How does the COVID-19 outbreak affect your website?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’re well aware that the COVID-19 pandemic is infecting people and causing panic around the world. Here in the United States, the CDC’s latest guidance includes several restrictive suggestions such as canceling any gatherings of over 50 people until mid-May. With many nations under quarantine and many more places almost to that point, what does all of this mean for your website?

Monitor your traffic and ensure you don’t exceed your bandwidth

Internet service providers in Europe, where many areas are on quarantine or limited in travel, are experiencing all-time internet usage records.

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise. If people are stuck at home with little to do, it would be expected that internet usage would spike. Some providers are reporting spikes as large as 20% or even 70%.

Of course, usage spikes don’t only impact internet service providers. They could also affect websites and hosting companies. Many hosting companies include a bandwidth limit in their services. If people are using the internet more, they’re also likely to visit your site more, so what might have been an appropriate bandwidth total in a bustling world might not be sufficient in a world dealing with event cancelations and quarantine.

Check your hosting package to see what your bandwidth limit is, if you have one. Find out what happens if you exceed it. Are you charged more? Does your hosting company take your site down for the rest of the billing period? Increased internet usage could mean increased exposure for your business or organization, and the last thing you want is an outage.

Consider moving more of your operations online

As previously mentioned, the CDC is recommending suspending all gatherings possible because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Is it possible for your to take more of your operations online? If you run a retail store, maybe it’s time to open up an online store to supplement your physical one — or potentially even replace it altogether until things get back to normal. If you host a lot of in-person meetings, consider a video chat. If you exchange a lot of information in person, find a way to digitize your process. Do you need a limited-access portion of your site for certain people like employees? Do you need shared cloud storage?

Lots of opportunities exist to move your business or organization to digital. It’s possible that once you find a way to digitize things, you may not even want to go back even once it’s safe to do so.