How to Efficiently Scale Your Web Application

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Smartphone on a wood table with Instagram application open.
web-application-Instagram

Let’s imagine you build a great product; it is performing well and attracting more and more users.

As the App grows in time, it needs to process more requests per minute. It is the perfect time to efficiently scale your web application.

When we create a fantastic product, sooner or later, it will attract more users who expect a capable and flawless application.

If you’re not ready for it, your App will dramatically slow down performance, and you’ll lose your audience.

In this article, we present the steps to follow in building a scalable application.

The problem is if you do not create the necessary infrastructure to accommodate the app performance.

You will give your end-users a bad experience and potentially lose a significant portion of your audience.

Good Planning Can Avoid A Lot Of Frustration

Many people experience a great deal of frustration when they attempt to scale their WordPress website or e-commerce store.

Because of the cost and complexity of scaling, it can be a very costly and demanding process.

Many entrepreneurs refer to problems like horizontal scaling and microservices.

It is not easy to know how to drive in and effectively scale a website or app.

Be it an app or website, slow loading time, network connections timing out or servers breaking down under heavy load our problems that can break your business.

Laptop with the website open, on top of a wood table.
PC-With-Apps

Application scalability means that an application can grow in time and process more and more requests per minute efficiently.

Tuning is not just a simple adjustment, and it is a long-term process. It affects almost all items in their entirety, such as system hardware and software.

You should adapt to how your application responds during the usage processes with efficiency.

What are the issues you will encounter with application scalability?

We often hear that Rails introduces scalability issues if the project grows too fast.

Still, the ability of the application to scale is not just the framework itself, but the entire system architecture.

Twitter has changed from Rails to Scala. However, Shopify has been growing for about ten years.

With approximately 50,000 requests per minute, and 45 requests per response.

Shopify uses Rails in the back-end.

The reader may not have performance problems or scalability as in Twitter or Shopify.

But it’s invaluable to plan and develop the application correctly regardless of potential problems.

When it comes to scalability, you can face dozens of different issues.

PC monitor displaying code to identify bottlenecks in your system.

Regardless of opinions, Rail is an excellent framework with a large community.

Rails have millions of technical questions answered online.

It has hundreds of great open source tools, which you can instantly integrate into your stack.

Besides, you have many profiles and analysis tools to identify bottlenecks in your system.

It Is All About The User Experience

Users demand a great experience and speed is a necessary feature in that experience.

Let’s start from the beginning and understand the several steps needed for an application to grow in time.

How Important Is Application Scalability?

Application scalability is the future capacity of an application to grow in time about user interaction.

Efficiently Scale Your Web Application Needs

PC monitor displaying graphics to identify bottlenecks in your system.

The application needs to handle efficiently the user’s requests per minute, and although it might sound simple, this is not a simple tweak.

It is a complicated process that will involve both hardware and software.

You can start by adding new CPUs or even increasing memory limits.

But what you are doing is just increasing the processing capability of the app, not the app performance.

It would help if you saw what is causing efficiency problems in your app. And you need to know how your app functions before trying to scale it.

Suggestions for Efficient Scalability

2 PC monitor displaying code to identify bottlenecks in your system.

It may seem obvious; however, we cannot fail to point it out.

That if your application is full of spaghetti code, the code will be considered very difficult to maintain and scale-up.

  • Leverage 12-factor – The methodology is excellent and focuses on best practices to develop scalable applications.
  • If you want your application to be flexible over time, you really should follow these rules.

Take Good Care of Your Database

The database must be well maintained so that the system can expand without problems.

  • Select the right hosting; remember that scalability is more than just an essential factor in your code.
  • The right server configuration and infrastructure is critical.
  • Just selecting the right tools and providers can save you a lot of time.

Doing so reduces your backend overhead, as more and more things get computed in on the client-side.

