Users hate slow websites. According to surveys, up to 57% of users will leave the page if it loads longer than three seconds, while 47% are ready to wait only two seconds. A one-second delay can cost you up to 7% of conversions and a 16% decrease in user satisfaction.
Hence, you should prepare for traffic spikes, to get the maximum of them, not lose users. Today we'll talk about solving these tasks.
Note: the piece is for business owners and managers, not a tech guru. We will review useful life hacks, tools, and share tips, not diving deep into each of them.
1. Cache everything
The more content of your site can be cached, the better. Usually, lots of website's content is static, meaning it does not have to be re-loaded every time the user visits the page. If you cache such content, it will result in significant traffic load reduction. In the event of the traffic spike, this may save you lots of money.
2. Filter bad traffic
According to stats, up to 40% of traffic in the modern internet is generated not by humans. Bots are everywhere, and they can either be good (like search engine crawlers) or bad. The latter can include parsers for stealing the website's content, for example.
In the corporate web, things are even worse. Bad bot traffic can exceed 42%! This is bad for businesses in many ways. First, bad bots are doing their bad things like stealing your content or spying on your users for your competitor's benefit, second, you still have to process this bot traffic as it creates an additional load for your infrastructure.
To get rid of this problem and decrease the amount of traffic to process, you can use a filtration system. Such tools are useful, but you have to test and fine-tune them first. To solve this task, it is a good idea to emulate the bot traffic using a residential proxy.
Tools like Infatica allows you to use a wide range of residential IPs to create traffic that looks exactly like the one generated by modern bots. This will help you to set up your filtration system, and forget about this bot traffic issue.
3. Use load balancing
It is always a good idea to research suitable load balancing solutions. There are three types of such tools: hardware-level, cloud, and software balancers. Hardware balancers are too costly for most startups, so let's talk about software-based and cloud solutions.
One of the most popular cloud load balancers is Cloudflare. It is often used by companies struggling to survive traffic spikes (whatever the cause is, a tweet from popular blogger, or a DDoS attack). Neutrino is quite reputable software-based balancer. Also, the Nginx web server has rich load balancing features in it.
4. Optimize content delivery
An additional step towards mitigating the consequences of traffic spikes. In its core, the CDN (or content delivery network) is a network of geographically distributed servers, which can be used to deliver the content to the end user via the optimal route.
Usually, the website's content is stored in the _main_ server in a single physical location. When clients send requests to load this content, the server replies and send it to them. The problem is, these clients may reside in different regions. And the farther the client is, the longer it will take for content to travel to him or her over the wires. For the end user, this will look like a slowly loading website.
CDN allows caching content on these previously mentioned geographically distributed servers. In this case, the system detects the server which is closest to the user, and transfer content from this point. Thus, each user can get a unique content delivery route that works fast.
Here is the list of CDNs you can use as a website owner.
5. Use compression
File compression is another tool for speeding up the website. Lots of high-load projects enable a Gzip compression to decrease the size of files for transmission over the internet.
Here is how Gzip works: the system searches for repeating strings in the file and substitutes the second of them with a pointer to the first one. When the browser is unpacking the received file, it goes through strings in it, reads the pointer and restores the "deleted" content.
As a result, the overall file size can be decreased up to 70%. Some hosting providers enable Gzip compression by default, while others don't, so it is better to double-check this setting by yourself.
Useful links and materials by Infatica:
- How Residential Proxies Are Useful For Businesses: Six Real Use Cases
- Research: Creating A Censorship-Resilient Proxy Tool Based On The Game Theory
- How to Catch When Proxies Lie: Network Proxy Service Location Verification Using An Active Geolocation Algorithm
- Flash Proxy: How To Bypass Internet Censorship Using Browser-Based Proxies