The Key to Avoiding System Overload

by | September 25, 2014

Your website is suddenly very, very popular (think Black Friday or Cyber Monday). Millions of people are trying to get on at once. Can your system handle the overload? Learn how to prevent system overload, delays, and crashes on your website or app.

In terms of problems, system overload is one of the better ones for an online company to have.

It means you just have too many people on your site for it to function properly–a problem most companies would like to have. Even though a system overload means you are not having any trouble attracting customers, it is still an issue that can have adverse effects on your customers’ experience on your site.

You want your system to be able to support everyone who visits your website or mobile app without any delays or crashes. System crashes can have a huge impact on your consumer base online, as impatient customers can redirect themselves to to another site–a competitor, even–in a matter of seconds.

So what do we do? The answer is simple, and yet complex: create a system that works and monitor it constantly.

1. Understand Your System

The first step for any responsible, web-based company is getting to know and understand your system. When it comes to online business, knowledge really is power. A thorough understanding of your capacity, and what can be achieved within those limits, will allow you to design your system to fit that capacity precisely.

2. Invest in Testing and Monitoring

Next come testing and monitoring. It’s impossible to know what will work if you don’t test it.

A performance consultant can help you test your system rigorously and repeatedly to ensure it is optimized. Checking once prior to your launch just isn’t enough. In the world of e-commerce, things change rapidly: one moment, you may have a handful of customers every ten minutes visiting your website, and the next, your site could attract hundreds or even thousands of Internet users. For this reason, testing is crucial to ensure your site can manage any amount of traffic and that your users have the best possible experience on your site. A company like Apica can offer up-to-the-second real browser monitoring, so you can observe exactly what your customers are seeing at any given moment.

3. Implement Auto-Scaling

If you anticipate a spike in traffic , it is a wise to have an automatic scaling system firmly in place not only to prevent your site or application from ever hitting critical mass, but to always deliver the best possible experience to your customers.

Auto scaling utilizes the cloud to respond automatically to changes in demand and add or remove servers based on demand levels. Auto scaling not only provides greater peace of mind, but can actually save you money in the long run by removing servers when they are no longer needed.

Tip: Just because an auto scaling system is in place doesn’t mean it will work as you anticipate it should. It is necessary to test the system thoroughly and make certain the environment is able to properly utilize the extra server capacity.

Attracting thousands of potential customers is great. But when it comes to online platforms, overloading is always possible if the traffic is unexpected. Fortunately, it’s an issue with a straightforward solution. With the proper knowledge and tools to test and manage your systems, you can offer your users a problem-free experience.

Apica Product Team