Snow impacts education websites, it's crucial they're ready

Snow sweeps across the country, the online world of online education takes a 15,600% hit. Why would it, doesn’t it seem obvious at first?

Photo by Valdemars Magone, via Unsplash - https://unsplash.com/photos/Es9o44wXp4I

Snow on the weather forecast? Then it's time to recognition, plan, and ensure the online world for Education platforms are able to handle what was to come.

Expect huge spikes in site traffic, visitors, page views, and requests.

On 28th February 2018, around 6AM, just this happened. Snow swept the UK nation and parents took to the internet. Wondering and wishing whether their sons or daughters school will be closed. This resulted in visiting schools websites. But not just a single visit, parents are on a missions to refresh the page as many time needed, until the school reveals the answer on their website.

The average day

On the average day, again around 6AM, a secondary school website takes around 60 page views. This are ‘page views’ not ‘sessions’. If you visit a websites homepage and continue to navigate through to the contact page, that's recorded as 2 page views and 1 session.

Seems a fairly low page view number? It may be, but remember this is not a website that is selling a product or providing a service. A school website’s main goal is to update parents and students with information about day-to-day school life, exam results, and maybe some news. Pretty easy stuff.

The snow day

This is where things get pretty crazy. Not keeping an eye on the weather and news as a web host system administrator for education, snow can really catch you off guard!

To a point where server failure would be guaranteed, with persistent parents being slapped with 500 server errors. Something that obviously CANNOT happen, of all days! So how crazy do things get?

During the course of Black Friday and Cyber Mondays, online shops generally see a 100 to 200% increase in traffic. Nice! On 28th February, the school websites I host and maintain, saw increased traffic spikes as high as 15,600%, with the smallest being 6,000% - individually!!

No, that's not a typo. I had increases of traffic as high as 15,600%, compared to that of the average traffic expected on a normal day.

But this didn’t happen only on Wednesday 28th February, this also happened to mirror onto 1st and 2nd March 2018. Nothing like being kept on our toes.

And that being said, today is 18th March 2018, and the snow is building on this Sunday evening — time to prep the server and expect further spikes in traffic.

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