What is website scalability?
Website scalability refers to the ability of a website to handle sudden changes in website traffic without compromising its performance. A scalable website can easily deal with a huge traffic and an incredible number of requests with no downtime, no error and great speed.
A scalable website will deliver seamless performance regardless of the traffic it receives.
Importance of website scalability for website owners
If you expect to see growth in your website reach, then it is better that you learn about website scalability right away. A website can be made scalable by optimizing its hardware and software, and improving the network infrastructure.
It is necessary to make sure your website is scalable because users are not willing to engage with unresponsive and slow websites. If you are a business owner, then scalability should be one of the first things you should consider when purchasing a web hosting service.
Apart from user experience, website scalability helps you improve SEO rankings as well. It is also cost efficient because it ensures optimized utilization of resources for your website.
Challenges arising from poor website scalability
You may be wondering what are the issues that you may face if your website is not scalable. Let’s discuss some of the challenges here.
If your website is not scalable then it will have poor performance. This can happen especially when there is a sudden spike in traffic. The website will be slow and it may even become unresponsive at times. This makes users frustrated, resulting in higher bounce rates and lower rankings.
Website downtime might also increase. Downtime increases because the website is not capable of handling such high traffic. This can lead to loss of revenue, lower ranking and poor reviews.
Security issues can also increase because of poor scalability. Outdated software, inefficient infrastructure and lack of resources to deal with security threats are some of the downfalls of a poorly scaled website. So to avoid all these issues, it is better to make your website scalable right from the start.
Let’s take a look at some steps you can take to handle your growing website and chalk out an effective website scalability plan.
How to plan for website scalability?
1. Identify goals for the website
As a website owner, you must have a vision for the growth of your website. Identify what are the goals you wish to achieve with your website and chart out a course to attain them.
Your website goals could be anything. You may want to increase the traffic to your website, generate revenue or solely focus on user engagement.
This will help you in evaluating an approximate range of resources to be allocated for your website. Clearly defining your goals makes it easier to plan for future growth because you will have a better idea of what challenges you will face.
2. Analyze current infrastructure
Understanding the state of your infrastructure would help greatly in planning for its future growth. It will assist in bringing to light the exact requirements for your website. You can start by analyzing your servers. See if there is enough capacity in the server to handle consistent rise in traffic and content. This step will help you in understanding whether you need to upgrade your server or not.
Similarly you can check your software and databases. Check the third- party applications which you have already installed and determine if it is suitable for your goals.
To help improve the scalability of your website, there are some other techniques that can be of assistance. Apart from using CMS and CDNs there are a few other steps that you can take that will help in improving your scalability.
1. Horizontal & Vertical Scaling
In horizontal scaling more servers are added to increase the capacity and ensure proper functioning of the website. The workload is distributed, making the entire system work more efficiently. With horizontal scaling there is better fault tolerance and availability.
In vertical scaling the more resources are added to the existing servers such as RAM, CPU and storage. This type of scaling improves is simple in execution and can be done at a lower cost.
Caching temporarily stores frequently used data so that the number of requests that are made to the server are reduced. This helps in reducing server load, increasing speed, creating better user experience.
Tools like Redis or Memcache can be used.
Caching can reduce downtime of your website. It thereby increases the reliability and availability of your website.
3. Use Content Management Systems
Using content management systems can help greatly with website scalability because of the modular architecture. With modular architecture, removing and adding functionalities is a lot easier. This means that it will be easier and faster to add new features when scaling up a website because there is no need to change the underlying code.
4. Use Content Delivery Network
Content Delivery Network is used to optimize a server by distributing a number of servers across several different geographical locations. This improves the speed of the website, especially when it is accessed by users who do not share the same location as the server.
In website scalability, CDN helps by improving security, speed and reliability. It also reduces load from the main server. Since content can be delivered from many different servers, the origin server does not get overloaded. This allows for scalability.
Partitioning or Sharding improves website scalability by splitting large datasets into smaller ones. These divisions are stored in a separated node or server. Thus, the workload of a server is reduced.
Each of these nodes or servers handle a specific subset of the entire data. Websites that receive particularly heavy traffic handling large volumes of data can benefit greatly from this technique.
Website scalability is an essential part of growth. It is important that website owners understand how to plan and scale their websites for better performance. Website owners who aim to provide a seamless user experience, increase SEO rankings, reduce downtime and get better resource utilization can benefit from understanding website scalability.
If your website is scaled poorly it will affect its performance, SEO rankings, user engagement, availability and security negatively. Therefore, plan how to scale your website by identifying the goals of your website and analyzing the current infrastructure. Implement scalability techniques such as horizontal scaling and vertical scaling, caching, using CMS, using CDN and partitioning.
A scalable website will help you deal with any level of complexity with ease while remaining functional and secure.