Thanksgiving is a time to be with family, eat turkey and reminisce on all the wonderful things in your life. The day after Thanksgiving, as everyone knows, is Black Friday. To most, Black Friday means serious holiday shopping. A time to get great deals on gifts for everyone on your gift list from your favorite stores.
This year, the electronics retailer Best Buy had a disaster-prone Black Friday. Best Buy promoted deep discounted items online, even emailing customers regularly to inform them about deals added to the online shop. As customers logged onto the site that day, they were finding that the website was slow, unresponsive and went completely down for over an hour.
What happened to the Best Buy website?
Best Buy claims that the website issues were due to an influx of traffic, due to shoppers flooding the site to look for deals. The site was apparently experiencing issues around 9 a.m., but then went completely down shortly thereafter. Best Buy spokeswoman Amy von Walter said in a statement that the site was taken down, “in order to take proactive measures to restore full performance.”
There is probably not much that they could have done to avoid delays and glitches because of the incredibly high spike in traffic. However, for companies with high traffic websites, having the right hosting can make a difference.
Shared server hosting means that you are sharing a server with other websites. It essentially means that the same SPUs and RAM are distributed to support multiple websites. If you have a website that you expect to gain a lot of traffic, this is probably not your best choice. These sites may be slower, but they are the most cost effective option.
A dedicated server deals with traffic from only one website, and can typically handle a spike in website traffic. Having a dedicated server also means that you are limited to the capabilities of that server, and if the hardware goes down, or any other issues, your site goes down. You can still recover your site, but it takes some time.
Scalable Cloud Hosting
This may be the best option for extremely high traffic sites, or those sites like Best Buy that are planning for major traffic spikes. This service runs your server in a virtual environment. In a Black Friday instance, a scalable cloud hosting would be able to scale itself to get more resources in the event of a major traffic surge.
In the end, Best Buy probably lost a lot of business during its Black Friday outage. However, this did prove that more and more customers are interested in shopping online. If you are an online retailer, it is important to make sure that your website has the capability to accommodate online shoppers and handle a spike in traffic.