As the Swinburne University’s astronomy department recently found out, having your site appear as a top search result is not necessarily a good thing! In fact, if you are not prepared to be number one, it can bring your server to a crashing halt when swamped by unexpected requests!

Last week Google ran a special logo in celebration of mathematician Gaston_Julia’s birthday. Clicking the logo took users to a Google image search for the terms “Julia” and “Fractal”. It just so happens that the most popular images surrounding these terms were located on a server at Swinburne University and the frequency of requests brought the server to a standstill. It was later moved to another location and is now back online.

This should be a lesson for the rest of us, if you think you may end up number one on Google, be sure that your server can handle it! Who would have thought that being in top spot could cause so much chaos.