How to maximize website uptime
Maximizing website uptime is a high priority for businesses, particularly e-commerce sites. After all, what’s the point of investing in a well-designed website that prioritizes user experience if no one can see it?
Amazon recently lost an estimated $66,000 per minute during a crash in 2018. To avoid lost revenue and customer frustration, it’s essential to do whatever possible to minimize downtime and ensure continuity. Here are some tips and tools for maximizing website uptime.
Always be backing up data
The best reaction to an issue is productivity. Regular data backups are one of the top, proactive measures a business can take when it comes to protecting the integrity of their servers. Whether an influx of traffic to a website causes a crash or a data breach corrupts sensitive files, having regular backup protocols is the equivalent of hitting save regularly when working on an important project.
By having a backup stored and readily available, a site can be easily reverted to a previous version. An example of how this is beneficial could be demonstrated with an e-commerce site that launches a new promotion. If a bug goes undetected and ends up causing the site to fail, the team can revert to a previous version while they detect the issue. While the promotion won’t be available online until the issue is resolved, the website uptime won’t be mitigated while the troubleshooting takes place.
Forecast capacity surges
As having more bandwidth often translates to higher hosting costs, most businesses will scale their bandwidth to reflect their capacity as closely as possible. While this is a sensible business move, it can fail during times of unprecedented increases in traffic. Businesses should always overestimate their capacity somewhat to maximize uptime, but forecasting and planning for predicted influxes will help avoid a dreaded error message.
An e-commerce site should be able to determine seasonality in their business and plan accordingly. Again using Amazon as an example, one of the main issues on Amazon Prime Day was the drastic underestimation of the increase in traffic to the site. Not only to the site itself, but how many people would be processing payments and shifting the usual user flow of the site.
By planning for known traffic increases, such as the time period from Black Friday to Christmas, businesses and developers can effectively maximize uptime and mitigate the chances of a crash. Again, overestimation is key and the expense of more bandwidth is preferable to the cost of downtime.
When mobile browsing started to grow in popularity, developers had to start thinking of how they could optimize a desktop website for a mobile platform. Now, the priorities have shifted as nearly half of online holiday transactions took place over a mobile device in 2018.
To maximize website uptime, developers should focus on coding mobile sites first and foremost, then adapting the code to desktop. This will help remove dependencies and get ahead of the curve as the world continuously becomes more mobile-oriented. Businesses who don’t prioritize mobile-friendly sites lose customers to those who do.
Install monitoring software and protocols
Having reliable software installed to continuously monitor applications is an effective way to cover all of the bases, including cybersecurity, debugging, and capacity alerts. Not only does this ensure that the system is being monitored when human workers aren’t present to proactively address what’s happening in a system, but it also fills the gaps and allows human resources to focus their time and effort elsewhere. While redundancy is a good thing in website monitoring and management, it breeds complacency in human workers.
Strong monitoring systems not only indicate when an issue has arisen, but it can also detect when an issue will potentially arise based on various factors (such as nearing site capacity). Log monitoring can also help prevent bottlenecks and help create temporary fixes that keep things running smoothly while the problem is addressed on the back end, as seen in this source: https://www.appoptics.com/monitor/aws-cloudwatch.
Bringing it all together
By taking a proactive approach and staying ahead of consumer trends, businesses can maximize their website uptime and ensure that they are converting all possible customers. While being proactive is essential, it’s also important to have a contingency plan for when problems arise, such as strong backup protocols.
Downtime not only results in the loss of present sales, but future sales as well. Thus, it should be avoided at all costs.
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