WalkScore.com – Another Web Hosting Success Story
Today, It was WalkScore.com. The website offers some great information about which neighborhood/city is more walkable than the rest (San francisco was #1 and Seattle was #6). Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. I think it is a great site for those who are consider moving to a new neighborhood or those who simply like the car-free lifestyle, especially because the gas prices are setting new records everyday.
This Seattle-based innovative startup hit almost all the major newspapers, blogs and websites last week from SF Chronicle to Washington Post, Los Angeles Times Blog to ABC News, From USA Today to MSNBC.
In an email, Matt Lerner from WalkScore says:
We would never have weathered being the #1 story on Yahoo! yesterday if it weren’t for Amazon! THANK YOU!
We’re a hybrid-philanthropy business which means we prioritize social good over profit–and therefore we’re on a pretty tight infrastructure budget :-) What’s so great about Amazon cloud computing is that it was very cheap from an infrastructure and dev standpoint for us to scale up quickly. In a nutshell we have only one physical web server and didn’t want to deal with the expense of a hardware upgrade so:
- We set up 4 EC2 instances to serve the walkability heat map tiles you see overlaid on top of the Google maps. Here is Seattle for example.
- We moved all of our images, CSS, and JS files to Amazon S3 which took a big load off of our one web server.
- We were able to accommodate a spike of about 80K unique visitors during a three hour period thanks to Amazon
One great article which I would like to highlight is How We Built a Web Hosting Infrastructure on EC2. Its a nice read if you are trying to host your website on Amazon EC2.