Glastonbury Ticket Site Update

Three years ago I wrote a detailed post with observations and advice on the Glastonbury Festival ticket sale, and how their website appears to work. Again, I was involved in the big refresh this year, trying to buy tickets for friends and family.

I wasn’t successful in purchasing tickets this year, although my sister was able to buy two sets of tickets (I.e go through the checkout process twice). I also spent a lot of time dealing with a grey page, with connection errors and the like, like many people.

Immediately after the sale, after the tickets sold out, the pages refreshed fine. This suggested to me that it’s not just about traffic this year – they are likely using IP rate limiting. This explains several things:

  1. Before the sale, people were advised not to try to buy tickets from commercial premises (typically these share one IP address).
  2. See tickets repeated the advice to only use one device during the sale.
  3. Emily Eavis again repeated the same advice during the sale.

This change means that my previous advice about using multiple tabs with a refresh plugin to your browser with an auto refresh feature may actually be counterproductive now.

In fact, although I was unable to get the registration page with this Uber-refresh approach, my stepdad got the registration page on his tablet over a Mifi 4G connection, and my sister got the registration page twice (and successfully booked tickets) only using two browser windows, one in incognito mode.

This doesn’t tell us anything for sure really, but I strongly suspect the traffic volume approach will no longer help you get through and book tickets.

I’ll be researching this a bit more and coming up with some updated advice for those who missed out to use in the resale. 

There are some other techniques that can now be used instead, including using a VPN to improve chances of success in the future.


One thought on “Glastonbury Ticket Site Update

  1. Yep i know this struggle too – drop me an email for a collaboration approach. Although yes, it may be the case of rate limiting, there is more of an issue with actually getting connected in the first place.

    Think of the mass amounts of visitors over that short space of 45 min, its like an organised DDos attack on the servers… There is only so many concurrent connections a load balancer can take and redirect, and there will be thousands of people trying to get through that load balancer every second.

    It may be a good way to script something (which I am at the moment) to check for a connection straight through into the server, and then open a browser window with the same cookie/session id as if you were on a browser going straight through.

    It’s a hard one to call without knowledge of their server setup and how their scripts are set to load up pages or who gets access or not.

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