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How to Prepare Your Magento Website for Traffic Spikes?

17.10.2019

Black Friday is just around the corner. But is your online store ready for it? 

With some great deals ready and all the necessary preparations made. You have all your products sorted out to the smallest of details, with your sales and marketing activities perfectly aligned. 

But what will you do if too many people visit your website looking for awesome deals?

Unfortunately, in that case, there is a high chance that the website could crash. Increased website traffic can wreak havoc and result in a fatal overload.

So, what can you do to counter this potential threat? Can you prevent the overload?

You most certainly can. Your best bet is to take care of technical capabilities and thus make your website stand strong in the face of danger.

The increased Magento website traffic – checklist

There is no doubt that your online store will be on fire during the upcoming holiday season. And that is exactly why it is of the utmost importance to be prepared.

After all, numerous studies report how a huge portion of web shoppers who have to wait too long for websites to load simply leave the website and don’t even attempt to return. Ever!

Therefore, it’s best to have a good understanding of your website’s limitations. To figure this out, you should test and check some of its features.

Is your cache optimised? 

Do you know what kind of content makes up your website? How will the traffic be absorbed by your CDN?

We can distinguish content according to the categories below:

  • Static content – doesn’t change often, and even when it does, you can predict it (images, CSS, and JavaScript).
  • Event-driven content – prone to changes and unpredictable (Wiki pages, stock prices, sports scores, and so forth).
  • Dynamic content – uncacheable content due to the uniqueness of the elements included (heavily personalised content such as credit card info, log-ins, and so on).

Once you determine what kind of content makes up your website, you will know how to approach your caching strategy.

The more you can cache, the better you will protect your website from web traffic spikes. And, when you manage to stay online during these periods, you can expect rewarding results – seamless online experience for your visitors and consequently more revenue for you.

Index updates

It’s simple – your indexes should be set to automatically update on a schedule. This will add very little load.

If you own a large store with more than one admin, Update on Save will tie up MySQL, which could take hours to complete. Avoid this and set your indexers to Update on Schedule. 

CSS and JS

You need to optimise and minify CSS and JavaScript files. This way you will remove line breaks, unnecessary spaces, and other white spaces.

Minification, in general, improves website performance, which can help you withstand overload.

Images

Images on your website need to be optimised. You may even want to consider using web images since every bit of strain matters.

Static files expiration date

To optimise the speed and better control cache on your website, it would be smart to increase static files expiration date.

Magento updates

Ensure that your Magento version and its modules are up to date.

Keeping your store updated is another layer of protection. Updates usually improve performance, but they also often improve the interface, do light maintenance, and fix minor bugs.

Clean up your extensions

You need to remove all the dead weight, including the extensions that are not being used.

This kind of additional weight often uses valuable resources, so make sure to avoid waste by removing the extensions. 

Import/Export

Running imports and exports of huge flat files, jamming data through Magento by the bucket load, and avoiding well-throttled API calls – this is a sure way towards resource expenditure that results in failure.

It would be wise to at least consider the benefits of leveraging APIs if you are moving data between your Magento software and ERP or Accounting Suite, POS, OMS, WMS, PIM tool, Marketing Suite, or CRM and similar software platforms.

So, spare yourself from all the heavy lifting, and let someone else do that for you.

What else can you do?

Let’s make one thing clear – if you’re on Magento Cloud, you are fine.

Cloud customers are all set up for festive periods (Black Friday, holidays, etc.) since everything will be taken up for a couple of weeks.

In addition, the cloud also offers a chance to set a selected number of days of increased performance without additional costs. That means that you can raise a support ticket outlining when you expect a huge influx of people to your store.

When that period arrives, the support team will up the server so your website doesn’t go down in flames.

On top of that, support can also spot unexpected traffic spikes. When that happens, the server will be ready to handle all the visitors.

On the other hand, if you are not on Magento Cloud, you can make use of Amazon Web Services (AWS) to deal with the increased web traffic:

  • AWS Autoscaling
  • Cloudfront
  • API Gateway
  • Cloudwatch
  • Elastic Cache

Apart from this, you should also note that there are certain actions you shouldn’t take when expecting increased website traffic.

Do not try this during a traffic spike

First of all, avoid site updates during the peak periods. Instead, update whatever you need before Black Friday (or other holidays).

Making changes, in general, could cause unexpected technical problems. You don’t want these problems to arise during a period when a lot of people flock to your website.

In addition, do not try to introduce a new web design or any novelties regarding the design since that could only confuse your customers. 

Prepare well and everything will be fine. Remember, this is a great time to get new customers, as well as to get your current customers to buy more. Do not let this chance go to waste.

If some of the information above sounds complicated or you need assistance preparing your Magento website for the holiday season, Best Response Media is here to help.

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