Maintaining Uptime: 4 Traits of High Performance Websites

By Flux7 Labs
September 13, 2014


This week, we’re starting a new project with a client who is laser-focused on improving the performance of its website. This ecommerce company knows its customers won’t stand for slow load times. And, a poor-performing site can damage its search rankings, risks it doesn’t want to take.

Small and large businesses alike are increasingly migrating their mission-critical business functions to the cloud. They are increasingly linking their success and business agility with their ability to maintain high-performance websites and services.

While cloud service providers strive to maintain 99.9% uptime rates, risk still exists. They are in regard to service providers and related to how a business’ cloud infrastructure is architected and maintained.
Most of us use cloud or web-based (SaaS) ecommerce, games, business applications, data storage, and social or information services on a near basis. And, while many of us rely on these applications or cloud services to run our own business, we won’t stand for poor performance.

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Businesses that rely on large, time-sensitive or high volumes of web-based transaction (such as brokerages) are even more significantly impacted by downtime. Other organizations, such as those aiming to achieve continuous integration and continuous deployment practices using web-based development, can experience significant disruption when web services are down.

What’s more, the ecosystem of businesses dependant on website or web service uptime is expanding. Increasingly, new business models are relying on performance to maintain their revenue streams and keep their sites highly ranked on search engines.

Four new markets that can’t compromise on uptime include:

  1. Sharing Marketplaces: Uber, Airbnb, and, now, B2B services are experiencing rapid growth. On-Demand Delivery, the on-demand delivery service market, has received huge injections of capital from venture firms. Analysts claim that revenue from the global-sharing economy could hit $335 billion by 2025.

  2. Just-in-Time Manufacturing: Want those custom shoes? Ready to put your own 3D printer to work? This group of businesses often relies on large amounts of data being transferred efficiently (plans, pictures, schematics) in addition to website transactions.

  3. Secure Health Communications: While messaging and data transfers may or may not include images and large files, their privacy and assured delivery are essential for users.

  4. Analytics: According to InfoWorld, recent research from analyst firm Gartner Group found that the number of businesses that are considering to run mission-critical analytics in the cloud remained steady at 30% for a number of years. In 2014, however, this number jumped up to nearly half of surveyed businesses.

To help our clients, we’ve found four characteristics of websites or cloud infrastructure that will help maintain a high level of uptime:


  1. Self-Healing: Fixes itself in more than 99% of the cases.

  2. Repeatable: Turns server creation into a science.

  3. Quick: Regular fire drills can be conducted.

  4. Human Agnostic: Instructions are simple enough that they can be followed by any individual.

In terms of pure website performance, load testing is essential to understanding performance issues and looking for likely candidates to improve performance and reduce costs.

Security is also a key element of uptime. Evaluating VPC, subnets and ACLs to secure unencrypted traffic helps prevent against attacks and malware that can bring your site infrastructure down.

And, finally, robustness in the form of automation (CloudFormation), configuration managment (Chef), and auto-scaling groups are steps to take to set your site up right and future-proof it for growth.

We’ll be putting all these practices into action for our ecommerce client, as we’ve done for others.

Now, read how this startup is ensuring uptime by using devops approaches to ensure solid, high-efficiency infrastructure.

Click to read a case study about uptime