record with peaks of 360,000 VU/day, 3,000 requests/second and, for the first time ever, a three-fold increase in load in less than 20 seconds, caused by news about player transfers and an influx of new visitors who had discovered the site during the World Cup. These peaks were handled well by the infrastructure in place, which is good news for us in the run-up to Euro 2016. 

We're now testing out the automatic deployment of additional instances, via the RunAbove API, based on thresholds configured in the monitoring tool. This is so we can get a completely elastic and 100% self-managed infrastructure. We still need to work on simplifying the infrastructure to reduce the time to deploy new machines, ideally from 20 minutes to just 4. We're also going to publish our So Press shop soon. For this, we've chosen to use the OVH PrestaShop SaaS solution . It offers really great value for money and excellent performance.”

Nicolas Capeyron (@ncapeyronSABA), Manager of SYSADMIN BADASS.

OVH advice

SYSADMIN BADASS managed to achieve a real mean feat. It mounted a highly available, scalable and cost-efficient infrastructure to host an application which hadn't been developed in line with the latest standards.

One way to optimise this infrastructure is to use the OVH CDN to store sofoot.com's static content. This would reduce the volume of data on the web servers, improve latency and also decrease the time to deploy new servers by reducing the time needed to synchronise the 60 GB of content. This would however involve making significant changes to the site, such as rewriting all image links, which would then be hosted on a different sub-domain.

Infrastructure components

1 Load Balancing IP

9.99 ex. VAT/month

Load Balancing (HAProxy)

2 Enterprise servers
SP-64 model

104.99 ex. VAT/month

Web front-ends

3 Hosting servers
HOST-32 model

86.99 ex. VAT/month

Reinforced web front-ends

5 Public Cloud instances
SP-60 RAM instances

£0.136 excl. VAT /hour

Database servers

2 Enterprise servers
SP-64 model

Option 3 x 160 GB Intel SSD DC S3500 SATA3 6 Gbps

104.99 ex. VAT/month


1 VPS Cloud 1

9.99 ex. VAT/month

Backoffice server

1 Hosting server
HOST-32 model

86.99 ex. VAT/month