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Big Plans? Don’t Let Your hosting get in the way

HA247 Blog By Esmond Hastings, Mar 2019

More traffic is great for your business. But problems can arise when your hosting can’t handle that attention.

Whether you’re in the midst of a big marketing campaign or have a national radio or TV spot in the pipeline, your digital resources must be working as smoothly as ever and able to deal with the increased traffic. That’s what great hosting can give you – a robust capability for the new wave of interest and business that you’re about to attract.

How to make a server system work with you, instead of against you.

Prepare ahead of time

If you know a spike in traffic is likely (Black Friday for instance), inform your hosting provider. Let them know an estimate of traffic and an expected duration. They can then scale up your infrastructure in advance.

  • E-commerce websites use up much more data. If the buyer can’t browse, unable to add items to their basket or have to wait more than 3 seconds for their webpage to load, they’ll go somewhere else.
  • Homepages can crash if too many users try to access it at once. This often happens to businesses when they’ve shot up in the search rankings thanks to a public media appearance. Solid infrastructure, caching and reliability can be well prepared to prevent this, but their IT infrastructure wasn’t. A sluggish website will give all of those new visitors the wrong impression, undermining your brand’s exposure.
  • Widespread marketing campaigns – with, for example, a successful SEO strategy – rely on great server support. Otherwise, you’re effectively leading users to a site that doesn’t function well, which again potentially loses new business or sales.

You may be able to run a hypothetical test (load testing) with simulated traffic to see how your site will cope, this will flush out resource issues. A hosting provider can do this for you, producing a report after the test that states how well your website did under this added pressure and how much load it can handle, advising on any measures that need to be taken.

If you are on the Cloud you should be able to automatically scale up when hit with extra traffic, however make sure that you budget for this as it can come as a nasty shock when you receive your hosting bill.

If you have a dedicated server and you think that your traffic might significantly increase, talk to your provider early to mitigate any negative effects. With a bit of planning some providers will enable you to upgrade your current plan on a temporary basis.

Prepare as much as you can in advance by minimising load time. Optimise content like images and videos, keep file sizes low, and consider compressing your web pages so that the visitor’s browser does all the work.

Cache your website pages

As custom hosting experts, we often use a cache technique to give our clients the assurance they’re looking for. Cache relates to the data stored after each ‘function’, i.e. whenever a website loads up. If thousands of people are browsing simultaneously, we don’t have to force a server to do this every time because the page’s data is already there. As long as the website doesn’t change with each load request, we can replicate it from a single cache. That removes the burden from direct, live server processing.

Move from shared to dedicated

If your spike becomes a regular increase in traffic, you may want to upgrade permanently – from shared to a dedicated server or to the cloud.

While shared, cloud-based servers are great for a boost in performance every now and again as they are flexible and scalable and allow you to manage fluctuations in traffic.

Private, multi-cloud servers can spread the hardware burden, acting as numerous independent servers. Dedicated servers are, on the other hand, physical. Both are ideal if you’re expecting your site to have a vast number of visitors every day.

Tailored hosting ensures you’re ready

As custom hosting experts, we know that the secret to preparation is scalability. We employ caching techniques to give our clients the assurance they’re looking for, and we automate our solutions so that they respond to incoming traffic.

We also monitor all our servers in real time, constantly examining and testing websites so that we can immediately alert our clients to a spike in traffic.

Whether you’re expecting a boost to your brand’s profile or don’t want to be caught unaware, be sure to have a system in place that can deal with any situation. Speak to us today for more advice.