So yesterday HackerNews and Reddit came to my site due to an unexpectedly popular blog post. The site fared fine, but my script gathering stats from access logs, which ran neglected for may be 10 years now simply noped out on account of too much data… Which wasn't all that much, actually. So I spent almost the entire day today bringing it into shape, cleaning out old crap and optimizing. So now I have working stats again :-) softwaremaniacs.org/sanestat/. Which is probably of no use to anyone else :-)

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tl;dr on the solution: the script now ignores much more dead-end referrer URLs before even trying to request them. It was constant reaching over HTTP that's been slowing it down.

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