How to Prevent Your App From Failing on Black Friday

As we approach another holiday season, it is of utmost importance to get your apps ready. Now’s the time to protect them from software crashes and performance problems such as slow loading pages, broken checkout flows, and outages.

The National Retail Federation expects an 11% increase in holiday shopping and even more during Black Friday. Is your app ready to handle this volume of requests? We have gathered some core areas your development team should focus on to help your app survive and give your customers a great user experience.

Get Your Servers Ready

All of your hard work, effort, and money invested comes apart if your app crashes during the holidays. Your database plays a major role in keeping your app up and running. What can you do to get your servers ready to handle a countless number of requests?

  • Split up your processes (database, web, batch and file storage) to ensure that any piece of the application can be scaled up individually. So, if you ’re getting lots of requests, you can just add a few extra web servers. Or, on the other hand, if your batch processes are piling up, you can add another server to process the batch queue.
  • Reduce server load by HTTP caching, retrieving copies to your browser of local resources that can be used to manage traffic. So instead of downloading information from your server, the browser loads existing copies of cached pages.
  • Invest in hosting packages that handle higher amounts of traffic if your current hosting plan doesn’t cover it.

Set Up Alerts

If your app has inventory problems, crashes or slow loading pages, your team will want to know about it. The faster they know about these problems, the better. Don’t wait until your users take to social media to complain about a problem, as it doesn’t help your team get to the bottom of error.

It’s not just about alerting – your team needs all the information relating to the crash or performance problem in the alert so they can address quickly. Your developers will need to know:

  • The time when the error occurred
  • How many users were affected
  • The stack trace

Get Ready For Traffic Spikes

Seasonal spikes offer tremendous opportunities to increase revenue for online businesses. It’s essential to analyze your organic traffic comprehensively to find digital trends. The best way to start is by sitting down and looking at data from the past three years. We suggest that you compare data from a few years instead of months to obtain clear spikes related to seasonality. In this way, you’ll avoid seeing many small irregularities from marketing on certain products.

Once you find a seasonal spike, expand it and inspect the data more precisely. Set the highest peak to an hourly level. It allows detecting micro-trends to improve your marketing decisions.

Be ready to handle a 10-time increase in server load comfortably and have your best team on standby all weekend with a plan in place to quickly scale up any of the pieces.

Need help? If you’re evaluating how to best manage, maintain and optimize your databases, the search can feel overwhelming. Don’t fret! If you have any questions, contact us today.

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