Surging website traffic is a dream come true for ecommerce entrepreneurs, but it can turn into a nightmare pretty fast if your servers aren't equipped to handle the onslaught of more visitors and sales.
Website crashes are disastrous for ecommerce platforms. Also, downtimes and slow-performing websites impact visitors negatively, causing them to exit the website. In fact, a 1-second delay in website load can result in a loss of 11% of website traffic.
Therefore, it is imperative to take proactive steps to address your website issues related to performance. Let's find out what causes websites to slow down and eventually crash.
Reasons For Website Crashes
It could be a lag in security or a backend server that's too slow for your needs. Whatever the reason may be, the fact of the matter is that there's no excuse for a slow or dead website.
If you are worried about your website, look out for the following issues that may cause its early demise:
This happens when a webmaster or coder messed something up while maintaining or updating the website. If you experience a website crash after knowing someone was working on it, it probably crashed because of a code error.
With advanced technology and software, many websites on the Internet have bots. These bots often carry virus software that can crawl all over the Internet looking for websites to attack. These are forms of malicious attacks that can cause damage to your website and lead to a crash. To protect your website from these bots, you can use website antivirus software during your site monitoring, to detect any malware or suspicious activity.
Another type of website attack that can leave your website exposed to threats and vulnerabilities is an outside attack from a hacker. One of the most common hacking attacks is called a DDoS, in which a hacker overwhelms your website traffic, causing your website to crash.
Sometimes your website may suffer downtime because of insufficient space on its hosting plan. This happens when your hosting plan isn't updated, or your website suddenly grows new followers. Fortunately, a simple way to fix this is to contact your hosting providers and change your hosting plan to a larger one that would suit your needs.
When there are too many people on your website at the same time, it can cause your server to malfunction and crash, unable to withstand the heavy load. For example: you might have noticed websites crashing down or taking hours to load on Black Friday. That is usually due to a surge of heavy traffic that the server is unable to stand.
7 Actionable Tips To Prevent Web Shop Crashes
Here are some practical tips that can help you make sure that your webshop doesn't crash.
Invest In A Good Web Host
We have already seen the consequences of a website crash, especially when your visitor is in the middle of surfing on your site. Moreover, 87% of people exit a website if it takes more than 2 seconds to load, making website speed crucial.
The right web hosting plan can make all the difference with offering a good experience to your website visitors. If you're expecting a high amount of traffic on your site, it is preferable to choose a shared hosting plan. A shared hosting plan has multiple websites using an 'unlimited' bandwidth, which increases your website's speed. You will also need a higher RAM amount, a fast-loading storage device, SSD, and a quick processor.
The SSD system stores all the secondary data of your frequently accessed applications, so when a visitor visits your website, it loads at a faster rate as compared to a traditional HDD loading system. And with a faster RAM, your website can process and transfer information more quickly to other components on the site.
Keep It Up-To-Date
Making regular updates to your website is important for several reasons. It is essential to spot any vulnerabilities, but it can also help you manage your website traffic. It is ideal for updating your website as it shows new updates. Delaying it to a later date will make it prone to vulnerabilities and lead to unexpected technical problems.
Additionally, updating your website is a precaution that every website owner should take. Sometimes a site may crash because it couldn't handle all the load, making you lose all your data.
Monitor Site Performance
Checking the software that powers your site is important, because older versions of software often have bugs that could lead to website crashes. Additionally, your IT department will benefit from tracking how your website behaves during different situations, identifying the areas for improvement. Instead of waiting for a problem to occur and then finding solutions, monitoring site performance can identify potential loopholes, helping the IT department to develop backup solutions before-hand.
You can monitor your site performance by making sure it is loading at its optimal speed, testing it on multiple devices such as mobile devices, and ensuring that website caches are stored.
Run Website Tests
Manual and automated testing are additional ways of making sure that your website is working properly. While automated testing is conducted using special software tools, manual testing is performed by a human who manually executes all the steps required for website testing.
Take your pick from free software and cloud-testing tools such as Pingdom and Uptrends. These can give detailed insights into your website's functionality, so there is no excuse for you not to get a website test run.
Making backups is super important because sometimes your website can crash against all odds, even if you take all the precautions. You can work with a professional web hosting service to ensure a backup is made at every site development stage. This way, even if your website crashes due to high traffic, you can be at peace about getting things organized and running again in a timely manner.
A part of your strategy to optimize your site performance includes identifying heavy database requests, and limiting them according to various measures - such as the number of requests, the size of requests, etc. Here are a few ways you can optimize your site's performance:
- Use a content distribution network (CDN) to freeze up your static pages (e.g. the policy pages) and free up any extra space to focus on dynamic pages (e.g. checkout pages)
- Avoid using large-sized images. These images may take up most of the time to load, decreasing your website load speed. The solution is to find a balance between the lowest file size and acceptable quality. By choosing the right file format for your image, you can decrease the image size by almost 5 times, which helps load your website faster
- Reduce the use of plug-ins wherever possible, because many times plugins perform complex actions in terms of backend processing, which can slow down the website.
Manage traffic inflow
Website traffic management refers to controlling the number of visitors or the type of visitors that can visit your website at a given time. Controlling traffic is important, as it can generate more leads and sales for your website.
An unexpectedly large amount of traffic causes bottlenecks in your website's processing, to the point that no further requests can be served, eventually resulting in a site crash.
To deal with this phenomenon, redirect users to a virtual waiting room where they have to wait while a certain number of visitors’ shop on-site. This can control the influx of visitors on your website at a given time, helping to maintain server speed.
A site crashing or going down is always a huge deal. That's why it is imperative to handle the issue with the utmost care and priority. A website facing downtime or crashing is something that even the biggest companies have to face.
The key is to safeguard your site from these issues. Hopefully, the tips mentioned above can help you optimize your site's speed and performance and minimize any problems that this downtime may cause to your business.