  • Test and monitor – Whether your codebase is clean and entirely up to date, some tools for monitoring and identifying problems are needed ASAP.
  • Separate code – It is part of the code cleanliness too, do not mix too many parts of your system in one place.
  • Separate the front and back end layers, detach background tasks from the main system, and use smart-design patterns.

Periodic Updating

Efficiently Scale Your Web Application by updating all things to avoid blockages by obsolete parts of your system.

Ruby/Rails a Solid Choice

Two PC monitor displaying code along with two laptops in a white desk.
how-to-efficiently-scale-your-web-application

When using standard incremental IDs as primary keys, in most cases, all written databases must pass through a single database.

By employing UUIDs, you can spread more easily across many servers when needed.

Perform the use of database-level functions, like SQL COPY, SUM, or DISTINCT.

Which option is faster?

Use `pluck` instead of `map` to get the same attributes from multiple objects. Use `size,` as it will only touch the database when needed.

Optimized Code, Efficient SQL Queries, Proper DB Indexing

There is no magic formula for the scalability of Rails applications.

If you pay attention to it during development, its growth can be surprisingly easy.

You don’t have to be an expert to scale your application, thanks to a large number of tools available.

Efficient SQL queries, optimized code, proper DB indexing, and caching are enough to get you started.

It is a classic problem of the starting phase success, with which the most successful web applications have to deal.

The users on your site are so many that things get jammed.

The servers begin to fail under heavy loads because the pages load slowly, and network connections start to expire.

You have to keep all the elements online for the user experience to work quickly; after all, speed is everything.

Picture of servers infrastructure connected by blue and white network cables.
network-infrastructure

The main problem with the application is not about the ability to scale; it’s more about the whole system architecture.

If your app is evolving rapidly, it can be difficult if the project was built using the Rails way, although there are exceptions.

For example, Twitter switches from Rails to Scala.

But Shopify was built with Rails at the backend for about ten years.

And Shopify is constantly evolving, with more than 50,000 requests per minute at an impressive 45ms response time.

Regardless of the way you decide developing your app, planning, and developing the application is the proper way to avoid many scalability problems in the future.

  • Many problems can be related to:
  • Wrong Memory Management
  • Bad Caching
  • Ineffective Database Engine
  • Complex Database Schema
  • Limited Physical Resources
  • Wrong Server Configuration

Bias Against An Architecture?

It may seem that we don’t like Rails, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Rail is a great framework with a very active community of millions of users that can quickly answer any question online.

Rails have a vast number of open-source tools that you can instantly integrate into your stack.

Another good reason to use Rails is that it also possesses much profiling and analyzing tools that can assist you in identifying bottlenecks on your system.

Scaling Options At What Cost?

Be prepared for Scaling because it Comes at a Cost.

One thing is for certain you don’t want to attempt to scale your web service before you reach real scaling issues.

Let’s look at the different scaling options you have at your disposal.

Suppose your main workload is processed via a traditional data center, you can easily switch for a cloud solution and achieve greater efficiency with less cost.

Moreover, if your workload is already in the cloud, you can use several available out-of-the-box options.

The problem is that the common scaling problem introduces complexity, which can create a whole range of problems.

For example, the code can be harder to test, or adding new features will take more time, finding and fixing bugs will be more difficult.

You need to be prepared to accept requests if your software already reaches its capacity limits.

To efficiently scale your Web Application try to avoid complexity as much as you can.

Scaling Brings Some Problems

Someone is pointing to an area of the laptop monitor.

Several bottleneck solutions on a universal scale bring complexity, abstraction, and indirect. What makes it difficult to rationalize the system.

Surpassing those bottlenecks makes it difficult to rationalize the system.

Consequently, you should only be willing to accept responsibilities if their implementation is genuinely within the limits of what your application can support.

Estimating the real bottleneck using Metrics

First, to alleviate any problem, be it software or hardware, we have to clearly and precisely define the nature of the problem. 

A well-defined problem is partially solved.

