Howdy all – we did some research on scaling up on a budget, and the results are here:

Using the same approach we’ve been able to set up a site that tested up to 5,000 concurrent visitors but, once we undid some things that caused stability problems we pulled back to about 3,500. Currently the site has a fail-over server but we could put a load balancer in front and pretty much double the capacity very quickly. That sort of load means a client with a million page views a month ticks over on a cheap 8GB VPS with a typical load average of 0.6 on a four processor machine.