Dixons’ annual sale got off to a bad start this morning when the website went offline due to a “high volume of visitors.”
One of the main aims of a sale is to drive increased volumes of traffic, so the outage suggests that Dixons failed to properly test and prepare its systems in the run up to the event.
It’s too early to say how much traffic Dixons will be losing traffic to its competitors, but at the time of writing the site had been down for several hours so it’s likely that customers will have started to shop elsewhere as a result.
In the event that the site does fall over, there are a number of options open to website owners. For instance they could use scalable servers for rapid deployment, sophisticated load balancing to off-load traffic spikes or utilise a CDN (content delivery network) to offset the load associated with the delivery of images and video.
At the moment Dixons may be considering all or none of these options as it tries to get its site back online.
But in the meantime, every visitor who sees the error message is a potential customer lost to its competitors.