How does the Zeald system deal with spikes in traffic?

There are many things a website needs to handle, one of those challenges is spikes. A spike may come in many shapes and sizes. Usually it is due to something like a press release, a news article, an email marketing campaign. How does a website run when it is under huge load, sometimes more than 2000% more traffic than the usual flow?

As one of NZ's largest ecommerce providers Zeald prides itself on their solid platform. This platform while affordable for small to medium New Zealand businesses, has been designed and built for growth.

So how do we do it?

  1. We ensure that the front end of a website is fast loading. The more images and content required to download each time can really block a server with requests.
  2. We ensure that our software that compiles the web page for the user is very efficient.
  3. We have a number of backup servers in place. for every 200 websites we have 20 servers setup so that if one website is under a huge load, the other servers will help out and the load is shared. Although things may slow down a bit, this means that the server is able to handle the load and does not crash. It means the website stays up, and usually will run quickly at the front end, which is of course the main thing, that you have a website at these important times and that you do not lose sales or enquiries.
You might notice some slow down with the administration of your website through these times, and unfortunately there is little we can do about this without investing a great deal of money in servers to be on standby. To give you an idea of the investment if you experience a spike of say 1000%, to ensure that there is no loss of speed with your website, we would need to have 10 times more servers added to your hosting cluster. Of course our standard monthly service fee does not go anywhere near to covering this amount.

If you are noticing your website administration software is slowing down during a marketing campaign, there are a number of options you have available to help reduce the impact.
  1. Reducing the number of images and optimising them to load quickly
  2. Staggering the campaign. If there is some way that you can break up your marketing campaign. If it is an email campaign it is always a good idea to breakup your mailout into groups anyway. This allows you to personalise your emails to the various groups. IE "VIP customers"
  3. If you need to log in to your website to work on it and make changes to it, you should schedule these for non peak times when you have not released a large campaign.