Preparing for a high-traffic event or website launch

Expecting a high-traffic event to send a significant amount of traffic to your website? Acquia encourages you to contact Acquia Support to help you prevent a website outage by auditing your website’s performance, and then, if necessary, scheduling an upsize to your hardware. Events causing enough traffic to affect your website’s availability include:

  • Website launches
  • Marketing campaigns
  • Performances
  • Penetration testing

Creating a support ticket

To help prevent a website outage during a traffic event, contact Acquia Support in advance and provide as much of the following information as you can:

  • The date and time of the website launch or event (including the timezone).
  • The expected website traffic during the event.
  • Will traffic be primarily either authenticated user traffic or anonymous traffic?
  • Will the entire website see increased traffic, or only specific URLs?

If you are performing penetration testing, provide the following details:

  • Exact start and end dates and times (including timezone) of the planned testing.
  • Originating IP addresses conducting the testing.
  • Expected methodologies and specific tools used during the security testing.
  • Contact information for any third party conducting the testing (if applicable).

The more accuracy you can provide, the better Acquia Support’s recommendations will be. For example, if your website expects more anonymous traffic during a high-traffic event, aggressive caching may be a better (and less expensive) option.

Acquia recommends contacting your Account Manager to upsize your server based on your website load because upsizing requires lead time and added cost. Acquia can upsize Cloud Platform Enterprise subscribers without warning, based on their contract, to maintain service during unexpected high demand.


Acquia recommends you provide notification seven days before any penetration testing or other event requiring an upsize.

If you don’t create an Acquia Support ticket before starting a test, and the test generates increased load, Cloud Platform will treat the test as a presumed attack, and will block it. Acquia will request you make arrangements to put a dedicated test balancer in place for the test.

Logs on Cloud Platform aren’t kept in the event of upsizing. If you want to ensure logs are stored permanently, you must routinely copy log files to permanent storage. Learn more.

If Acquia requests an upsize, be prepared with details on the specific anticipated amount of authenticated versus anonymous high traffic.

For more information about resizing your server, see the Resize section of the Managing Cloud Platform infrastructure documentation.

If you are using elastic load balancers (ELBs), you may also find Amazon’s suggestions on pre-warming the load balancer useful. ELBs aren’t intended to handle traffic spikes—they’re intended to handle a steady increase in traffic. You must configure the balancers to expect the highest level of traffic before the test begins.

If you expect high traffic for your event, contact your Acquia Account Manager for details, and ensure you provide the following information:

  • What’s the DNS name for the ELB(s) requiring manual scaling?
  • An approximate increase percentage in traffic, or expected requests per second going through the load balancer (whichever is easier to answer).
  • The average amount of data passing through the ELB per requests per response pair.
  • The rate of traffic increase expected. The rate can be a qualitative value such as “the rate should increase steadily over the span of an hour,” or “we expect traffic to increase after we announce our event.”
  • Expected traffic percentage going through the ELB using SSL termination.
  • Is the back end scaled to the level expected during the event?
  • When will your event start?
  • When do you expect the event will end?
  • A brief description of your use case, with a detailed explanation of your expected normal traffic patterns (if you are going to deviate from the normal request pattern).

For more information on preparing for a traffic increase on your website, see Load and stress testing.

Website launch recommendations

If your anticipated event is a website launch, Acquia’s recommend reviewing Checklist for migrating your website to Cloud Platform to ensure you have addressed the basics of website readiness requirements.