How to prepare your eCommerce website for traffic surges

'tis the season to online shop! Between Black Friday and Christmas, your eCommerce shop is about to become very busy! You’ll be thinking about your deals, discounts and stock levels but have you thought about your website’s hosting capabilities? With a pending influx of visitors to your website, it’s time to review (and possibly increase) your resources.

It’s also essential to make sure your website is optimised as much as possible, this will prevent people having issues accessing the website during busier periods which could result in loss of sales, ouch!

First things to check: 

  • Are you nearing your CPU or Memory limits?
  • Have you enabled caching on your website?
  • Does the website load quickly?
  • Are you using the latest compatible PHP versions?
  • Are your PHP settings optimised?

CPU / Memory Limits

You can view your current CPU/Memory usage from within your cPanel account. If you are nearing the limit on either of these, it’s time to take action. You can optimise the website to increase performance and reduce the CPU and Memory usage. This will allow more visitors to browse your website simultaneously without compromising performance.

Enable caching on your website

Caching enables visitors to load your website and navigate pages at lightning speed, this keeps your conversions glowing and in return increases potential sales and profit. The bounce rate (the percentage of people who leave your site after just viewing the homepage) on your website will decrease when your website performance increases. 
All our shared hosting plans include LiteSpeed as standard, which is a caching layer we provide across our entire platform.

Loading speed

Customers are more likely to shop on a website that loads quickly, against one that doesn’t. You can test your load speed by using a service such as GTMetrix which will test the webpage and report back performance. This will point you in the direction of areas you need to improve on. These could be areas such as optimizing images, enabling compression and minimising redirects. 

Use the latest compatible PHP version

Using the latest PHP version (v7.3) will give the largest optimisation gains. A site that was using PHP 5.6 will see a huge increase in performance if switched over to PHP7. Most popular CMS are already compatible with PHP7 as are most of the themes and plugins. It’s a good idea to double-check which version of your site is running and then adjust it accordingly. 

Optimise settings

Running your website via a performance test such as GTMetrix will highlight the areas that require optimisation with advice on how to do so. The most common things to look at are PHP memory, caching, compression, image optimisation, minifying CSS/Javascript and reducing HTTP requests. Acting on these suggestions will prevent your website from crashing or grinding to a halt when at its busiest. 

If you have any questions, our support team are available 24/7. You can get in touch with us via support ticket, live chat or telephone, here.

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