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How to prepare your website for unexpected traffic

Unexpected traffic spikes are like driving through highways that you didn't expect to be packed. Cloud-first web hosting expands the roadways by adding flexibility and a level playing field for users.

Like a lot of commuters, I turn to my smartphone every morning to check the traffic flow on my way to work. If Siri alerts me to traffic delays, I can plan accordingly and leave slightly earlier to account for the cars. There are times, however, when a smartphone can't predict certain factors. Last week, I encountered not one, not two, but three wrecks within the first 10 minutes into my commute. Drivers started bottlenecking, and traffic got heavier as people redirected onto already-crowded roads from other wrecks. A 30 minute drive became an hour of headache, and there was nothing I could do but trudge through the glacial traffic. 

Unexpected traffic can hit anywhere – including your website.

When you’re unprepared for a short-term boost of activity, you don’t have time to adjust in this instant-gratification world. The solution can be found in the cloud. Here are some of the key benefits to cloud-based platforms like AWS:

Flexibility on demand

Cloud-first websites offer agility so that when spikes come, you’ll never get stuck in rows of traffic. The cloud seems to add extra lanes when traffic gets crazy, allowing for more cars on the road with ease. Flexibility is wrapped into the very nature of the AWS Cloud. It gives businesses the agility to handle the highs and the lows, and that’s why most CIOs and IT directors say they’re pushing for a move to the cloud for their infrastructure needs. 

Solodev clients are familiar with huge surges in visitors and no client knows this better than than OneBlood. OneBlood, the second largest blood donor in the country, had a 2000% traffic increase in a single hour to their website in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting. By partnering with Solodev, OneBlood adapted to the demand and got an additional 27 new servers. This kept the website up and running while donations came in and site visitors could find the latest information to help save lives. 

Quick recovery

Cloud hosting also gives you the peace of mind if disasters strike. Sure, most businesses invest in a disaster recovery plan, but not all business can afford to invest in them as much as they should. Cloud hosting gives everyone the safety and security of reliable backup solutions with time-saving recovery strategies. While disaster recovery is critical, the greatest benefit to a cloud-infrastructure is that you'll probably never go down despite disaster. Just ask our clients in Volusia County, home of Daytona Beach -- one of the world's most popular beaches and also the Daytona International Speedway. Volusia County's website didn't go down during the Category 3 Hurricane Irma thanks to the AWS Cloud's unique structure. 

An even playing field

It seems like large vehicles have the upper hand in heavy traffic. No one dares to move around them, and they can plow through turns and lane changes simply by being larger than surrounding cars. With cloud computing, everyone has similar sized cars. Small and medium sized businesses can act just as fast if not faster than their more established counterparts. The AWS Cloud gives enterprise-class technology to everyone and gives smaller groups the ability to disrupt the market. By leveraging the AWS Compute Cloud (EC2), users can quickly auto-scale the the website's capacity up or down depending on what they need. 

Dealing with deserted roads

Sure, driving through heavy traffic is a nightmare, but driving along abandoned and empty roads can be just as scary. While cloud hosting is certainly flexible enough to handle the droughts, your website could need more attention. Are you tagging your content appropriately with long-tail keywords? Do you have effective pay-per-click campaigns? Check out our resources on how to optimize your websites.

Tired of being stuck when traffic spikes hit? Transform high traffic into a breeze, and see what Solodev can do for you through AWS Cloud hosting

Shelby Rogers
Contributions Editor here at Solodev. Want to be featured on the Solodev Blog? Get in touch.
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