Crisis Management

One could distinguish two types of crisis:

  1. A traffic surge – due to a (media) incident suddenly your site traffic spikes
  2. Service interruption – your servers are down or your app runs amok.

Contrary to wishful thinking, those two events are not entirely unrelated. I.e. they often occur simultaneously. So how to react? And better yet, how to be prepared?

Traffic surge

Ideally you prepare yourself similar as for a “Flash success”. At the end the effect is similar: you instantly get a lot more traffic to your website. However in the case of an incident you might need to consider to put more focus on a lite version of your website that provides the critical information that people are looking for.

Examples of incidents and how organizations dealt with them:

Broken application

In case your application doesn’t behave like it should, you should ensure they are automatically redirect to a different server. A Virtual IP (VIP) address might come at hand, so you can instantly switch servers without changing DNS (with a DNS it might take up to hours before effect is seen by the user).

In case you can’t invest in a fall-over server (park), redirect them to a single page with basic instructions. Include your twitter address or some other service which is likely accessible for your visitors (and yourself), so they can be informed instantly about what is going on with your site or application.


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