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This is quite a lot for a website (only something like Google, Facebook, Blogger, or You Tube would store more data), but in a world where 2TB drives are cheap and plentiful, this isn’t ultimately a very large amount.

Last year we wrote about a Backblaze storage pod that can store 135TB in a 4U case, for just ,400.

The main difference between porn and non-porn sites is the average duration of a visit: For a news site like Engadget or Extreme Tech, an average visit is usually between three and six minutes; enough time to read one or two stories.

This comes to around 29 petabytes of data transferred every month, or .

To put this into comparison, your home internet connection is probably capable of transferring a couple of megabytes per second, which is about 25,000 times smaller.

In short, porn sites cope with astronomical amounts of data.

The only sites that really come close in term of raw bandwidth are You Tube or Hulu, but even then You Porn is something like six times larger than Hulu.

that the size and scale of adult websites truly comes into focus.

We’ll start by laying the ground work, and then on the second page we have some real world figures from You Porn, the second largest porn site on the web.

Actual hardware requirements are almost impossible to derive (they’re not publicized), but in the case of a large porn site we’re probably talking about racks of quad-CPU servers, gigabit switches, and load balancers.

Software-wise, most large porn sites will use a very-high-throughput database such as Redis to store and serve videos, and a light-weight HTTP server like Nginx to serve up the web pages. Referring back to our Xvideos example (based on an Ad Planner estimate), a large porn site will have to have enough connectivity to serve up 50 gigabytes per second, or 400Gbps.

According to Google’s Double Click Ad Planner, which tracks users across the web with a cookie, dozens of adult destinations populate the top 500 websites.

Xvideos, the largest porn site on the web with 4.4 billion page views per month, is three times the size of CNN or ESPN, and twice the size of Reddit. You Porn, Tube8, and Pornhub — they’re all vast, vast sites that dwarf almost everything except the Googles and Facebooks of the internet.

When you stream porn, assuming a low resolution of 480×200, you’re looking at around 100 kilobytes per second — which, over 15 minutes, is around 90 megabytes.

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