In certain situations, online store servers can encounter difficulties due to excessive load, especially when many users are trying to shop simultaneously. You need to know how important it is to properly prepare your infrastructure for the most popular events to avoid the possible unavailability of your store. Do you know what to pay attention to?
Black Week holds great significance for online stores for several important reasons:
Black Friday planning is one thing. Adequate inventory is another. Store readiness for crowds of customers and resilience to emergencies is something else entirely. Lack of preparation means losses. Can you afford them?
In the digital world, there are many risk factors that can affect the financial performance of an online store. One of these factors is server unavailability. Server unavailability means that a store’s website stops working, preventing customers from making purchases or accessing services. This issue can have negative consequences, such as:
Server availability problems are a phenomenon that online stores have to face frequently, especially when new products or attractive promotions appear on the site. In such cases, many users may try to shop at the same time, creating a heavy load on the server.
Tuesday, November 15, 2022, was supposed to be a day full of shopping promises for customers visiting the x-kom.pl website. However, instead of the expected product offerings, the screens only displayed a discouraging “error 500” message. The store’s servers did not hold up.
According to reports obtained from Alicja Nowak, a spokeswoman for x-kom.pl, the outage was not the result of a hacking attack or a special Black Friday promotion, but a technical problem. As Nowak explained, the problem was due to new product implementations in the store. Product deployments are the process of introducing new products or features to an e-commerce platform. Sometimes they lead to increased server load, which is a natural result of the company’s dynamic operations and expanding offerings.
Currently, the x-kom.pl website is working without any major problems, however, the November 15 episode of unavailability left some thoughts. Online commerce companies need to continuously invest in infrastructure to ensure not only the availability but also the speed of their services. Otherwise, they could experience significant losses at a time when customers expect the most.
It is worth noting that situations like the one described above highlight the importance of IT infrastructure and proper preparation before big promotions like Black Friday. Lack of access to the site can lead to financial losses and loss of customer trust. Therefore, online store owners should invest in scalable solutions and monitor the performance of their servers to avoid such situations in the future. Below I will outline what you should pay attention to.
Before the campaign launches, your store should be ready for various challenges. Seasonal events, which focus the attention of a large number of customers, can be demanding on your e-commerce infrastructure. Review the points outlined below and verify how they apply to your operations and infrastructure.
One of the main challenges during Black Friday is the need for scalability. An online store must be able to handle the increased traffic that occurs on this day. That is why it is important to have a flexible infrastructure that allows you to increase processing power and bandwidth as needed. If your site is unavailable, you could lose potential customers.
The speed of e-commerce is very important for users. The customer’s experience on the site will influence whether they will make their next purchase from your store. Make sure your IT infrastructure is optimized for efficiency. You can use performance monitoring and analysis tools to identify possible bottlenecks and optimize your application or service. Use load balancing to balance the load on CPU and RAM resources to evenly distribute traffic across multiple servers.
Black Friday also marks a period of increased cyber-attacks. That is why it is important to invest in the proper security solutions, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and regular penetration testing. Keep in mind disaster recovery and data backups, too.
Begin preparations well in advance. Create a detailed plan of action that covers all aspects of using your IT infrastructure. Then test it by simulating a load similar to what you expect on Black Friday.
Use real-time infrastructure monitoring tools. This will allow you to react quickly to potential problems and avoid downtime. Automatic notifications in case of failures are priceless, and you’ll have a better understanding of how server resources are being used.
Use CDN services that will allow you to efficiently deliver content to users from different parts of the world. This will increase the loading speed of your site and improve the user experience.
If you have not already done so, consider migrating your store to the cloud. The cloud offers scalability, flexibility, and performance that can make it significantly easier to handle a surge in traffic. It features instant availability of resources that may be essential for you during Black Friday.
Don’t neglect regular updates of your software and operating systems. Updates often include security fixes and optimizations that can improve the performance and security of your store and customers.
Conduct a risk analysis, identifying potential threats such as DDoS attacks, hardware failures, or application bugs. Make a list of emergency scenarios. Based on the identified risks, develop a disaster recovery plan. Determine what steps to take in case of specific emergencies. This will help minimize negative effects and prepare your e-commerce platform for the worst.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud platform that allows you to scale your infrastructure as your traffic grows. Here are the benefits of AWS:
Configuration management tools such as SaltStack and Ansible are critical to maintaining consistency and security in your infrastructure. Here’s how they can help:
DDoS attacks are a serious threat during times of major promotions. Services such as Cloudflare offer:
Monitoring is key to identifying problems in the infrastructure. Here are the benefits brought by monitoring:
Proxmox is a server virtualization platform that enables:
If you use containers, the Kubernetes tool can make managing them easier:
The issues raised in this article extensively answer the question of the validity and course of preparation and optimization of the infrastructure of an online store. However, do you need to implement all of these measures at your site? Do you need every, mentioned tool? No. Just as store facades differ when you pass them walking down the street, each infrastructure can be characterized differently and different fields for optimization can be found.
Perhaps you don’t need to migrate to the cloud, maybe your server is sufficient. Perhaps you are aware of threats and strongly focused on security, maybe you perform regular updates. That’s why I offer you a conversation. Using IT consulting services when preparing for major promotions is invaluable.
An IT audit helps identify goals, align infrastructure with needs and develop disaster recovery plans. The consulting company offers to develop performance optimization strategies and implement solutions to improve application performance. It also provides cybersecurity support, including security audits and testing.
Understanding the budget and potential losses associated with a failure are important elements of preparation. These losses can be several times the cost of an IT audit. When choosing a partner, pay attention to their experience in the e-commerce area as well as the server administration and security services offered.
Once Black Friday is over, the benefits of a properly prepared IT infrastructure do not end. You can continue to develop your e-commerce and focus on the following aspects:
A customer uses your site or an app to get a product that interests them. Site load time, specific categories, product data on the site, eye-catching advertising – all of these are of considerable importance in the customer’s buying process. However, the infrastructure of your e-commerce is much more important. It ultimately determines whether the customer will have the opportunity to use your platform and what their experience will be.
Preparing an online store’s IT infrastructure for Black Friday is a significant process that requires attention on many levels. Scalability, performance, security and risk management are key aspects to consider. By using practical tips and tools and considering IT consulting services, your business will be ready to meet the challenges of this intense trading period. After Black Friday, it’s also a smart idea to continue long-term infrastructure planning to ensure the stability and growth of your online store in the future.
Remember that planning and preparation should begin well in advance to avoid stress and ensure a positive customer experience during busy periods. Efforts invested in technical preparation will undoubtedly pay off during major promotions and help build lasting relationships with customers.