Is your website traffic experiencing a sudden surge, rise in flow, or are you planning for a big brand awareness breakout? No matter what the root cause, website traffic is a serious consideration for any site owner. Whether you are a big brand or a small one, new to marketing or suddenly virally popular, it is vital to take your website traffic seriously. You need to prepare for both sudden and gradual increases in traffic because the moment your servers start to strain, customers could start seeing negative results.
Website traffic is a sign of your success; increasing your search engine relevance and serving as proof to advertisers that your website is worth investing in. But it’s also burden on your servers and must be handled much the same way maximum capacity in a conference center might be. Too many people visiting your site can cause problems ranging from slow page loading to a complete DDOS website crash. This is exactly why you need to prepare your website when high traffic is expected. But how?
That is what we are here to talk about today. Join us as we dive into the top six things you should do to bolster your website to handle high traffic and even higher web resource demands.
1) Upgrade Your Server Size
Most websites start small, even for big existing brands. During development and perhaps even the first few months online, it can make sense to use a small efficient server to run the website. Using a smaller cloud server saves money on uptime and ensures you are only paying for the server resources you need. But developers and web admins aren’t the only ones making demands on your server. Every visiting customer and lead who opens your website requires resources from your web server.
When you’re ready to open your site and/or are expecting a large rise in website traffic, it’s the right time to upgrade your server size. Cloud server size packages usually come with a combination of static and active memory. RAM is very important for website memory because it controls how much your server can ‘think about’ at the same time. In this case, serving hundreds to thousands of visiting customers at once. It also increases the amount of data for customer accounts and services you can store on the web server itself.
2) Stress-Test Your Website
Once you have upgraded the size of your web servers, it’s also important to test your website to ensure it can handle the stress of a large traffic load. Many websites perform perfectly with just a few developers or a handful of daily visitors on the site. But once traffic picks up, it’s not unusual to see bugs and performance problems that never appeared before. This is because stress on a website can cause errors in data flow, page serving, and even the accuracy of the data your site receives from customers. Especially if a large number of people are trying to shop and purchase all at once.
This is why it’s important to stress-test your website above and beyond your expected daily traffic. A stress-test can simulate the amount of strain your server will be put under when dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of visitors begin using your website during the day. Stress testing is also the best way for website owners to see how their site will look to customers during your busiest hours, not just how the site look in low-impact development mode.
3) Increase Your Speed
Page loading speed has never mattered more than it does today. Once it was simply a matter of good digital customer service. But now, search engines rank your relevance and page position based on how quickly your pages can load on demand. Any one of your pages that is a potential search result will be tested and judged based on how quickly it can serve data to online visitors.
This is done because search engines don’t want a reputation for sending people to crummy sites. But the result has been a race to the top in terms of page speed load. The faster you can get your pages to load, the more punch your on-site SEO efforts can pack. Fortunately, there are a number of different ways to improve your page load speed. You can lighten the load on web design, images, and videos. You can beef up your server resources and stress-test to shake out any high-traffic performance issues. You can also use tools made specifically to provide faster page load to your online visitors, even balancing load priorities if necessary.
4) Reinforce Your Cyber-Security
Next, make sure your cyber security is top-notch. Nothing attracts hackers like a high-traffic website. High traffic means a target-rich environment. And if you sell anything, the temptation doubles for hackers. Because if you sell something, that means your website runs credit cards. And if your website runs credit cards, those numbers and that sensitive customer data can be stolen for fraud and other ill purposes.
This means that any website experiencing or expecting high traffic needs to have the best cybersecurity defense that IT professionals can build for you. Firewalls, anti-virus software, encryption, and login security are all “A Must” when defending your website from hacker attention. Network monitoring and managed IT services can also be critical to catching a hacker attack in-action and stopping it before disaster strikes.
5) Encrypt All Back-End Data
Speaking of cybersecurity, encryption is non-negotiable for any website determined to keep data safe. Encryption, in fact, is a great stop-gap measure during your cybersecurity setup to ensure that any hackers who slip through the cracks still walk away empty-handed. The key to encryption is that data is stored in a way that is completely unreadable to anyone who does not have correct and authorized access.
Encrypting your back-end data ensures that your databases of customer information, credit card numbers, and internal company secrets simply cannot be stolen. Even if a hacker copies and gets away with an entire database of sensitive data, they will be unable to parse it out of the gibberish that encryption stores it in. In other words, hackers who steal encrypted data get nothing and your customers are safe.
6) Update Your Backup Recovery System
Finally, invest in recover backup. When a hacker’s goal is purely destructive or controlling, you can’t always count on them stealing data and running away. As with ransomware and worm-type malware, sometimes the hacker just wants to take full control or simply destroy your files. When this happens, the best way to thumb your nose at the hacker and maintain business-as-usual is to have a comprehensive backup recovery plan.
Remember, a hacker cannot remain in your system if you wipe devices to factory settings. No matter how nasty the hack or malware might be. And after wiping to factory settings, a fully detailed backup can be loaded right back up to bring your office to a state as if it had never been hacked in the first place. Sometimes, mere minutes after the cybersecurity disaster took place.
Is your website ready for high traffic and an upswell of customers? If not, there’s still time to start making upgrades to both website performance and security. Contact us today to find out more about what your website needs as it grows and becomes more popular than ever.