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OK, this is the moment you've been waiting for: there is a huge surge in traffic on your WordPress website. Your goal is achieved! But then you get a message from H or your host or whatever availability monitoring service is used, which tells you that your website is unavailable (Down !!!).
How do you prepare for it, but above all to avoid this situation?
Well. Let's focus on the positives here. It's exciting that your website becomes so popular. Then it is so good that your website suffers. What if there were visitors who came back to finally make a purchase they had been thinking about all day, but arrive and find an HTTP error telling them that there is something wrong with your website?
This could be just as bad for your website's reputation as a website with a repulsive design or too slow to load.
So what should we do?
In this tutorial, I will explain:
- How to anticipate the peaks of traffic,
- How to prepare your website in advance for power surges, and
- What to do when your website crashes or slows down after a surge in traffic.
How to predict peaks on your web traffic
Okay, it's great that your website has seen an increase in traffic. Well done because it probably proves that your efforts have paid off!
That was your goal anyway, wasn't it?
Create a beautiful website, have a unique selling proposition whose demand is growing rapidly.
While traffic spikes can be a positive indication of your business's efficiency, the effects they can have on your website, if it is not prepared for that traffic, can be devastating.
Of course, sometimes they will force your website to go completely offline, but there are other times when they will make the page load times very slow. Either way, the effect is the same on visitors.
Read also: How to reduce the loading time of plugins?
Think of it like this:
Visitors are doing something with your website. Access is blocked or pages fail to load causing them to leave.
Now you need to call your web host and see if they can help you back it up. Maybe you need to pay for more server space or maybe you need to find a new hosting provider.
There is also cleaning to consider. The website is back, but is everything still in one piece? Do you need a complete cleaning to make sure the continuous surge doesn't hurt more?
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What about your customers? Do you need to apologize to them and let everyone know that the website was unavailable?
That's a lot of time, money, and new business that you could potentially waste just because you didn't anticipate this problem.
Here are some things you can do to try to predict when these surges will happen:
Establish a baseline
Study your website analytics very thoroughly, even if it only lasted a few months. Take this time to assess exactly what your website is capable of in terms of traffic.
You can then use this baseline and small incremental changes in traffic each day to predict where your website will be in six months, twelve months or even a few years from now.
By understanding the natural growth pattern of your website, it will be easier to spot the fluctuations in its pace when peak traffic is about to occur.
Review the Mini Pics
While a mini spike might not seem like a big deal, it has probably at least caught your curiosity that will make you wonder what happened that day to make it happen in the first place. This is why reviewing your analyzes regularly is very useful. Watch out for these little spikes and do a deep analysis to understand what caused it:
- Is there a specific location that the traffic is coming from, either in terms of the source website or geographically?
- Do you see these spikes occurring on the same days or at the same time?
- Do you know of a specific event that happened just before the traffic peak?
Think of traffic as earthquakes. While it is true that mini peaks may not hurt, there is a lot you can learn from them to get a better handle on the "bigger" ones.
Pay attention to alerts
If you don't have a Google alert enabled on your website, you must activate it now. Even if you don't have pingbacks activated on your website, you should always be aware when your website or company is not available for Google. Same thing for social networks.
Watch your website activity
Obviously, you have to know what's going on in regards the number of visitors, but it's just as important to watch for other signs of growing interest. Watch the comments section of your blog carefully.
Stay informed every time you have a subscription to your newsletter, RSS feeds, etc. If you suddenly see a ton of new followers and more engagement on your articles, something could possibly happen.
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Be aware of your marketing
Marketing should never be overlooked. Any content or campaign you have started should be closely monitored and maintained. First, it lets you know how good it feels for you. Second, it can help you prepare your website for traffic bounce.
Prepare your WordPress website to lose traffic
There aren't always warning signs that let you know when a traffic spike is about to happen. Maybe one of your old posts hit the jackpot and went viral. Maybe your business wrote on a major blog and you missed the pingback. Or maybe people suddenly come to your website because they saw a sign in your restaurant promoting a free offer for the first 50 email subscribers.
You must therefore prepare your website before time with the following tools:
#1. Web hosting
The first tool to focus on is your web hosting. If your website traffic is constantly increasing every day and you start to notice small dips in traffic, or if you are about increase your marketing efforts, it's probably time to get out of that shared hosting plan and move on to something more fluid and scalable.
The last thing you need is for your hosting company to contact you and threaten to take down your website because it is negatively affecting other people who share the same server. Cloud hosting plans with load balancers are a good option to consider, but if you're not sure, speak with your host to see what they recommend.
# 2. CDN
Your next step should be a content delivery network (CDN) service. Think of it as a web hosting plan that sits on top of your web hosting plan. Does this sound too much? It is not if you have a large global audience that will benefit from accessing your website from servers located closer to them. If speed and reliability of service is a concern, a CDN is essential.
Take the trouble to check out our article: How to use the CloudFlare CDN.
# 3. Cache Plugin
Another way to ensure that your website stays in shape during high traffic peaks is to use a caching system. These plugins help to decrease the strain on your server, especially with high traffic, to ensure that content is delivered to new visitors as quickly as possible.
If you are not sure about the caching of your website, SEO Site Checkup tool will give you an idea of what's going on.
Read on: The ultimate guide to caching with W3 Total Cache On WordPress
# 4. Optimize your images
Ideally, you'll want to do a general assessment of your website's bottlenecks. You might have some really cool animated transitions or other dynamic content floating around your website, but if that means there is a difference between when your website is up and when it is low in traffic, it might be useful to remove them.
The only thing that you shouldn't compromise, however, are your images. All you need is a good image optimization plugin to keep these bad boys in check.
# 5. Test the resistance of your website
In addition to testing your website for caching issues, be sure to run it through the wringer with a stress test tool. What these tools do is allow you to create hypothetical surges on your website and then test how well it performs under pressure. See your server limits firsthand and use the data to create a plan for expanding your website.
Discover also our How to use the functionality of WordPress revisions
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Also check out other recommended resources that will help you optimize, customize, or secure your website or blog.
- How to fix the WordPress "Unable to write to disk" error
- How to Track Outbound Links on WordPress
- 4 ways to use social media to increase your visibility
- How to create an online store on WordPress with WooCommerce
Here ! That's all for this tutorial which will allow you to better manage your blog during traffic peaks.
However, you will also be able to consult our resources, if you need more elements to carry out your projects of creation of Internet sites, by consulting our guide on the WordPress blog creation or the one on Divi: the best WordPress theme of all time.