Everybody loves a website that has a great amount of traffic and engagement. Increasing traffic is a good indication that your website is valued by your visitors and has quality content. But it is also vital that you think about the user’s experience, content placement, colour distribution, and how SEO friendly your website is. While you are positively dealing with these problems, your website is likely to draw more attention and traffic. Viral content or special occasions can be expected to create high spikes in user visits.
This is a good thing for you and your business. But this is also where you need to start making arrangements to handle a sudden high volume of traffic to your website. Ignoring this fact will cause your audience to start losing faith in your website. Below are a few consequences and tips for tackling this problem.
- Your website won’t perform at 100%
High traffic means you need to have a higher bandwidth in your webserver to allow all the concurrent users to roam your website freely. Not having enough bandwidth will create congestion for users, and what comes to our mind with this word?
Yes. Traffic jams.
Users will experience a slow site, and this will negatively impact their experience.
- Your website will not be available to extra users
Unavailability is the worst-case scenario that your website can go through due to a lack of bandwidth. It will cost your site visitors, and they will soon lose faith in your page. Thus, reducing re-visits to your website by new visitors and causing your website to start rolling tumbleweeds.
How do you survive pandemic traffic attacks?
While this isn’t a big problem to overcome, website owners can take some immediate precautions to handle these situations.
- Minimize Content On-The-Fly
Most websites build platforms that operate on the content on-the-fly principle which adds continuous work to the servers each time a web page is requested by a user. The increasing work to a server is another way a website will ill-perform due to a lack of extra processing power to allocate over the available resources.
Server caching is an easy solution to overcome this problem. These will cache pre-built web pages for a short period of time and will show the users a cached version of the website. Reducing the need for processing power to load a brand new web page each time. One downside of this technique is that changes to the website may not reflect immediately to the users until the cached version of the webpage expires.
- Content delivery from the closest
Using a content delivery network or a CDN will pay off if you have a collection of static resources. The CDN will eliminate the need of your server to load the resources as the CDN will load all the resources from a closer server to the website visitor. This will free up the processing load from the application hosting server and distribute work within the CDN servers.
- Getting a better server
Opting in with a hosting service that is flexible and can supply resources on demand can be a permanent solution for this type of requirement. In this scenario, a VPS managed or unmanaged is preferable to a shared hosting service.
Amazon and Google are a couple of providers that have costing plans based on the processing power used by your website. Cost-wise these services might be over budget for a basic website.
- Use of load balancers
Load balancers are physical or virtual devices that efficiently distribute network traffic across a number of servers in a clustered server farm. With load balancers, we are able to monitor traffic and redirect users to alternative server nodes based on user country, current traffic status and down/up status of one or multiple servers. Adding load balancers benefits you in a lot more ways than simply handling traffic to your website.
This is a comparatively more expensive solution.
- Virtual Waiting Rooms
While the above tactics are determined to serve all the concurrent visitors of your website, the virtual waiting rooms take on a different approach. These are built to detect abnormal traffic increases against the available resources of your hosting server and puts the extra users in a queue that will be shown as a waiting page.
By keeping the users on a waiting page, virtual rooms try to achieve two tasks. One is to avoid the server from crashing due to resource exhaustion and the other is directing the next in queue user to the actual website when resources are free and able. This option might not be everyone’s cup of tea as the waiting time for a user is unpredictable.
With advanced innovations available, maintaining website availability and smooth operation is not your biggest thing to worry about in this era. Users can settle for one solution or a combination of solutions to retain availability based on a customer’s requirements and budget.