November’s darkness will bring forth a couple of busy occasions for e-commerce websites – Black Friday, as well as Cyber Monday, are known for their lively discount sales. These campaigns also show in Seravo’s customer service, when people want to ensure the operation of their online stores under web traffic spikes, for example by ordering increased standby.
Many online stores may have bypassed the threat of traffic spikes by keeping the offers valid for an entire week, resulting in longer “Black Week” campaigning. The discount sale is not limited to one day, but shopping can take place at a convenient time throughout the week. Plenty of customers may make purchasing decisions over a number of days. So how do you make sure that e-commerce site isn’t paralyzed in the middle of a shopping rush?
Whether it’s about a sale, free buckets, or the latest clothing collection, you may not always be able to estimate in advance how many concurrent visitors it will attract to the website. These guidelines apply not only to Black Friday, Black Week and Cyber Monday, but also to other campaigning and visitor spikes in general!
Cache in, cash out
The most important thing to prepare a website to perform under heavy load is to make sure the cache is working. You can check the functionality of the HTTP cache by logging in to your WordPress site, and running the test using Seravo’s own plugin (or alternatively run it on the command line, wp-check-http-cache ). This test tells you if any of the site’s header information is preventing the cache from working. In this case, it must be determined if a plugin generates a header, and if is it possible to temporarily disable that plugin. The test also tells you if the cache is working on the site. You can read more about how to make your cache work in our previous blog post.
More insight with logs
How do you know what’s really happening on your WordPress site? Reading log files may require a little getting used to, but it’s definitely worth the effort. The Seravo plugin also allows you to keep track of what is stored in your site’s log files. PHP processing errors are logges in the php-error.log file. Keep an eye on this file and ensure that your log is not filled with notifications of PHP Fatal errors. If it takes time to run the PHP code and you see “executing too slow, logging” messages in the logs, you can dig deeper and examine the php-slow.log. The entries within it tell you in more detail which requests on your site take more than ten seconds to process.
PHP Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function
If you are developing the site or plugin yourself, make sure that a timeout is set for the requests your code is making, so that the requests will not keep hanging on indefinitely.
Load locally, not externally
Even if your site resides on world-class Seravo servers, your site won’t load in an optimal way if the site starts retrieving its files from somewhere else. Execution of such a request will inevitably take much longer than loading the file locally.
Make sure the resources used by your site are close by! These can be fonts, icons, or other similar files. By testing the functionality of your site, for example with WebPageTest.org, you can see from the results what your site loads and in what order. In WordPress.org plugin page, you’ll find handy plugins that allow you to download Google Fonts locally, for example.
Get help from Seravo’s experts
You can also order speed optimization for your site or an additional standby service as an expert service from Seravo’s WordPress specialists. Experts will familiarize themselves with the operations of your site in advance, so that any potential bottlenecks can be addressed before the eagerly awaited sales campaigns. The site will also be under more specific monitoring and control during the event itself, so that any surfacing issues can be addressed. Read more detailed descriptions and see the pricing of our expert services on our website.
Has your site been hit by an unexpected traffic spike, and how did it go? How do you make sure that your e-commerce site works? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!