Online shopping trends have been growing steadily over the years, but the pandemic catapulted eCommerce to new heights. Online sales were $27.61 billion in 2000, but they are expected to hit nearly $5 trillion by the end of 2021—that’s quite a leap. I think it’s safe to say digital shopping is here to stay.
With the demand for eCommerce so high, it’s crucial that your website provides the best customer experience possible. In this blog, I’ll explain the role DNS plays in website speed and performance for e-retail businesses.
According to etailinsights, there are approximately 7.9 million online retailers worldwide, 2.1 of which are in the United States. That is a lot of stores vying for consumer attention in the digital space. The forecast for sales is expected to grow from 2020’s $4.28 trillion mark to over $6 trillion by 2024. This is a clear indication that eCommerce is and will continue to be a significant part of daily life.
Below is a list of the top 10 websites in the US and worldwide, which gives insight into the types of products and services consumers buy most online.
The top 10 eCommerce websites (according to ecommerce guide).
Here is a list of the top worldwide eCommerce sites (ClueCommerce).
Of course, these lists don’t even begin to depict the true volume of eCommerce sites on the web. Competition is fierce, so you need to take advantage of every opportunity to stand out.
The fact is, you have a lot to lose if your website performance suffers in any way.
When thinking of website speed, many companies focus only on image optimization and backend website design. While these things are vital to running an efficient eCommerce site, there is one small factor that makes a large impact that you might be leaving out: DNS.
How does DNS help website speeds?
Because everything online starts with DNS. Any time a customer enters a domain name or URL into their browser, a DNS lookup is generated and a query journey begins. What happens along the way can affect your site much more than you may realize.
To operate, DNS requires servers that rely on one another to get internet users where they want to go. None of these servers can work without the other, but one of the most important is the authoritative nameserver, as it is what holds the most up-to-date information on a domain and provides the final (authoritative) answer for queries.
Tip: To learn more about how DNS works and the different types of servers involved, check out the blog: Authoritative and Recursive DNS: What’s the Difference?
Your DNS provider is the authoritative nameserver for your domain. Since it is this server that is responsible for providing the final answer for your domain queries, how quickly and efficiently the provider’s query resolution times are can make a huge difference when it comes to domain latency.
With this in mind, let’s compare DNS providers of the top 10 eCommerce sites mentioned above.
United States comparison based on providers of the top 10 websites (last 30 days):
World comparison (based on providers of the top 10 websites (last 30 days):
Another way you can compare providers is by country. For example, Flipkart is one of the top eCommerce sites in India. Let’s take a look at how the same list above would look, but narrowed down to only reflect speeds in India (this can be done for any country).
India comparison (based on providers of the top 10 websites (last 30 days):
Tip: The tool used in the above example is PerfOps, which is the leading data resource for DNS and Cloud providers. With PerfOps, you can find unbiased information on provider performances, which can help you choose the best provider for your organization as well as troubleshoot network issues.
Don’t make the mistake of not checking a provider’s outage history. The average cost of downtime is $5,600 per minute for the average company but for large e-retailers, that could skyrocket to the hundreds of thousands. For example, Amazon and Apple reportedly averaged $950,000 in revenue per minute in the last quarter of 2020. In that scenario, if either company had experienced an outage just one hour long, it would have cost upward of $57,000,000.
But how much is your brand reputation worth?
The above figures don’t account for hits taken to brand reputation. And what about the loss of employee productivity or the cost of IT hours dedicated to mitigating the outage?
Gone are the days where consumers were loyal based on pricing or name alone. In a recent study by SuperOffice, 74% of shoppers claim their customer experience affects their loyalty and as much as 40% are willing to pay more for an improved experience.
The importance of customer experience on your eCommerce website can not be overstated.
You have about three seconds (often less) before a customer will leave your website if it doesn’t load quickly enough. Imagine what you stand to lose if your site isn’t even available due to an outage?
As history shows, outages are all too common:
Cloudflare June 2021, Aug 2020, Jul 2020, Apr 2020, Jul 2019
DNS Made Easy NONE (over 11 years of 100% uptime)
Neustar UltraDNS May 2021, Oct 2015, Apr 2014, Jan 2013
NS1 May 2016
Network Solutions Mar 2021, May 2021
Route 53/AWS Nov 2021, Sept 2021, Nov 2020, Oct 2019, May 2019, Apr 2019, Mar 2017
Dyn Mar 2021, Oct 2016
GoDaddy Nov 2020, Mar 2017, Sept 2012,
Azure Oct 2021, Mar 2021 (2), Mar 2019
Google Cloud Jun 2021, Dec 2020, Nov 2020, Aug 2020, Nov 2019
Akamai Jul 2021, Jun 2021
Fastly Jun 2021
Tip: For a more accurate picture of what the cost of an outage would be for your business, visit this Outage Calculator.
Okay, you know the problems. But what are the solutions?
Luckily, DNS can help with both speed and outages—with the right services and configurations. Below are the top DNS solutions we recommend for eCommerce websites:
Secondary DNS is hands down the most cost-efficient and effective way of preventing DNS-related outages. With Secondary DNS, you have two authoritative providers that handle your domain’s traffic. Zone files from the primary host are automatically synchronized with the secondary server when updates or changes are made to the domain’s zone. If your primary provider goes down, the secondary DNS provider will retry the queries, which prevents disruption in service for your end users.
Failover is a popular and dependable service that helps domains avoid downtime due to internal server or network failures. With Failover configured, your web traffic is automatically rerouted to your backup resource if your primary IP/host is down.
If you want to serve content based on the location of your users, Global Traffic Director (GTD) is the perfect solution. With GTD, you can geo-load balance your web traffic by six different regions:
GTD can also be paired with Failover, so if a regional server is down, queries will be answered by the closest available resource in your network.
DNS Made Easy offers the most advanced DNS analytics platform in the industry. With this solution, you can view real-time and historical query data for your domain. This data helps IT teams identify misconfigurations, unused DNS records, and assists in spotting unusual activity. An especially unique use case for our analytics is that it can even help you track the success of marketing campaigns and most visited pages on the DNS level.
Even with all the right solutions, if they aren’t configured correctly, big problems can ensue. Fortunately, there are several online tools that can help you troubleshoot DNS records and configurations, as well as latency and other network issues.
The big takeaway here is to never underestimate DNS. It is literally the backbone of the internet—without it, no one could find your online store. Research providers to find out which one offers top speeds and performance in the regions most important to you and your customers. The right DNS solution can help you fully optimize your web traffic, which improves page load times and query resolution. Finally, don’t make the mistake of overlooking the outage history of a potential DNS host! The best practice is to ensure you have redundancy at every point of failure. Uptime is critical! Now more than ever, customers demand 24/7 availability and a superior experience. Don’t lose business by neglecting DNS!
What are you waiting for? Schedule a demo with one of our DNS experts today. Our team will customize your demo according to the unique needs of your eCommerce business and you’ll be able to see what DNS Made Easy can do for yourself!
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