For a web application that overloads a lot, you have to find out which resource your application overloads on the server.

No one can help you scale your application if you don’t know what features your application is subordinate to.

Find out what you’re tied to by monitoring resources, or start by adding a monitorization system.

What gets measured gets managed” — by Peter Drucker.

Installing Munin is a significant first step if you control your servers. If you are in Heroku, the best approach seems to be New Relic.

Use graphics to search for information, flat tops, or spikes.

Usually, this implies that some features were overloaded or unable to perform new operations.

It may be that another server has delays — possibly your database server or a third-party API.

The important thing is to review your resource monitoring on this machine and your web servers.

Typically, the database is your first scalability problem as you are hosting your database on a different computer than your web server.

Expanding a Web Application

Any scalability solution should aim to make your web stack functional for your basic application needs. If the response to a query has been found, reuse it. 

Or even better, if you can avoid computing or search everything all together. All things lead to caching.

Complexity Is Manageable

Let’s create another scenario, imagine you have a tech news website.

And you are the lucky one to be selected for an early-look review of an upcoming smartphone launch, and it went viral.

Your review is a blog post on your website that includes pictures and videos from the model.

Also, you have enabled comments for the post, so that readers can also rate it.

If you are hosting on a Linux server with a LAMP stack, you going to find yourself in a sea of problems in the scaling arena.

Let’s analyze it a little further:

  • Where have you stored the image in videos?
  • How many times per second do you receive read/write requests? What else, every minute?
  • Can you determine what level of security you need to improve?
  • Are requests asynchronous or synchronous?
  • Analyze the transactional load of the website, such as e-commerce.

You Need to Master Hosting Technology

Whatever your application, whether in the cloud or on hardware, several of your stacks will fail, and you need to be ready.

To take this into account, you must host and organize your web servers.

Make sure your domain indicates a type of load balancer and then forward requests between several web servers.

With this configuration, it becomes manageable to withstand failures. It also makes it easier to handle increased loads.

To scale your application horizontally, you can create new web servers and place them behind the load balancer with a load balancer. 

Nowadays, orders are distributed over more machines, which means that each device works less. 

That allows you to gracefully expand your application over time and handle temporary increases in traffic.

Caching Database Queries for Speed

In general, there are some common queries in your database that make up the majority of loads

Just cache answers to the most frequently asked questions or slow questions, and you don’t need a round trip over the network or any other additional database load.

When the underlying information in the database is frequently updated, cached data quickly become “obsolete.”

Your business or product needs will determine what can and cannot be cached.

Queries and Database Indexes

With tens of thousands of rows in your table, you save significant time in queries through the use of this column.

Session Storage Like Redis or Memcached

Closeup image of a black keyboard with blue light keys.

One method is to transfer your session storage to a faster memory cache tool, such as rediscovered or memorized. 

Therefore, it should not be used for private or sensitive things in the session. 

You will probably remove multiple database queries per page load by moving session information from the database, which can significantly help the performance of your database.

If “real-time” is not an Issue Run Computations Offline In-Memory Cache

Convert to “offline” and have a group of workers to investigate and place the results in a database or memory cache.

One of the drawbacks here is that user data is not “real-time”, however having a few minutes is good enough for several use cases. 

If the data takes too long to produce, see if it can be paralleled so that multiple workers can work simultaneously on numerous parts of the computer.

You may need to configure another cluster of machines for work queues, as well as workers.

That was the inspiration behind the static website generators that feed a growing number of blogs. And the New York Times did this to provide results for evening elections.

Handling Traffic Spikes

If you need to handle spikes in traffic, you could, for example, reduce the server load by moving the images and videos to a third-party content delivery network.

A great example of a highly scalable solution is Amazon CloudFront which is highly scalable with great building security that can handle any DDoS attack.

By adding more read replicas, you can reduce read loads. MySQL provides database replication; Amazon Aurora can have fifteen read replicas that allows you to achieve high efficiency at reducing costs.

