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How to Prepare for a Spike in Internet Traffic

Posted By: on December 30, 2012

Getting more website visitors is great, but when too many arrive at once, your site may crash and your online reputation could plummet. Fortunately, it’s possible to prepare your site for this occurrence ahead of time. Here’s how you can get your site ready to be mobbed by the masses without a hitch.

Think Lightweight

First, think about making a lightweight version of your site that you can move traffic to in case of spikes. For example, you can create a mobile version of the site and make that version available to regular users in case traffic surges. Alternately, you could just create a lightweight version of your site’s homepage. After all, this page will receive the most traffic since most visitors will start there before navigating to other parts of the site. As an extension of this, you could also create lightweight versions of certain pages that suddenly see a huge spike in traffic.

You can make pages more lightweight in a few ways. Instead of dynamic pages, you can use static HTML where possible. This will greatly reduce server strain. You can also set your server to create a static cache of dynamically generated pages. When you can, try to reduce high-powered interactive and video elements and use simple text as a smaller alternative.

Use Third-Party Hosting Services

While your current host may not be able to handle a huge traffic spike, another service might be a great place to host a copy in case this happens. Free sites, such as basic blog platforms, are possible in this case, but a dependable hosting service, such as Singlehop, is an excellent choice that will be able to handle a full-featured copy of your website. In case the spike is confined to simple forms or documents, you can use a content delivery network.

Avoid Heavy File Formats

If your site offers information for download, minimize the size of those files by choosing specific file formats. One example of this would be using simple text files instead of larger PDFs. While the size and features might be reduced, users will enjoy the same information with reduced download time, and your server will have an easier time handling a large volume of these requests. If you don’t have the option of using text files, you can minimize PDF download size by removing the images from files before creating PDFs out of them.

Create Tables Using XML and CSV Formats

If your site features numerical data, consider offering it in XML or CSV. Lightweight and easy for developers to use, these formats are ideal when you need to keep your data available to the masses when it counts.

With the above tips, you’ll have less trouble keeping your site available to visitors as needed. In the long run, this will preserve your site’s reputation as a dependable source of content.

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