The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for e-commerce stores and websites. Many potential buyers will come to your website expecting a smooth and stable experience while they browse through the catalog and purchase items. One of the challenges for every store owner is to keep the website up and running smoothly under traffic spikes. Here are some tips that can help prepare your website for high traffic.

1. Move Your Website from a Traditional Shared hosting to VPS Hosting or Dedicated Hosting

If your e-commerce website is still hosted on a traditional shared hosting, you should upgrade it to at least a VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting because your website needs more resources (disk space, memory, bandwidth) for higher performance during high traffic periods.

A traditional shared hosting puts your website into an underpowered, oversold server along with thousands of other clients while sharing the same server resources. Your hosting will not allow you to install any software for your website because it can affect other clients. Also, if other websites are using a lot of resources during high traffic peaks, your website will slow down because they can take your resources anytime they need it.

A VPS (Virtual Private Server) is a server that splits itself into multiple virtual servers that are isolated from each other in terms of resources and operating system. You can install software for your website because it resides on your own copy of operating system. You also do not have to worry about other people taking your resources because each client is allocated with a fixed amount of resources according to your hosting plan. However, there’s still chances that your website will slow down or shutdown during peak times because a VPS is still one physical server after all and has a limitation in terms of overall resources.

Dedicated hosting is for websites with very high traffic that cannot afford to share resources with anyone. Each website will have its own physical server and all resources of the server are dedicated just for it. Although this is the most expensive plan out of the three, it is also the most stable and fastest hosting available.

Hosting Resources Infographic

2. Page Cache and CDN

Although the higher hosting plan will allow you to use more resources, you should also be focusing on lowering the amount of resources that your website needs. It takes time and resources to dynamically gather all the necessary data and render the information on the page every time it loads.

Page cache allows a website to store certain dynamic parts of web pages that normally result in a database request in cache files so it can be delivered faster for future requests. Database requests can be costly and slow down your website if it contains a lot of information. By calling information from files instead of a database, the speed of your website has potential to increase.

CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a system of distributed servers that can speed up a website by choosing the best server to deliver web contents based on the geolocation of the user. A CDN works by storing cached web content on multiple servers in different locations. When a user visits a web page, CDN will choose the best (typically the closest) server to deliver web content for that user. It speeds up your website by utilizing page caching as well as shorter geo distance content requests.

CDN locations and infographic map

3. Always maintain a backup of your website

Just like how you need to get insurance for your car in case of accidents and emergency, you also need to get insurance for your website. Even if your website is hosted on the best hosting in the world, like Google and Facebook, they can go down in rare times. If you accidentally delete all the products in your e-commerce store or if your hosting server goes down and you don’t have a backup of your site during the holiday season, you will lose a lot of money if you cannot put your site back up quickly. That’s why you always need to have a recent backup of your website ready to be deployed in case of an emergency. There are even times when you cannot recover any data of your website if you choose a bad hosting. Backup files can be a lifesaver in many cases.

Backing up your e-commerce store for the holidays

If you need suggestions on hosting plan, CDN providers or backup solutions, contact Ready Artwork today!