To reduce write requests, you can use Amazon Simple Queue Service which is a highly scalable queue system that can handle any work message load.

Besides, because we are talking about Amazon, Amazon Elastic Cache for Memcached or Redis should be mentioned to reduce writing requests.

Finally, if you have problems, it’s because it’s time to scale your server, and I propose a horizontal scale to maximize efficiency and unlimited scalability.

Dynamic or “Real-Time” Sections – HTML Fragment Caching

If some sections of your site markup change very rarely, such as navigation, footer, or sidebar, then the HTML should be cached and used again between requests.  

Occasionally, except for some more dynamic or “real-time” sections, you can cache most of the page.

Business Logic Into Workers – Putting Work Into Queues

The procedure will take massive, slow chunks of work and break them from the primary request-response cycle plus take them out of your web servers completely. 

We recommend that someone import a CSV from your contacts and upload 50 MB of files by several people. 

Caution should be exercised in putting a lot of business logic into workers.

To efficiently scale your Web Application the simpler the processes the better.

Geographically-Distributed File Cache That Serves Client-Side Improvements

Another great way to reduce the load on your web server is to reduce the number of requests. 

Even with the same number of users in your application, improvements on the client-side can reduce the number of requests in your web stack.

In all your static files, you need to use HTTP-CSS cache headers, JavaScript, and images. 

Google and Mobify offer excellent overviews of how to use headers, and guides will probably facilitate this as well as your web framework helpers.

Therefore, the entire web framework or language runtime should not be loaded to serve a static disk file.

By splitting its static content, it is good to give the static file host a different CNAME or subdomain.

Because you have this setting, it is usually very easy to add a content delivery network before your static file host.

As a result, you distribute your static content even faster without web stacking requests.

CDN is essentially a geographic cache with copies of your static files, often closer geographically than your end-user server.

CDNs often have the option of decreasing file sizes with the possibility of minifying and gzip your static content.

So that the data are faster and smaller to send to the client.

When Everything in Your Web Server Fails

Reversed Stress means telling people to wait because the system is sluggish.  

Imagine you wanted to go to a restaurant.

You walked to the door, and instead of entering, you chose to go somewhere else; this is an excellent example of reversed Stress.

Reversed Stress can be implicit even without much work. For users, the site will be slow, so they are not able to click around as much.

When trying to load things like Twitter, you may also find increased error rates.

Set an aggressive timeout for your web server. Wait for requests to be suspended and return blank pages.

Why do you need scalability to improve workload?

Examining the websites of cutting-edge companies, we notice that we don’t always know what kind of workload they’re capable of withstanding.

Why Web Scalability and How to Get It?

For the scalability of a website, resources must be added so that a system, a process, or a network can cope with the increased workload of users.

The relationship between increased system performance and increased resource utilization can determine this scalability.

Scalability also means the ability to add additional resources by keeping the central node structure intact

There are several related concepts beyond scalability that help us better understand the problem.

If irregular jumps replace predictable development, saturation is reached.

The tests are labeled as ramp tests that use them to efficiently scale your Web Application.

Ramp tests help us assess the performance and scalability of a web application and identifies process bottlenecks that prevent the system from operating successfully.

Designed Scalable app architecture

Someone using a laptop while using a smartphone to test the app.

We realize that application architecture makes an essential difference in scalability.

So let’s dig deeper into how to develop a scalable app.

Software Parameterization – Frontend vs Backend

In the case of software configuration, there can be many stages between hardware on one side and the end-user on the other.

The website must be loaded immediately. 

You can understand a well-designed page template, and the visual component is impressive, easy to navigate. 

An adequately designed front-end undoubtedly helps to avoid scalability problems in the future and is easy to use.

Your application backend can be built with any multi-functional programming language, such as JavaScript, Ruby, C#, Python, and so on.

