The weblog comment spam problem has implications beyond crowded inboxes for users. Even with tools such as the incredible MT-Blacklist (which has blocked or moderated tens of thousands of comment spams on birdhouse-hosted blogs in the past few months), each request still requires a CGI process and a database request. When the spambots launch their massive onslaughts, shared hosting environments reel from the resource requirements. The problem has reached a critical threshold, and the muckety mucks at SixApart are coming out of the woods to address it head-on:
So it looks like patches will be released in the next few days to address the biggest issues for web hosts. I like the fact that they’re approaching this not just as an MT problem but as an issue that affects all online discussion forums. The key to satisfying frustrated web hosts will be in creating a solution that can somehow block comment spam blitzkriegs without having to make a CGI and/or database call for every incoming request. It’s a hard problem to solve.
Update: Very good read on the many aspects and dimensions of comment spam load issues over at photodude. Throwing more hardware at the problem doesn’t make it go away (drooling over the server described there). Long comment section, also worth reading. One comment on the question of whether dynamic or statically generated sites fare better under this kind of load:
Also, last month, my husband and I shut down WordPress on the colo server we share with 3 other people, because … hits from comment spammers were making everything so slow. So we installed prerendering, which, if I’m reading this correctly, takes away the advantage of WP being dynamic(?) [right – this would make a dynamic site behave like a static site; you can’t win. -SFH].