2 things you cannot escape: Taxes & Dead Websites "HTTP 500. Server Busy" The Turbotax logo. Copyright TurbotaxAs the most obvious of all web errors, it gets disproportional attention. But when the website of a major tax-filing company crashes under high levels of traffic, it can seriously dent consumer confidence in the web. "One thing's for sure: I will not be E-filing for another 10 years, not with TurboTax or any other software or E-file service," says a user of TurboTax, a popular tax-preparation service. Planning for such spikes in traffic is one of the hardest parts of web infrastructure maintenance. In some cases it is simply not possible to cope with the huge demands that users can place on a site at very short notice. It is akin to 10,000 people marching into a small Post Office at 4.55pm on a Friday evening to demand that their parcels all be expedited before 5 o'clock. Not very fair on anyone! But who said you need to play fair yourself? There are some sneaky techniques for managing such demand. An attentive technical team should be able to track web activity real-time. In extreme circumstance, they could decide to allocate processing time based on some agreed guidelines. For example, if the visitors from one particular country need your services more than others - you could start to deny access to everyone else. In addition, users who appear to be simply browsing the site (as opposed to using applications) could be disconnected. Various other mechanisms exist - many derived from security procedures used to identify hackers and crackers. Of courses, none are ideal. It would indeed be best to have some extra processing power on standby. Happily, such resources are now becoming available. Recall the item below about the Amazon and its online services.


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