website trafficIf you follow March Madness basketball, you’re aware of this year’s Cinderella run – Florida Gulf Coast University has exploded onto the NCAA tournament scene. As the first 15-seed ever to reach the Sweet 16, FGCU is breaking all the rules and setting new records for sports fans and media to talk about.

Their magical run is also setting new records for their website. After their victory over Georgetown, Internet traffic to FGCU’s online admissions page jumped 431 percent — then the site crashed. No one could have predicted FGCU’s success in the tournament, so preparing for a surge of website visits was probably not on anyone’s radar – and understandably so.

But, predicting how well your web servers can handle an increase in Internet traffic is sometimes easier than predicting how far your team will go in the tournament.

When web servers get bombarded with a high volume of user requests, they can become overwhelmed and unresponsive. To prepare for these situations and improve website performance, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can help. Using a CDN as part of your IT Infrastructure can reduce the risk of downtime and accelerate online performance in three ways:

Reduce latency – Each time a user clicks to view content on your website, the server has to process the request. With a large influx of site visitors, this can lead to slower response times and increased latency. A CDN can reduce the burden on the web server by storing cacheable content and distributing it directly to the end user.

Availability – Once your web server becomes overwhelmed, users can’t see any of your website content. But with a CDN, users can still access cacheable content in the event that the web server experiences an outage.

Scalability – The ability to scale means your website will be better equipped to handle traffic spikes, thanks to scalable storage capabilities. CDNs are also a security benefit because they offer protection from DDoS attacks that could leave servers vulnerable.

As evidenced by my busted bracket, I was clearly not ready for FGCU’s success in this year’s tourney. While we can’t help you prepare for surprise Cinderellas, we can help prepare your website for better performance and a more reliable online experience.

Learn more about how Internap’s Content Delivery Network can help your website deliver the optimum online experience.