How to stop a website crash due to high traffic

How does too much traffic crash a website?

You’d like to think that the more traffic your marketing team can drive to your website or app, the better. But is there such a thing as ‘too much of a good thing’?

You’d like to think that the more traffic your marketing department can drive to your website or app, the better. But is there such a thing as ‘too much of a good thing’?

Unfortunately, there can be when it comes to your web traffic and website crashes. If you hit the kind of figures your servers can’t adequately manage, your website and apps will stagger and stutter to perform their tasks and even crash completely.

That isn’t good for anyone. A website crash or app fail means no sales or leads.

So how much is too much traffic, and how can you avoid any possible website crash disasters?

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Where does too much website traffic come from?

You’ve carefully watched your website build pace, growing in size and attracting more traffic inflow each month, and maybe upgraded your hosting provider. As life progressed, you’ve even upped your server capacity limitations to handle the regular traffic you achieve week by week.

All of your careful monitoring has kept you safe up to now, so why on earth would your diligence fail you in future?

Here are a few reasons why site operators are blindsided more often than you’d expect, even of the best, most popular and progressive operations.

customer journey own success compared other websites crash when products drop with web code other users causes website to crash at right web host and hosting plan

1. Seasonal shopping days drive you over your peak

You’ve got a good handle on how much traffic flew through your homepage and your checkout system last year, but can you guarantee it’s going to be the same this year? Unfortunately, so many businesses underestimate what another year can do to grow their traffic and how much more popular online trading becomes over each year that sails by, and their websites crash.

All it takes is one deal or special event to make the headlines or a single must-have product to drive your figures over your limiting factors, resulting in a crashed website when your product drops. Black Friday, Christmas promotions, January Sales—have you really catered for every eventuality?

2. Unexpected traffic spikes

One of the biggest issues coming out of the unknown is receiving unexpected mainstream press coverage or a viral push from an unforeseen source. Without a chance to plan for your product featuring on a TV show, being worn by a superstar or highly praised by a social media influencer, the subsequent traffic overload from the unexpected traffic spike they deliver can shut your website down before you’ve had a chance to react to the news.

There are also events from less than respectable sources that drive traffic to unexpecting websites. For example, bot traffic and black hat operations are designed to crash sites, bringing awareness to a particular cause - your site just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

3. Marketing campaigns that go far better than you expect

Okay, so your monthly emails and social media channels or online advertising bring roughly the same amount of visits and sales each month. But what about that stroke of genius coming from your marketing department that hits hundreds of brand new markets and new leads?

If you've failed to prepare for a high-volume day of traffic, you won’t just lose the sales from that day when your site crashes, but all the return and repeat business when your brand’s customer confidence hits zero for all those new would-have-been customers.

4. A new product, collection, event or appearance drives you over the limit

Product launches and single-day special events are some of the big-hitting traffic drivers that can cripple an ill-prepared business with system requests. Pre-event and pre-sales traffic is often enough to warn you of what’s ahead, or it could even be enough to choke your system before the promotion even launches. Being prepared for a big hit from more customers means preparing for all of its in-roads— that might drive traffic - not just sale day.

5. A new third party system is added

Website and app technology is a fast moving field. Your developers may be adding additional modules or services to your site's code all the time. The impact of third party systems involved in the production of your pages or handling of your transactions on the ability of the system to cope with high traffic levels is often overlooked when considering code changes, and can even be a source of unauthorized load. If third party systems, third party integrations or payment gateways mean you have insufficient resources or lead to a memory leak, your website will ultimately crash.

High online traffic crashing a website looks like a broken dam flooding a town in a disaster movie. Or what about those Boxing Day sales queues you see outside your favorite high-street retailer, whose teams and floor space are going to be overwhelmed as soon as they open the doors at 9am? You might see the same effect on an online retailer's site too.

For your web servers, there just isn’t the processing power available to manage excessive volumes of traffic. The result is grinding everything to a halt until the problem gets sorted. That's how high traffic crashes websites. Once the site starts to experience technical difficulties, it may not come back up again even when the high traffic abates - a frequent problem is that visitors already on the site refresh the page whenever it is slow or comes back with a hosting error page, processing capacity resources error or broken code error, so when the website crashes due to high traffic, it may stay crashed.

app performs for devoted group of checkout counters when visitor levels of end users for limited quantity website to crash with too many shoppers website crashes with inadequate hosting plan or code errors for web host landing page

What should you do with your overflow traffic?

The solution is to distribute your website or app traffic into areas where it’s safe yet still has access to your website at a pace your system can comfortably manage with its processing capacity resources. When you redirect excess users and their additional requests away from your bottleneck processes, it means that they can process faster. This prevents website crashes.

You could pay for those additional web servers that will comfortably cater for every last user you could possibly attract, but then that’s a lot of wasted resources for the days you only use a tiny percentage of their capabilities. It doesn't make sense to pay for overly robust website infrastructure capacity when you only have insufficient resources some of the time.

It would be like paying for a fleet of gigantic trucks to deliver a few pizzas to the next street. Of course, for the few days each year that you need to transport 100,000 pizzas to the opposite end of the country, those trucks are incredibly handy, but for the other 360 days—you could drop those boxes off from the back of your bike. And all those empty trucks? When you’re not using them, they’re just draining your pocket in parking fees and maintenance costs.

Could there possibly be a way of efficiently managing high online traffic overflows that don’t mean investing in architecture or a more expensive hosting plan or dedicated server that you don’t need? Of course there is.

A comfortable queuing solution keeps everyone informed, aware, calm and content, and prevents website crashes from high traffic

Our online queuing system filters out your overflow of website visitors into a simple, seamlessly delivered digital waiting room—in your company colors, brandishing your logo, speaking in your brand voice, keeping everyone calm, comfortable, and collected during high online traffic conditions, resulting in more sales end eliminating high traffic crashes. It's fair for website visitors with poor internet connection too.

Queue-Fair offers the most accurate Virtual Waiting Room on the market, managing traffic inflow perfectly for you and your website visitors on your busy days.')

To prevent frustration rising during web traffic peaks, each customer is kept up to date with the information they need: where they are in the queue, how many customers are in front of them, how long it will be before it’s their turn and that the queue runs on an entirely fair, first-come, first-served basis, providing a responsive experience across the whole user journey, resulting in more customers.

Understanding that they’re being taken care of and that they’ll get those festival tickets or new trainers in just a few minutes, they’ll be happy to sit tight while your system catches up with its backlog.

Heavy traffic means a problem - but only if you’ve failed to prepare for web traffic peaks

Your virtual waiting room might only kick in a handful of times each year, but you’ll be so glad it's there when it does. It’s the safety net that will save your high traffic websites over and over again. It will help you boost customer confidence, conversions, and your top line figures. Isn’t it time you talked to our team before any one of those disasters we spoke about strikes?

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