For web shops, the most important period of the year is around the corner: the holidays. You are probably preparing for this with a winter design and cool offers. You might even set up a big campaign especially for the holidays. How cool would it be if it pays off and visitors know how to find your shop en masse. But despite the fact that you think that you have everything in order, your site is currently superseding its success: it becomes painfully slow or maybe even goes down …
People are increasingly buying online
The e-commerce sector is booming. More and more people prefer to make their purchases online than in a busy shopping street. NOS figures show that the turnover of web shops in the first half of 2015 increased by 18 percent compared to the same period last year. The expectation is that online sales will continue to rise in the second half of 2015. And then the holidays also provide a big boost. The Sinterklaas purchases were good last year for an increase in the average weekly turnover of 27 percent and the Christmas purchases even led to an increase of 38 percent. With the overall increase in online purchases, these figures will be even higher this year.
The sales increase is what you do it for. But bear in mind that this also means an increase in the number of visitors. As a hosting party, we know from experience that web shops in the run-up to the holidays have an average of around 50 percent more visitors than in other months. You can see that increase starting around November 1.
More visitors means a higher ‘server load’
Every visitor browsing around in your webshop fires a request to the web server with every click. The web server then goes to work and delivers the page to the visitor as quickly as possible. We call the ability of a server to handle these types of requests processing capacity. If your webshop suddenly gets a lot more visitors and therefore requests to process, then this can go beyond the processing capacity of the server. The result: the server starts responding more slowly and in the worst case, it stops completely. Your website goes down.
How do you prevent a ‘smoking server’ at the moment suprême?
With a little preparation, you know for sure that you can take maximum advantage of the higher visitor numbers.
1. Ensure sufficient processing capacity
A marcom training that fits well with your wishes?
Which can! Compile your own unique training with us now. You can choose from 5, 6 or 7 days Knowing more?Keep as a rule that you get 30 to 50 percent more visitors during November 1 and December 31 (this of course depends on the products you sell). Ask your hosting party if the hosting space that you now have at your disposal can handle this. With many hosting parties you can also temporarily scale up and from January just back to your old package.
2. Make smart use of your hosting capacity
There are countless tricks to get more out of your hosting space without having to upgrade immediately. A few tips:
- Use caching techniques such as Varnish and Redis . These techniques help your server to respond faster and more efficiently and help with dealing with visitor peaks. You can use them side by side for the best results. These caching techniques must be installed both on the server and in your website itself. Ask your hosting party if this is installed for you, or if you also have to install it on the server yourself. Implementing Redis and Varnish in your shop can be a bit complicated and time-consuming (and possibly your hosting party charges for it), but it is definitely bearing fruit.
- Optimize your images. If you have heavy images in your shop, it means that these images must be sent to a browser with every request. You can imagine that this requires a lot less processing capacity if the images are lighter. There are tricks to make your images lighter. Please note, lighter is not smaller in size, but less heavy. The quality is lowered slightly (but that is often not even visible to the naked eye) and a lot of meta-information is removed that you do not need, think of the date the photo was saved and when it was saved was last opened. This optimization sometimes saves entire MBs. Optimization can be done manually using a photo editing program such as Photoshop,reSmush.it from Yahoo. In some cases, your hosting party also offers an image optimization tool that automatically optimizes all your images. A rule to stick to: definitely try to get below 1 MB per image.
3. Provide an isolated hosting environment
Chances are that your webshop is in a shared hosting environment and you share resources with other webshops. The advantage is that the costs are somewhat lower, but it can have a major disadvantage during the holidays. Even though you have prepared well, your neighbor does not need to have done that yet. If this neighbor suddenly demands a lot more processing capacity, then it may be that your shop is bothered by that. Hosting parties often have overcapacity available for this, but it will not be the first time this happens.
Good to know: nowadays it is no longer necessary to purchase an (expensive) dedicated server for isolated hosting, but there are nice cloud technologies that are cheaper, for Magento for example.
4. Clean up
Remove products and images that you no longer use. The smaller the database that must be searched with each request, the better. Also make sure that the CSS files and HTML that you use in the shop are as efficient as possible. Because the more efficient the shop, the more the server can handle.
This is a selection of the options. If you are not very technical yourself, ask a professional party what is smart to do in your specific case. Because with good preparation you don’t have to worry about your webshop during the busiest period of the year! Or well, maybe about how to get all those orders out as quickly as possible …