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In IT, the phrase “hug of death” is used to describe a situation where the posting of an item on a particular website leads to an exponential amount of traffic that eventually compromises the accessibility of the item posted. A hug of death is essentially the result of something going viral because of its posting on a certain Web platform.
Many uses of this phrase have been traced to the social media site Reddit. In many instances, posts somewhere on the Web would appear on Reddit and then go viral, driving huge amounts of traffic to the former than they previously had. This can overwhelm servers or compromise applications. It is common for some websites to become inaccessible owing to the huge traffic from a more prominent website hosted on the same servers as the former. Since hug of death may occur in various re-posting situations, webmasters need to evaluate CPU and memory resources to prepare for such an eventuality.