It’s the type of moment all site owners pray for and dread in equal measure: a huge spike in traffic to your website!
It might be a new product launch that’s caught the attention of a well known celebrity or a piece of content that has gone viral. Either way your website is suddenly being put to the test. The worst thing that can happen at this moment is for your servers to grind to a halt and your site to go down, leading to huge missed opportunities – but happen it does and more often than you would think.
Firstly, you’re not alone, even big brands with huge resources to hand can get caught out. Airing an ad during Superbowl Sunday that prompts users to visit your site in their millions? If you’re Coke then you’d imagine that their Marketing team have thought everything through, right?
— Sravish Sridhar (@sravish) February 4, 2013
Of course, if you are spending that kind of money it helps to be prepared and I imagine Coke have learnt a valuable lesson for the next Superbowl. However, that said, it’s pretty shocking state of affairs when a brand as big as Coke isn’t using a CDN. In one simple step they could, which isn this situation would have quite frankly saved their bacon. Millions of people from all over the world hitting your website in one go? You need a CDN.
But what about spikes in traffic that you can’t predict? Obviously these can be much more difficult to calculate, but regardless, in the social media age it is vital that your website is optimised for performance and that your infrastructure can handle bursts in traffic. Third party widgets, messy code, huge images, there can be countless reasons your website isn’t performing.
Want an example? Hit refresh on this page and tell me what loads last. That’s right its the embedded tweet and the share functionality! of course from a marketing perspective these things are a godsend but from a performance perspective they can be a pain (our developers weep every time I come to them with a new plugin).
Building lightweight, responsive websites is a must if you are looking to engage your website visitors but this alone will not be enough to ensure your site can handle a traffic spike of any size. If you are looking to make your website strong enough to stand up to any kind of traffic then implementing a CDN will give you peace of mind.
Here’s 5 Ways a CDN Can Help You:
Implementing a CDN is a guaranteed way of improving your websites’ speed. Your static assets are cached on edge servers and when requested, are served from the nearest location. The upside to this is that it reduces latency which means faster load times and more pages views!
As we’ve discussed, it pays to be prepared for spikes in traffic. Distributing your assets on a Content Delivery Network CDN means you don’t have to worry about scalability because more servers means more capacity. This makes getting stressed about sudden bursts in traffic a thing of the past.
Because your assets are distributed across multiple locations, outages in one region bringing down your site are a thing of the past. This means your site is always available, no matter how many people are trying to access it or where they are in the world.
Offloading your traffic onto our servers massively decreases the burden on your network. This means you’ll no longer have to add prohibitively expensive new hardware, because your CDN will be delivering all of content for you.
If the thought of setting up a new server always gives you cause for concern, don’t worry, setting up a CDN and adding additional websites and apps couldn’t be simpler, which gives you plenty of time to focus on what’s important.
To learn more about how a CDN can help to keep your website online whilst you are having a traffic spike then head over to our resource section and download the guide How to Handle a Traffic Spike.