As we approach a decade on the road and nine years of running this corner of the web, I’d like to share a little of how we do it.
This site has been built, rebuilt, overhauled, torn down and reconstructed by two people who pretend they’re retired. They have written code in a dozen languages, custom built next generation servers and designed an overall network application that generally just works. Along the way they have moderated an ocean of user submitted campsites and reviews. They do this because they enjoy the work and think it makes the world a better place in some small way.
Over the last four or five years, there has been some commercial interest in what we do. We’ve had the occasional offer to ‘buy freecampsites’ from people that don’t get why we do what we do. That’s flattering, but we’re still interested in doing what we do and don’t really trust anyone whose first questions are about money to continue doing what we think should be done.
What’s not flattering are the denial of service (DoS) attacks aimed at shutting the site down. In recent years, we’ve had events that look like an earthquake hit our servers. We see fake users flooding in, attempting to exhaust our resources. These events often last weeks or more. The goal of these attacks is to keep you from using this site.
We handle all of these attacks in the same way: we monitor our systems to insure our services are not affected.
DoS attacks are a fact of life on the Internet and have been for decades. Our cluster was attacked professionally, just to watch it scream, before these kids even got a chance to play.
Our application, web cluster and network were all built by a couple of unix hackers with backgrounds in telecommunications and streaming media. They do capacity planning. They do disaster planning. They prepare for actual earthquakes and they do it on a budget.
If we had to pay the people that design our systems and write our software, this wouldn’t be a thing.
However, if you want to pay them, I understand they are panhandling over there.