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we have a really strange problem with a WordPress website. Whenever the client tweets a link to their site the whole server falls over.

No one clicks on the tweets, and its literally the moment its sent the website falls over. Does twitter send some kind of bot to check the URL is legit??

There's nothing particularly unique about anything we've installed on this WordPress site, its a bespoke theme with plugins we use on lots of other sites...

Thanks!!

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    You could check your logs for anything strange. Let's hope Stephen Fry will not tweet the same link ;-) – birgire May 21 '15 at 18:58
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Yes, Twitter does scan a tweeted URL. It needs to do that to determine if page contains Twitter Card markup. If I remember right trying to detect and block malicious links was also implied when they started to forcefully wrap all links in their own shortener.

See URL Crawling & Caching for details on their bot.

That said the bot hardly does anything that should knock servers over, if it wanted to. As per comment you should be digging through server logs for starters.

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