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I'm after advice on how to approach a problem I'm having on my e-commerce site.

Occasionally, the site suffers a levelling off of users on the website, compared to our historic traffic this is unusual.

We have checked the website/db and servers for faults and all looks ok. We do not believe our website or database is at fault.

The site is hosted by an external hosting company, assuming we do have a problem what would be the possible causes of traffic not reaching our website and in what ways could I track down any possible issues?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by mdpc, Ward, Falcon Momot, Jacob, TheCleaner Jun 28 '13 at 13:47

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Pretty pictures might help. Consider uploading some of your graphs showing what's going on and what you expect to be going on at those times. –  Michael Hampton Jun 27 '13 at 19:08
    
Expectations and reality are often two very different things. What are you basing your expectations on? Do you have historic metrics that support your expectations? –  joeqwerty Jun 27 '13 at 19:34
    
Im after suggestions for an approach to investigate this. Please assume that I'm correct that there is an issue and go from there. I understand the concept of expectation and reality. –  WooHoo Jun 27 '13 at 19:45
    
@WooHoo Historical data is needed to investigate. That's the only way you can determine if it's not normal. –  Nathan C Jun 27 '13 at 23:19
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I disagree that historical data is needed to investigate. If historical data supported his theory, how would that help the investigation, except that you know you need to investigate? –  TTT Jun 28 '13 at 5:42
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Is the time period when this happens predictable?

I doubt this is related to your website. Possibly it could be related to your server, if it is doing other bandwidth intensive activities during the time period in question, or something else on the network is using all of the available bandwidth during that time. For example, many computers on a corporate network may be scheduled to download software or Antivirus updates at the same time each day, which could cause a noticeable slow down of the network during that time. Maybe some backup process that happens periodically but takes 3 hours to complete the data transfer uses lots of bandwidth and slows everything else down while it's running.

If you can set up a network monitor on your server or have access to the switch it's connected to, you can see if the total server bandwidth is much higher during the time in question. If it's not higher on the server or the server's switch port, then work outwards to the immediate network on the switch the server is connected to (which likely means a call to your hosting provider).

Lastly, the fact that the traffic increases after the period is over, suggests that intentional throttling is unlikely, since it would be an odd algorithm to stop the traffice for 3 hours and then let it increase again after that.

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The time period is not predictable, we have noticed this issue twice after the fact - before we could properly investigate. We are adding real time stat monitoring software so we can see this happening and deal with it in real time. Good point about the virus software but our web-site is hosted at another location not on our network. But we do have remote devs that use Cisco VPN client to connect to the hosting network, perhaps their traffic is routing through the hosting site. I agree about the throttling but perhaps the hosting company has reached is max output. –  WooHoo Jun 28 '13 at 6:50
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