This probably isnt' a Django specific question, but I'm wondering how those "Server over capacity" messages are displayed.

Some examples:

  • Twitter's fail whale
  • Tumblr's Over capacity slash page
  • Drawception's over capacity message when new games are created.

Usually these settings are composed of a Web Server acting as a proxy to several application servers. Look at the architecture.

For these Server overload events, if any of the appservers can't process requests, they return a HTTP 50x status, in which case Nginx will serve a (generic) static error page.


One way to achieve this would to have a load balancer in between the servers and the users. If the load balancer determines that the server is taking too long to respond, or if the server is down, then the load balancer can redirect to a static "over capacity" page.

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