In this article I’m going to discuss why having large surges in traffic going to a site not optimized for that level of traffic can lead to excessive resource usage on your account.
What is a large surge in traffic?
A large surge in traffic is going to be different depending on the normal circumstances of your website’s usage. For instance if you are currently on a shared server, and have a completely static website with just HTML files and images, then you will be able to handle much larger surges in traffic than a website that relies on running a PHP script and connecting to a database for each and every page request.
Surges in traffic will generally happen when your website is being crawled by automated bots either from search engines or other sources, your website is getting comment spammed or some other form of malicious activity is going on, or you have legitimate traffic going to your website all within a short duration of time.
A good way to spot a large traffic surge is by reviewing your Awstats report in cPanel, after you Login to your cPanel, simply click on the Awstats icon under the Logs section to access these reports.
If you constantly get 300 visits a day, and then notice all of the sudden it has spiked to over 1,000 this could indicate that you’re website is getting a large traffic surge. A lot of the times you might think more traffic equates to more people seeing your content, and more sales. However it’s important to note that it could also be robot activity, or there could be other reasons why all of the sudden the average level of traffic has suddenly shot up.
Optimize website to receive lots of traffic
As your website gets more and more traffic, this exponentially increases the demand on the server’s resources to fulfil all of your website requests. So as your level of traffic rises, you need to think about either upgrading your account to have more resources, such as what’s available on a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or dedicated server, or you need to optimize your website as much as possible to handle the larger volume of traffic.
The most common ways to optimize your website are going to be looking at implementing a level of caching to reduce duplicate database calls, limiting the amount of dynamic content you have such as plugins or modules, and also limiting access to your website to only certain users such as not allowing certain bots to crawl your website.
If a website receives a large surge in traffic, in extreme cases this can lead to an account suspension, so it’s very important to realize the impact that additional traffic to your website can have on your account.