Stop Your Site from Crashing on Singles’ Day By Nailing Down Your Hosting
While you may be focusing all your energy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there’s another huge online shopping event you definitely shouldn’t miss. It’s called Singles’ Day, and it’s THE Chinese e-commerce event of the year.
Originally a celebration of being single - it’s date, the 11th of November, was chosen precisely because it’s made up of four ones (11/11) and it totaled $14.3 billion in sales last year. That’s more than last year’s US Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined.
Of course, the last thing you need on such a busy day is for your site to cave under the extra traffic. Luckily, we’ve got your back. Here’s how to nail down your hosting so you can stop your site from crashing on Singles’ Day.
Choose Your Web Hosting Provider Wisely
It goes without saying, but preventing your website from crashing starts with choosing the right hosting provider. There are several things you need to consider. For starters, if you’re planning to take on mega shopping events like Singles’ Day, you need a web hosting service that can support huge amounts of traffic (or at least has packages you can upgrade in order to do that).
You also need to consider their reputation, reliability and the level of customer support. The latter will be especially important if something goes wrong. Most of all, at the end of the day it really boils down to this: you get what you pay for. You can’t expect your site to run smoothly unless you choose a web hosting service and package that can cater to your needs.
Cache Your Site
When you’re competing for customers’ attention with thousands of other sites, speed is paramount. These days, customers expect websites to load in under two seconds. Anything longer, and most customers will just get frustrated and leave. Unfortunately, the more data your website has, the longer it will take to load.
That’s where caching comes in.
Put simply, caching stores a copy of your website’s content in random access memory (RAM). A cached site loads much more quickly, because the server doesn’t have to load your page again. What’s more, because the server is effectively accessing a saved local copy (and therefore doing much less work), it’s less likely to overload and crash your site.
iPage's server-side caching feature makes caching really easy. Just keep it enabled, and it will run automatically in the background. This saves you having to install and test different third-party caching plugins until you find one you’re happy with.
Optimize Your Images
While images are extremely important if you want to make more sales, they’re o ften the main culprits when it comes to slow loading times and server crashes. Images are memory-intensive, so the more you have and the larger they are, the harder your server has to work.
You can greatly decrease the chances of a crash simply by optimizing your images. Size them correctly before uploading them, so they won’t have to be resized every time your site loads. Format also matters. As a rule of thumb, .jpg is best for photographs and .png is best for graphics.
Alternatively, just use eHost’s image manager. It’s thumbnailer and image scaler automatically optimize your images so they use the least bandwidth possible. This greatly decreases load time and the strain on your server.
Use A CDN
A CDN - Content Delivery Network - is a cloud-based data service that’s pre-programmed to deliver your website’s content optimally.
The shorter the distance between a server and the end user, the better a website performs. CDNs have a network of servers spread in different locations, so they can greatly speed up your site and avoid overload by always using the servers closest to your traffic sources.
And by hosting images and other memory-intensive files, CDNs can also improve your site’s performance and take the pressure off the main server.
Not all web hosting providers support CDNs, so make sure you watch out. The best web hosting providers, on the other hand, come with their own built-in CDN. This makes your life that much easier, as you won’t have to pay extra for a third-party service and go through the hassle of setting it up.
Finally, you can save yourself a lot of grief (and frustrated customers) simply by preparing ahead of time.
Start by checking out your current web hosting package, and consider whether it’s powerful enough. Look out for any data caps, as these could spell trouble if you experience high levels of traffic on Singles’ Day. There are also several tools you can use to test how your site reacts to an unusual spike in traffic (some, like Load Impact, are free).
More importantly, make sure you have current backups of all your site’s files. The best web hosting providers all offer automatic backup features. These will save you time and give you the peace of mind that you can get a current version of your website back up quickly should the worst come to the worst.