October 18, 2012, 11:36 AM

Beyond the Rack speeds page load time 20% during peak traffic periods

The flash-sale site gets a quarter of its traffic in a two-hour window.

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Flash-sale retailer Beyond the Rack, which says it gets millions of visitors each month, wanted to make sure that its e-commerce site would perform well when customers flood it daily to check for the latest deals. To make sure it was up to the task, the retailer—which more than doubled its sales from 2010 to 2011, making it the fasted-growing e-retailer in Internet Retailer Top 500—recently tapped into services provided by Akamai Technologies that have quickened page load times.

The e-retailer employed several products within Akamai’s Aqua Web Solutions software suite to address site availability, page site load times and security. About 25% of Beyond the Rack’s daily traffic comes within a two-hour window following each day’s sales launch at 11 a.m. Eastern time, says Ted Guglielmi, Beyond the Rack chief technology officer. One of Beyond the Rack’s concerns was what might happen if the site suffered a denial-of-service attack during one of these periods.

Such an attack, where criminals take control of many consumers’ computers and flood a web site with traffic, are designed to make sites inaccessible to legitimate users, resulting in a loss of customer traffic and sales. “The costs associated with downtime are significant and immediate,” Guglielmi says. “Being proactive about mitigating downtime helps us avoid lost revenues.” The retailer implemented an Akamai firewall service that filters bad traffic from good traffic.

To boost site performance and page load times, the e-retailer added the vendor’s site accelerator service. Now pages render roughly 20% faster during peak traffic periods, compared with before it began using the service, the retailer says. The site gets approximately 3.6 million visits a month. Beyond the Rack is No. 174 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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