Website Optimization + Server Optimization = Profits Soar!

Oscommerce Sales Graph Profits go Ballistic

Oscommerce Sales Graph of client profits going through the roof.

One of my clients was on television. They did not bother to tell me this. Before being on TV, they were receiving an average of 3000 visitors per month and they were doing fine on a shared hosting account with about several other clients. A few more details on this client are that they were running on 6 year old code and they had not invested in any upgrades since the website was originally designed. That being the case, the code and the server was not optimized to handle the tsunami of traffic (100 times) that they had coming down the pipe. This was made evident by the website going offline as soon as they went on air. They called me and I dropped everything to jump on the problem right away.

I started making adjustments to the server to try and get it back online, but everything i tried to do was in vain and the server went offline within a few seconds of reboots. I, immediately, started setting up a new server that i could move them to and they would not share with anyone else. A couple minutes later i had the client off the shared server with the shared server fully operational again, and a couple hours later, moved the client to their own server where they were fully operational and no longer in a shared environment. The server was optimized and they were back in business. The server they were running on was a UNIX machine running Apache. There were many optimizations we set on the server, however one very important setting that made a big difference was the “KeepAlive” Timeout. We set that from 1600 seconds down to 300 seconds. This made a big difference in the server performance along with the other server optimizations.

On another front, I attacked was the software side of things. I setup some standard .htaccess code to optimize file handling along with other issues to improve the User Experience and then began to march through the code on the website looking for ways to improve the code. I changed a majority of the code form Table based inline HTML to all Web 2.0 DIV based HTML/CSS. This made a significant difference in this heavy database driven e-commerce website and furthered the website optimization necessary to maximize the profits for the client.

After all was said and done, the client was back online and doing business the same day at a minimum cost and as fast as possible. This month they are expected to gross over $70K after having $300 monthly averages in the past. Needless to say the Champagne is out and they are celebrating!

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