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My site has been on the front page a few times.

Concurrent requests were usually in the 400-800 range depending on where it ranked and what it was about. That's going by Google Analytics too which means it's likely higher since devs tend to disable as much tracking as possible.

nginx won't even break a sweat if you're on a low end VPS and are serving static content. You'll have pretty much the same latency as serving 1 concurrent request (single digit milliseconds + whatever network latency there is between your server and the visitor).

I have once handled a website being HNed and /.ed a few years ago. The issue turned out to be the default Apache config from distro, which was very ill-suited for such traffic, generating tons of processes which struggled to run on a small VPS. Switching to nginx fixed it; I suppose switching Apache to mpm_event model (or even just tuning the threading configuration) would be enough too.

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