It's a familiar scenario: A person clicks a link to your business's website, types in the URL, or opens the mobile app—then the waiting begins. If it takes more than a few seconds for the website or app to load, chances are strong that the user will move on to the next activity. The result? You just lost a potential customer, and they probably blame your business for the poor experience.
But here's the thing: website performance issues might not be your fault. The internet today is an extension of your corporate network and cloud environment. It's a big place, and latency problems can stem from several factors. The slowness could be the result of problems with the internet service provider, the infrastructure platform the service is hosted on, or the Software as a Service platform that delivers it. Or maybe there's a problem with the route the internet traffic is taking to access your services. What's clear is that you need to quickly identify the cause of the performance problems and take steps to mitigate the latency before the business loses any more revenue (or brand reputation, for that matter).
Time to put on the Sherlock Holmes hat. Here are some straightforward steps you can take to determine the cause of the website performance issues.
1. Make sure that the problem isn't on your end
If you're hosting the servers, or if they are hosted in the cloud, the first thing to do is consult performance monitoring tools to make sure that the problem isn't onsite in one of your data centers or in your cloud infrastructure. Monitoring tools can tell if the latency is caused by some runaway process or by a problem with a database application, for example.
2. Run traceroutes
When latencies begin to creep up—and users start complaining about site or app slowness—it's important to look at the path that internet traffic is taking to access your services. You can accomplish this by running traceroutes. Traceroute is a utility that displays the route from a user's device through the internet to a specified endpoint, such as your site. Traceroute shows the routers encountered at each hop and displays the amount of time that each hop takes.
If you run a traceroute and determine, for example, that your internet service provider is taking your traffic across the ocean and back for no discernable reason, you'd better pick up the phone. Find out what the provider is doing and why they're doing it.
3. Consult the Internet Intelligence Map
Another step you can take to gauge the health of the global internet is to consult Oracle's Internet Intelligence Map. The map is a free resource that lets users know how things like natural disasters, government-imposed internet shutdowns, and fiber-optic cable cuts affect internet traffic across the globe.
If you notice that users from a particular country are complaining about latency problems, you can look at the Internet Intelligence Map to see if an issue with internet connectivity in that country has been identified. You can also drill down a little deeper to examine latency and connectivity trends for individual network service providers in that country.
The online resource is broken up into two sections: Country Statistics and Traffic Shifts. The Country Statistics section reports any potential internet disruptions seen during the past week, highlighting any that have occurred over the previous 48 hours. Disruption severity is based on three primary measures of internet connectivity in that country: border gateway protocol (BGP) routing information, traceroutes to responding hosts, and DNS queries from that country received by Oracle Dyn's authoritative DNS servers. The Traffic Shifts section is based on traceroute data and illustrates changes in how traffic is reaching target networks, as well as associated changes in latency.
As an example, the following Internet Intelligence Map image clearly depicts a network connectivity dip in Iraq on June 21. This particular dip occurred as the result of a government-imposed internet shutdown that was enacted to deter students from cheating during high school exams.
It's important to work with cloud infrastructure providers who offer visibility into internet traffic patterns. This provides added peace of mind as your business migrates to the cloud, builds cloud-native applications, and troubleshoots website performance issues.
The internet is the world's most important network, but it's incredibly volatile. Disruptions on the internet can affect your business in profound ways. That's why today's businesses need better visibility into the health of the global internet.
Once you have these insights, you can find ways to reroute traffic and work around outages and latency issues. The result is improved overall website and application performance and, more importantly, happier customers.