How Monitoring Helps Avoid the Greatest Dangers to Your Website this Holiday Season

The holidays are here. It’s the happiest time of year but also the most dangerous time for your website. This season usually means sales and events, which bring in a surge of website traffic and strains to your systems. If you are not prepared for these changes, your website could pay the price and ultimately damage your business’s reputation and revenue.

We want to avoid these catastrophes. Today, we go over the top dangers your website could be facing this holiday season and what you can do to avoid them.

Website Outages

A rush of incoming traffic can overwhelm your computing and data capacities and cause an outage. Even large companies like Costco and Nordstrom have crashed during Black Friday sales due to this problem. And studies have shown that 25% of enterprises reported their website downtime cost them over $300,000 per hour in revenue loss.

Utilize HTTP Checks

Even when you do all the preparation for testing your website, outages may still occur, which is when you’ll want to implement a monitoring tool that can create HTTP checks to oversee the health of your URL and IP addresses. These checks can determine if your pages are returning successful responses and can trigger alerts if it fails.

You can set up this check to trigger on intervals from 1-60 minutes, and it can also follow redirects. There are many more usages of these multi-functional checks, like monitoring a proxy, if you want to learn more.

Slow Performance

According to Unbounce, 70% of consumers have said that page speed influences their likeliness to buy from a site, 45.4% are less likely to make a purchase if the page loads slowly, and 36.8% are less likely to return to the website at all. This is why slow performance can hurt your business by driving away customers and hurting your brand. Holiday traffic surges could make your system perform slower than usual due to the increase in computational demands on your website.

Track Performance with RUM

To fix slow-performing pages, you must first know which pages to target. Real User Monitoring allows you to track user sessions and gain performance metrics to determine which pages are slow or causing customer problems. Uptime.com’s Real User Monitoring (RUM) service has breakdowns for page load and ajax load times in its RUM reports, which show both analytics and graphical representations of this data for easy understanding. Using the data from these metrics will pinpoint which pages are driving customers away and create targeted solutions.

Developer Burnout

Not all dangers to your website are technical; many are human and accidental. By the end of the year, developers are tired. They have worked hard, and holidays are when they want to relax, go on vacation, and spend time with their loved ones.

This also means there are usually fewer employees around to respond to threats and those that remain to take on more work. If their workload isn’t properly managed, it can lead to burnout and harm their ability to respond to issues.

Set Up Precise Alerts

Instead of grueling on-call rotations that leave developers exhausted, it is more effective to implement multi-channel monitoring, which means sending your alerts to multiple destinations (SMS, Slack channels, texts, groups, etc.). So, instead of blasting the alert to a wide range of developers unnecessarily, you can notify the correct group of people that actually understand the part of the system that is having issues.

You can also use escalations and specific contact groups to route the issues to the right developer at the right time and prevent multiple developers from working on the same issue at once.

A prime example of this is setting up an alert that will trigger an email, SMS, or other messages to the developer who directly worked on this page that is having the error now. If the alert is not acknowledged within 15 minutes, it will escalate and call the developer instead. If continually not acknowledged after 30 minutes, it will escalate and call the second contact (i.e., a manager).

Keep Your Website Safe

The best way to avoid the common pitfalls of the holiday season is to first acknowledge the dangers of website outages, slow performance, and cyber-attacks and then set up monitoring on your website to maintain its health. For more information, check out Uptime.com’s free 14-day trial of its website monitoring and alerting tools to help you keep your website safe, or contact our team to get more info.

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Jyna is a former software engineer, with experience in computer systems, reliability testing, and web monitoring. She’s worked with companies like Capital One, Meredith Corp, and Route to build out their architectures, pipelines, testing suites, APIs, and post-deployment monitoring.

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