What is website traffic management?

Website traffic management describes the process of controlling the number and/or type of visitors to a website. Website traffic refers to web users who visit a website (from a desktop or mobile browser) as well as users of native mobile apps.

Website owners use web traffic management solutions to 1) maintain an acceptable level of website performance and/or 2) gain control over the order and type of visitors who enter their website, usually for purposes of fairness.

Group of users part of an unexpected traffic surge
Bottlenecks are the weakest link in your website

Prevent website crashes

Increasing website traffic is a common goal since it often results in more customers and sales/revenue growth. However, overwhelming surges in online traffic can often overwhelm website infrastructure. The two of the most prominent ecommerce bottlenecks are the inventory system and payment gateway. These systems are often difficult to scale and in many cases out of the direct control of the website.

Website traffic management solutions like Queue-it throttle the rate at which traffic arrives to a website or app to preserve satisfactory web performance.

Ensure online fairness

Let’s say there are 100 pairs of sneakers available during a sale. Because of the sneakers’ popularity, there are 10,000+ visitors who arrive for the online sale.

Many of these visitors will be bots that malicious actors use to scoop up as many products as possible to resell at huge markups. They use a massive volume of the bots’ and their programmatic speed to beat all real customers to payment confirmation.

The business owner needs to separate bots from genuine customers and needs a fair way to assign an order to the genuine customers who want to buy. A virtual waiting room can help achieve both goals.

Bad bots make online sales unfair

What are some website traffic management solutions?

Build performance into the web application

Example: There are many ways to do this including: using a CDN, toggling features, running load tests.

Considerations: A higher performing website is always beneficial. But these tactics focus on better handling website traffic that has already arrived, not managing how traffic enters the website.

Block access to the site during server overload

Example: Business owners could configure their CDN to serve a generic error page if the server response times out.

Consideration: This would effectively block access to the website for newcomers. However, the visitor gets no transparent information on when he or she will have access to the site.

Coordinate marketing campaigns

Example: Marketing can send emails in batches instead of to an entire email list.

Consideration: This would help avoid a massive traffic spike but does not control visitors coming from other sources.

Manage traffic inflow

Example: A virtual waiting room is the quintessential website traffic management solution.

Consideration: Waiting in line is not anyone’s favorite thing to do, but a virtual waiting room keeps visitor levels below where the website slows and crashes. Visitors exceeding the thresholds are offloaded to an online queue until the website can handle them. The online queue keeps users informed with information on wait times and number of people ahead in the virtual line.

By implementing Queue-it, we are able to process major ticket onsales smoothly, using the virtual queue system as an effective overload management tool.

Andy Perkis, Business Development Director EMEA, Tickets.com

Andy Perkis, Business Development Director EMEA, Tickets.com

Do you want to reliably control website traffic?