How To Make Your Website Ready For a Swiss Black Friday?

by Hidora – Official Cloud Hosting Partner of Swiss.blackfriday

Black Friday is the day that every customer waits for when they want to buy the product they desire because it’s their only chance all year to get it for a low price. Black Friday is a magical combination of words for both customers and business owners, as the former can get products for a reduced price and the latter will achieve their highest numbers of sales that year.

Have you ever wanted to buy something online but the website didn’t work? How would you feel if it happened on the day that your dream purchase was on sale at half price? What’s worse than losing customers on Black Friday if you own an ecommerce shop?

SWISS BLACK FRIDAY AS A CHANCE TO GROW YOUR ONLINE SALES

In 2014, Manor was the first company to launch the concept of Black Friday sales in Switzerland.

In 2016, the project Swiss.blackfriday took the idea and brought it to a national level.

Today Swiss.blackfriday is a website that offers the best online discount deals for more than 200 brands, including all kinds of online shops, from growing ones to market giants like Manor, Globus, Apple, HP, Zara or even Mediamarkt.

The experience of 2016 showed that Black Friday has a great potential in Switzerland and that this is only the beginning. However, lots of traders have discovered that their websites are not ready to handle the traffic they’ll get in order to participate in this event.

TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY: ARE EXTRA SERVERS NECESSARY?

It is not enough just to reduce prices and display a “Black Friday” label to double your sales on the day of the event. Black Friday, no matter the country, happens mainly online.

During this one day, websites receive a hurricane of requests and as we saw last year, some of them were not able to manage the load. According to an article by Le Temps: even Manor suffered, although it was not their first experience of Black Friday.

It is a difficult job to estimate the needs of web hosting: do you go with a small server to save costs or have several powerful servers to be sure to hold the load during this one-time event?

In the first case, one server is almost never enough and the seller who wants to save money will probably have his website unavailable at the worst possible time.

In the second case, the servers will cope but will be under-exploited for the rest of the year, which means money spent unnecessarily.

Therefore, commercial sites are confronted with the same problem: How can we manage the wave of consumers on this crucial event?

The difficulty is estimating the exact number of website visitors. For 2017, Swiss Black Friday is hoping to triple the number of consumers compared to last year. If the portal becomes inaccessible, it is not only a big loss for Swiss.blackfriday, but also for all of its partners. This is a problem that cannot be solved by “standard” providers (web hosting providers, VPS).

AN EFFECTIVE SOLUTION: AUTOMATIC SCALABILITY

Amazon was one of the first e-commerce websites and now has an excellent reputation.

It is not only the premier platform in America and Europe to make online purchases, but it is also the leader in cloud computing with its Amazon Web Services division. In fact, there is a logical reason for linking the two business lines: Amazon’s Cloud division was created to address the issue of exponential demands in the run-up to Christmas. As nothing previously existed, Amazon developed its own scalable hosting solution, which is currently used by many other ecommerce sites and even unrelated entities such as NASA and Netflix.

Nowadays, Switzerland also has its own scalable hosting solution. As you may know, it’s Hidora – official Cloud Hosting Partner of Swiss.blackfriday. Our Cloud Hosting Platform not only provides a quality service and has a more intuitive interface than the American giant, but most importantly, our ultra-secure datacenter in Bern is fully covered by Swiss legislation.

We are proud that Swiss.blackfriday chose us as its Cloud Hosting Provider to be sure that their portal will be available on the 24th of November 2017. Let’s take a look at how we’re going to handle it.

HOW SWISS.BLACKFRIDAY USES HIDORA CLOUD TO HANDLE A PEAK LOAD

This is how the Swiss Black Friday website manages to handle a large number of one-time users.

Organizers have created a highly-available cloud environment to run their website (based on WordPress for example) using Hidora.

Basically, this environment contains two load balancers, two databases, and two WordPress application servers sharing the same storage space. The Hidora Cloud is based on container virtualization technologies and places all the application components in secure and isolated Docker containers.

schema configuration

All the components of the same layer (load balancers, application servers and databases) are automatically distributed by the Hidora Cloud platform across different physical hosts for enforced high availability and better resource utilization. Moreover, Hidora automatically enables master-slave replication for MySQL database, so you don’t need to spend days configuring it. The good news is that it takes only 10 minutes to provide such complex architecture thanks to the Clustered WordPress package in the Hidora Marketplace.

When a user goes to the URL of the website, the request is sent randomly to one of the two load balancers (through DNS) which then relays this to any application server for it to be finally treated. Load balancers, based on NGINX or HAProxy, allow you to fine-tune the amount of requests arriving on the URL. By default, they evenly distribute requests between all WordPress instances and make them sticky to a particular backend.

In addition, NGINX load balancer handles both SSL/TLS termination and caching of static content, which does a great job of offloading backends during peak loads.

When the number of users increases and the application servers and/or the databases are overloaded, the platform automatically creates new instances (horizontal scaling) or adds power to existing instances (vertical scaling) depending on the configuration of the user. During horizontal autoscaling, the Hidora cloud platform automatically attaches a new WordPress instance to all related load balancers. This means that you don’t need to input anything manually and new instances will receive requests instantly.

In the opposite case, the platform can also delete instances and detaches them from load balancers, if they are not needed anymore due to low usage. This can be done in a few minutes and this method ensures that you will always have an environment that corresponds to your needs in terms of resources and cost.

Therefore, Hidora is perfectly adapted to websites that are subject to a highly variable number of requests over the course of a year, making it perfect for ecommerce. Moreover, in contrast to the Amazon Cloud, because Hidora stores your data in Switzerland, it does so according to Swiss legislation, which gives you a very high level of security.

The madness of Swiss Black Friday 2017 is about to start … Are you sure that your website will handle all traffic spikes? If you have any doubts, our sales team will be happy to help you.

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