Fundamental Technology Challenges for E-Commerce – And How We’re Solving Them

by | Dec 18, 2018

Andrew Humber

Andrew hails from the UK, but headed for the warmer Bay Area climate over a decade ago. When he’s not being Webscale’s VP of Marketing, he’s a husband, father, dog walker, wine taster, and hopeless home improver.

While a lot of merchants saw solid growth this year, the all-too-familiar downtime, performance, and bot/cyber-threat challenges continued to plague many. Every storefront will run into these at some point, especially if they are experiencing rapid growth, the question is: are these problems being accepted as “status quo” and just a part of doing business online, or are they problems merchants are scrambling to find a solution for?

In 2018 we saw:

Uptime: Walmart, J.Crew, and Lululemon sites struggled to handle the Black Friday rush. Barneys New York site was down on Black Friday. Ulta Beauty’s website crashed during the Thanksgiving weekend. Companies including the photo printing site Shutterfly and the fine China company, Lenox, sent emails to customers on Tuesday (after Cyber Monday) apologizing for not processing orders due to website problems. Many e-retailers’ websites experienced service disruptions and slowdowns.

It’s not uncommon. Traffic peaks experienced by online merchants often turn out to be more than previously imagined, causing downtime and site slowdowns, and disappointing end users. Even Amazon crashed as soon as Prime Day began!

More than 1,000 online storefronts delivered via the Webscale platform maintained 100% uptime from browsing to checkout over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. We served more than 1.5 billion page requests contributing to a GMV in excess of $500 million. Our platform was designed to handle the stresses placed on modern e-commerce businesses, and our only concern is making sure that our customers stay fast, live and secure, when they need it most. And they appreciate it.

Security: Magento recently confirmed that their e-commerce platform suffered a huge malware attack that impacted about 5,000 Magento Open Source users. A notorious hacker group is exploiting a long list of zero-day vulnerabilities in popular Magento extensions to inject digital skimming code. Magento exploits are fairly common. Given the resources and technologies hackers have access to today, attacking a Magento site, and holding it for ransom or stealing credit card information, is shockingly easy. Losses from these and other forms of e-commerce fraud could top $19 billion this year alone.

Moreover, malicious bots present a massive challenge as they constitute a significant percentage of an e-commerce storefront’s traffic – leading to poor conversion rates in addition to security threats.

A basic web application firewall (WAF) doesn’t cut it anymore. Online merchants need robust 360-degree security – at the origin and at the edge. It’s why we have launched Enterprise Cloud Secure (the industry’s first security solution that offers 360-degree protection for web application infrastructure, and gets rid of the need for expensive “edge” solutions) and Cloud Bot Manager (a next-generation bot management solution powered by machine learning).

Webscale’s security suite successfully mitigated over 17 million threats during the Cyber Weekend, including bots, scrapers, account takeovers, credit card fraud attacks, and brute force login attempts.

Performance: Slow is the new down. 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Webscale upgraded its performance suite delivering up to 150% faster performance for e-commerce storefronts running on the platform. We introduced Dynamic Site Cache and Cache Override features to significantly accelerate online storefronts without the need for premium CDNs.

Online storefronts delivered via Webscale’s E-Commerce Cloud platform maintained lightning-fast page loads for more than 20 million shoppers during Cyber Weekend.

We’ll be delivering a lot more in 2019 – if you’d like to talk to us about your infrastructure and where you want to be when Black Friday 2019 comes around, drop us a line at

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