Noga Cohen is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for CA BlazeMeter. She manages the BlazeMeter blog and other content activities. Noga focuses on creating technological content in the fields of performance, load testing and API testing, both independently and by managing writers who are developers. Noga has more than 5 years of experience in a wide scope of writing techniques: hi-tech, business, journalist and academic.

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16 Website Crashes From 2017 That Could Have Been Prevented

2017 is drawing to an end, making it a good time to look back at some of the largest website crashes of the past year. Heavy traffic surges caused quite a few websites to go down, negatively affecting commercial sales and revenues, governmental services and organizations’ reputations.


But these website crashes could have been avoided with proper performance testing. Testing continuously throughout the year, and especially before big events, ensures properly performing websites and apps, and high customer and user satisfaction.


Here are 16 of this year’s largest website crashes from all over the world:


1. Stephen Hawking’s Phd crashed the University of Cambridge’s website - “Properties of Expanding Universes” from 1966 was made publically available for the first time, and the demand to read it was so big that the university’s site crashed. While the university can do better, at least there’s hope for humankind.


2. The Bitcoin crashed the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) - Heavy loads of traffic surrounding the Bitcoin launch on the CBOE caused the website to crash, making systems unavailable. The coin might be virtual, but the price of crashing is real. Buckle up and prepare better for next time, options exchanges.


3. Music video crashed Seoul’s tourism website - BTS boy band released “With Seoul” a song to promote the city’s tourism. The band is so popular that the attempts to download the song crashed the city’s website. Is the song really that good? See for yourselves:



4. The US’s Department of Veteran Affairs website crashed under heavy demand - High demand for new veteran identification cards crashed the VA’s website. Services people need get spikes of traffic, especially in their first few days. So test your website beforehand to avoid aggravation.


5. Meghan Markle’s coat crashed Line the Label’s website - The actress and soon to be royal family member Meghan Markle wore a coat by Line the Label when announcing her engagement to Prince Harry. But the enthusiasm from the coat was so big, that it caused the brand’s website to crash. When Rihanna wore Stance, they ran performance tests in advance, which is the smart thing to do when your store engages with celebrities.


6. Political message almost crashed clothing brand Patagonia’s website - Patagonia posted a message opposing a political move by Trump that would reduce the size of public lands that are kept as national monuments to Native American tribes, among others. The interest in the message resulted in large amounts of traffic that caused the owners to struggle under high demand. Will this extensive interest also induce a change in policy?


7. Expected snow in the UK crashed the Met Office’s website - An expected heavy snow storm got people anxious to get weather warnings from the the Met, the UK’s national weather service. But the website was unavailable, getting people even more anxious. In Australia, the City of Melville runs performance tests to be able to keep their citizens updated. In times of emergencies, people need to be able to count on receiving governmental services.


8. Fees Commission Report crashed the Presidency of South Africa’s website - The official Presidency of South Africa’s website crashed quite quickly after the much anticipated Fees Commission report was published. Performance testing the website could have prevented the protests following the release, which were the result of civil frustration that surrounded the release of the report.


9. ‘Stranger Things' fans crashed museum's website buying dinosaur hoodies - After one of the main characters on ‘Stranger Things’ wore a purple hoodie from the Science Museum of Minnesota with an image of a Brontosaurus. Enthusiastic fans looking to buy the same hoodie crashed the website, which couldn’t handle the heavy demand. This has to be the cutest crash ever.


Black Friday and Cyber Monday Crashes


Retailers prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday all year round. The main characteristic of these two days is many, many visitors on your website, looking to spend money on great deals. These enormous amounts of traffic are prone to crashing websites, unless proper performance testing and preparation of adequate infrastructure and software is undergone.


Here are retailers who were surprised they had many visitors this year:


10. Shoppers crashed J. Crew’s website on Cyber Monday - “Our site’s experiencing more traffic than usual” the retailer’s website stated.


11. Debenhams’ website crashes under high traffic on Black Friday - “Sorry, we’re getting a high amount of visitors to our site,” they wrote.


12. The Perfume Shop’s website crashed on Black Friday - “We have been overwhelmed with customers,” the shop commented to The Sun online.


Isn’t that the whole point?


But even more surprising, are retailers whose websites couldn’t handle heavy traffic last year and didn’t take the necessary measures to prevent the same scenario from happening this year:


13. Macy’s website slowed down significantly on Black Friday due to high capacity, again


14. GAME website crashed on Black Friday after launching promising deals, again


15. Takealot website and app crashed on Black Friday under heavy loads, again


Maybe they’ll load test before Black Friday 2018.


And finally -


16. Lowe’s’ website crashed on Black Friday under heavy demand - Though they worked quickly to restore the website, this could have been avoided by performance testing.


How Can You Prevent Your Website From Crashing?


Website crashes can be avoided by using load and functional testing tools like JMeter, Locust, Gatling, Jenkins, Selenium and BlazeMeter. By simulating real world scenarios under heavy loads through these tools, bottlenecks and critical failure points can be identified in advance and fixed.


Planning out the right types of tests - stress tests, soak tests, ramping up slowly - over an adequate period of time, as well as implementing continuous testing, will ensure a functioning website and happy customers.


Get more load testing tips from here.


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