Reddit rival Voat has announced that it is currently being hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack by unknown hackers.
"In case you were wondering why most third party apps for Voat haven't been working for the last 8 hours or so - we are under DDoS. Again," Voat wrote, quoting a CloudFlare support engineer.
"In order to keep Voat at least somewhat responsive, we've bumped up CloudFlare security settings which essentially breaks most Voat third party apps currently on the market. We are sorry about this and we are working on a solution and taking this time to optimise our source code even further. What doesn't kill you - makes you stronger, right?"
At the time of publication, the website is now loading, although intermittently, and some users will still receive a message saying: "Voat is currently being kicked by a botnet."
Voat is a censorship-free alternative to Reddit that uses an almost identical layout to the hugely popular "front page of the internet".
Voat's rise has been helped by Reddit problems
On 2 July, it was announced that director of talent Victoria Taylor, one of the few people to have a paid position with Reddit, had been fired. Her departure caused a huge online protest to erupt which saw 300 of Reddit's most read subreddits being made private for over 24 hours and causing Reddit CEO Ellen Pao to resign.
During this period, Voat reported that it was receiving huge spikes in traffic, likely from Reddit users moving to the Swiss copy, and its servers were struggling to handle the increase in users. The website's administrators also confirmed that they had been approached by several venture capitalist firms keen to invest on 3 July.
However, the website has already been on the rise since May – it was initially ranked below 80,000 on Alexa, but within six weeks, it rose to become one of the top 15,000 websites online in the world, and one of the top 2,000 websites in the US.
For comparison, Reddit has 36 million registered users, 169 million monthly unique visitors and 7.55 billion page views per month. It is currently ranked 33 by Alexa globally and 10 in the US.
Voat experienced several DDoS attacks in June, and on 25 June, Voat itself reported that it had received over 700,000 unique visitors in the 30-day period ending on 25 June. "That's like, crazy and stuff," Voat's administrators said on Twitter.
Voat was also briefly taken offline when its web host Hosteurope.de terminated Voat's contracts and shut down its servers without a warning, because Voat had hosted "politically incorrect" content.