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Preparing Your Magento Commerce Cloud Website For the Holiday Season

If you’re in the eCommerce business and you’re a bit nervous about the upcoming holiday season, you’re not alone. It’s normal to feel a bit anxious and overwhelmed around this time of year, but we hope this article will help relieve some of your anxiety. This article discusses how you and your team can get ready from a technical standpoint but does not get into too much technical detail so that you’re not scared away by all of the technical jargon.

If you’re in the eCommerce business and you’re a bit nervous about the upcoming holiday season, you’re not alone. It’s normal to feel a bit anxious and overwhelmed around this time of year, but we hope this article will help relieve some of your anxiety. This article discusses how you and your team can get ready from a technical standpoint but does not get into too much technical detail so that you’re not scared away by all of the technical jargon.

These are the top things we advise eCommerce stores do to get their ducks in a row for the holiday season.

Review Server Resources and Up-size if Necessary

It’s easy to forget the resource limitations of your website before it’s too late, especially during the holiday season. Low disk space, CPU usage spikes, and memory usage spikes can impact your site performance. Unfortunately, you are more likely to discover these issues when your website is under high load on a day like Cyber Monday or Black Friday, which can be pretty catastrophic to your bottom line and cause irreparable damage to your brand.

If you’re a part of the small group of merchants/executives that possess some technical chops, you should take a look under the hood as soon as possible. If you’re not, you should have someone from your development or IT team take a look and provide recommendations if needed. Tools like New Relic APM  and Magento Business Intelligence are great tools to help you or your development team make the right decisions. Lucky for you, both of these tools are are included in Magento Commerce Cloud. Magento Support will usually upsize your store automatically during the holiday season, but it’s best to be aware of where your store stands so you can take action in the event something happens or prevent an issue that may not be on Magento Support’s radar.

We recommend doing the following if you want to free up resources quickly :

  • Deleting log files that are more than x days old to free up disk space  ( some companies are required to hold logs for a certain amount of time so just clear this with the appropriate people before proceeding; logs are also an essential debugging tool, so make sure you don’t need the logs you chose to delete )
  • Uninstalling Modules that are resource-intensive if you no longer use them or refactoring them if possible
  • Deleting product/customer export files or moving them to another server with more space

Create A Schedule/Plan

Around the holidays, people tend to work less, including your web development/IT staff, whether you work with an internal team or use a Magento 2 Agency.  You must know who will be available if your site goes down due to a spike in traffic or is attacked during the holiday season. You may choose to create a calendar that outlines who is on call on any particular holiday to ensure what happens you always have someone who can spring into action and rectify any issues.

With Magento Commerce Cloud, you always have Magento Support, but relying on Magento Support only during the holidays is not ideal. A developer on your internal team or from the agency you use who has worked within your codebase daily will be better equipped to put out a fire quickly and mitigate your losses.

Perform a Security Analysis

The Holiday season is also a popular time for cyberattacks. Since more people are shopping online, there are more opportunities for attackers to benefit. Hackers can use your site as a means to distribute malicious email, steal customer financial data,  and or  bring your site down amongst, other things.

We recommend :

  • Having  your web development team install the latest security patches
  • Having your team review your server logs for suspicious activity and implementing Magento Support recommendations

Plan a code freeze

Last but not least, you must decide when you will stop working on your site and go into a code freeze to prevent shooting yourself in the foot. It’s common for things to go wrong with each new feature added to a site, so it is vital not to have your team actively deploying recent changes to your site during the busiest time of the year. Unless there is a checkout bug that prevents a large number of customers from checking out, it is probably best to pump the brakes by the time Thanksgiving rolls around.