Prepare Your eCommerce Site for Traffic Surges

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Prepare Your Site for Traffic Surges
Promotions, product launches, viral campaigns, and more all bring huge amounts of traffic to your site – but have you considered how that will affect the performance of your website? The worst thing that can happen during high traffic surges is a loss of revenue that results from a down website. In fact, 73% of small and medium sized businesses aren’t prepared for a sudden, 200% increase in traffic. The key to taking advantage of your incoming traffic without crashing your site is to optimize your server for high traffic loads with flexible hosting infrastructure. Use these tips to discuss how prepared your site is with your IT team and managed hosting provider.

Scale Up and Down As Needed

While your current server setup may be more than sufficient to handle your current traffic load, it still may not be enough to handle a traffic surge. The best solution is a flexible hosting plan, which a managed hosting provider can steer you toward. For example, our Storm Cloud Servers allow for easy resource scaling up or down as your e-commerce site needs. Simply scale up just before an expected traffic spike, and scale down again once the traffic subsides. The beauty of the Storm Servers is you only pay for what you need, giving you the flexibility to completely control your resources.

Evenly Distribute Your Traffic

As your traffic increases due to a promotion or campaign, you run the risk of overloading and crashing one of your web servers. To prevent all that traffic from crashing your e-commerce site, think about investing in a load balancer – easily provided by a managed hosting provider. A load balancer can evenly distribute your traffic across multiple web servers, preventing any one server from being overloaded. Additionally, if one web server does happen to fail, the load balancer will redistribute your traffic amongst the rest of your servers. Spreading your traffic out among all of your servers will not only help keep your website up and running during a traffic surge, but will also reduce overall latency for site visitors – an important factor during ad campaigns or promotions.

Move Your Content Closer to Your Customers

A content delivery network, or CDN, can help lighten the load during a traffic surge, as well as improve the speed of your website for customers visiting from far away. CDNs continuously pull and cache content from your server and distribute it to secure servers around the world. When a customer, or a lot of customers like in the case of a traffic surge, attempts to access the site, they will only have to pull information from the server closest to them – rather than from your physical server. This not only meaning a faster loading website for that customer, but also places the burden of that traffic load on the CDN’s network, rather than your own server. A managed hosting provider likely has a CDN provider you can work with to server your content.

Test, Test, Test

If you’re not sure what your hosting infrastructure needs to be ready for an expected traffic surge, work with a managed hosting provider. A highly trained team, like our Heroic Support® can help test your current setup and figure out how to best optimize it for increased traffic. A few changes with your caching or plugins might significantly lower the resources your website needs, allowing more resources to be devoted to serving your incoming customers. As a managed hosting provider, we can help you test your website and infrastructure before a suspected busy time and catch any problems before they even occur.

Don’t Forget to Back Up

After you’ve followed the above steps to prevent your website from crashing during the a surge, be sure to also back up your data to a secure and offsite location, which a managed hosting provider can help you do. While we hope you won’t have to use it, up-to-date backups can help you get back online quickly if disaster occurs. It’s easier to enjoy your increased traffic if you know your database of important customer information is safe and could be easily restored in minutes.

Make sure your website can withstand any increase in traffic and rake in the dough that comes with it! If you’d like to learn more about how a managed hosting provider can set your business up for success during high traffic times, reach out anytime, 24/7/365.

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