Can Too Much Traffic Be Bad For Your Website?

Most website owners spend considerable time and money trying to generate traffic. After all, for the majority of websites, increased visitors translates directly into increased profits. However, one thing that you might never consider is if you could ever have too much traffic.

Problems From Too Much Traffic

There are three main problems that you might encounter from having too many visitors:

  1. Software and databases might be unable to support high use.
    If you have a dynamic website, every time a visitor loads a page or makes some other request, not only do your dynamic scripts have to serve the appropriate pages, but your database also has to allow access. If you have too many concurrent users, many scripts are unable to handle the load.
  2. Hosting limitations might be exceeded.
    Like most small website, you probably use a shared hosting plan. While these plans are generally cheap and provide a great service for small websites, with a large high-traffic website, you will quickly exceed the boundaries of your hosting plan. This may result in excess charges and downtime.
  3. User experience and support might suffer.
    If you respond to user feedback or questions, or moderate a forum, it might be difficult to maintain the same level of support when your traffic increases.

Preparing For The Traffic Boom

If you’ve noticed an increase in traffic and think that you might be nearing the performance limits of both your software and the bandwidth and memory allotment of your hosting account, there are a few things to do.

1. Determine Hosting Limitations

First, you will need to know how much traffic your hosting plan can support. To figure out this answer, just go ask your web host. They will likely give you an answer in terms of bandwidth and memory.

2. Optimize Dynamic Scripts & Implement Caching

Second, it is important to optimize your dynamic scripts. This includes limiting calls to databases and improving queries so that they don’t tax your database.

Another way to limit calls to database is by caching. This involves generating static copies of dynamic pages.

3. Consider Switching To Dedicated Hosting

Over time, as your traffic increases, you might realize that your shared hosting plan will soon be unable to support the demands of your website. And even if you optimize your scripts and implement caching, you still might need another option. If this is the case, you consider a virtual private server (VPS) or a dedicated server.

Both of these options will be able to support a greater amount of traffic. Unfortunately, they will be more expensive than shared hosting. VPS is generally about 3-8 times the price of shared hosting, and dedicated hosting is about 10-15 times the price of shared hosting. As a result, it is important to switch only if you need the resources.

 

As with most things, traffic is only good in moderation. After all, an unexpected surge in traffic can result in downtime, hosting plan suspension, and a poor user experience.

As a result, it is necessary to plan for traffic by optimizing dynamic scripts, implementing caching, and moving a website to a dedicated server. Perhaps you should also consider whether the added costs are worth the traffic, or plan to monetize the traffic by adding strategically placed ads in your website.

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1 Response to “Can Too Much Traffic Be Bad For Your Website?”

  • sanimoyo September 30, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    I guess the negatives do not count if your site is well monetized from the start,eg you would then afford to move to a better hosting package.

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