Can Your Website Handle Cyber Monday?

By Kenna Poulos

If you’re an online retailer, you’ll likely never receive more traffic to your site in one day than you will on Cyber Monday. This is good news for your sales numbers. . . but only if users can complete transactions in a timely manner.

If your e-commerce system isn’t capable, or your network can’t process the traffic spikes, your website can’t perform. This can lead to the loss of sales and maybe even customers all together. After all, a whopping 40% of customers will leave your site if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds.

To prevent Cyber Monday-inflicted disasters, your current hosting platform needs to handle periods of high demand and implement the right tools, so visiting and shopping on your site is a great experience for customers. By knowing what features promote a good and scalable infrastructure, these traffic spikes can be maintained without negatively impacting your customer’s shopping experience.

There are several components of hosting that you and your provider should be aware of, particularly during the peak holiday website traffic season:

1. Save your customers time, and save yourself some bandwidth

During traffic spikes, it is best to use caching capabilities to handle the high flood of visitors. A cache is a web component that stores important data so it can be quickly delivered later upon request. Caching reduces load upon a server, and lag time. Caching particularly comes into play when its checkout time for your customer. (Caching is a general website best practice anyway so you should have this running year-round.)

2. Increase server performance while increasing your visitors

Your individual server will allow you to advance more resources to your website when necessary and allow the proper bandwidth to handle all your Cyber Monday deal seekers. Depending on your website or application, server resource allocation may be another viable option for handling drastic increases in your website’s visitors.

Servers have the raw computing power to chew through un-cacheable traffic spikes, however, handling load spikes on servers requires preparation. Ideally, the addition of servers should begin at least one week prior to the expected high traffic period; this will allow ample time for your build, web application configuration, and load testing processes.

3. High connection degrees mean profitable shopping sprees

To handle an expected flood of traffic, your database connections should be as high as possible. This will allow more users to access your site at one time, enabling your business to reap the rewards of Cyber Monday.

To ensure your web applications experience an optimal uptime, specifically on the hardware level, Contegix can configure High Availability (HA) solutions where there are no single points of failure; this includes redundant web heads, database servers, load balancers, firewalls, bandwidth providers and datacenters. When all HA measures are taken, your site stays online in case of an emergency.

4. Keep your store open for business with proper balancing

It’s important for load balancers to provide the highest degree of flexibility so they can adapt to your infrastructure securely and ensure your site has the scalability to balance your visitor intake. Balancing visitor loads prevents your application server level from becoming a single point of failure, improving your website’s responsiveness and availability – keeping your eCommerce site open for business.

5. On Cyber Monday, time is money … don’t lose either

Network Latency issues with your site could affect its usability, as well as how enjoyable it is to your visitors. One solution is to enable a gzip compression tool, which will minimize objects and pages before being sent. Compression reduces the amount of bandwidth needed to serve pages on your website at the cost of slightly higher CPU usage.

Contegix accounts for congestion and latency issues within its network by utilizing multiple 10GBs counts with very low network utilization. Doing so ensures your customers don’t get frustrated by a long and arduous checkout process and leave your website – and a shopping cart full of bargains.

Tip: Even if you’re certain you’re prepared for the traffic spikes, contact your web hosting team and let them know how you’re getting ready for the peak in shoppers (i.e., sales plans, marketing techniques, new site features, etc.). Doing so could help them address any unplanned occurrences on that Monday, along with the expected spikes.

Employing proper caching, server, connectivity, balancing, and latency practices are crucial to any online vendor at any time. To achieve optimal performance on Cyber Monday, scalability is essential to your success.

Having a properly functioning website on the biggest online shopping day of the year will mean satisfied customers and more revenue for your business. By being Cyber Monday ready, you can control anticipated traffic spikes and have a great day for sales.