Multitier Multi-Functional Scalable Web Application Architecture

With an application like this, all levels must perform the most critical functions, significantly improving the performance and scalability of the use at all levels.

Vertical Scalability vs Horizontal Scaling

Scalability is the most straightforward sizing approach because no changes to the applications running on those systems are required.

In this respect, scalability means that the components of an existing computing system can be replaced by more powerful and faster components as requirements increase and technology develops.

In this case, scalability allows the system to add new nodes, servers, and processors to increase overall system performance.

Which demands changes to the program so that the increased amount of resources used in its entirety.

The options to be explored for the development of scalable web applications are the following:

The technology is now considered the best for asynchronous and scalable programming.

It can handle multiple orders without interruption or failure at the same time. 

All start-ups seem to benefit from continuous development from concept to release, while reliable security helps prevent many serious errors. 

Try Asp.net, Angular JS, React.js, Yii, or Laravel in addition to the frameworks mentioned above.

Thus if you would like to know how to create a scalable web application, make sure that the following principles form the foundation.

The App should have a high performance beyond availability. 

Third-party technology for data storage and access, and its integration is an uncomfortable task. 

In your project, you have a responsibility to avoid problems.

It should be operational, maintained, and updated easily. 

Regardless of the usefulness of your application, it only takes a few seconds for you to meet your customer’s needs.

If you are unable to meet this period, the customer will go to the competition.

Top Scalable Applications Examples

You’ve heard about these stunning web applications for individuals and companies alike.

Evernote

Increasingly, Evernote is one of the main tools to manage projects and meet deadlines.

A digital database. The application lets you use databases to monitor all your files, identify tags, comment, collaborate, and share.

Bitly

The application assists companies in exploring the potential of connections to improve interactions with customers, raise brand awareness and monitor business performance — easy-to-use tools to simplify your links, review, and optimize them.

Mint

Mint works closely with you if you plan to build scalable web applications for commercial purposes.

Leave it to Mint’s online budget planner for your finances. Mint helps you understand the financial future of your expenses.

Dropbox

Dropbox, a pioneer in the fields of cloud storage and synchronization services, provides synchronized desktop folders around the world.

Slack

Slack is an application designed to connect employees from any start-ups or established companies, as well.

The Slack functionality brings team communication and collaboration to a single location, allowing you to do more work, whether you’re a large or small business.

CapitalRise

Next, the CapitalRise project is a FinTech project and includes the Yii 2 Framework HTML, CSS, and jQuery.

CapitalRise is a platform where financiers can choose and finance real estate projects. 

At CapitalRise, there are several pages on the site where visitors and customers can learn about the company, invest, view live campaigns, get answers to FAQs, and read the news.

As well as investors can generate individual accounts on the crowdfunding platform.

With a flexible cloud interface, the application helps you manage the growing number of customers and maximize operations.

JustCoded

JustCoded is a web application development agency that offers services for the development of scalable web applications on Node.js.

JustCoded addresses simple and complex tasks with this framework and shows excellent performance and scalability.

Leverage digital solutions to increase capital and expand your investment portfolio.

Plus, we build all kinds of investment platforms and financial automation tools and know-how to free you from manual labor and slow progress.

If your company is involved in crowdfunding and crowd investing, we have a framework to help you get started faster while maintaining your unique business model and style.

Let’s Talk!

While the word “crowdfunding” may only be a few years old, the practice of asking others for help in the form of money or resources has been around for a long time.

What surprises this trend.

Kickstarter and GoFundMe were long before communities came together to fund the things they needed collectively.

Today, communities “came together” more metaphorically.

And the communities are slightly larger, thanks to the Internet.

In today’s crowdfunding world, the crowd often consists mostly of strangers with common interests, not neighbors, family, and friends.

That’s why people are willing to lend a hand, with no family entanglements — no personal contacts.

Crowdfunding is proving hugely successful in several communities.

Collective financing means supporting a project or a company by raising a large number of people – usually online – in small amounts of money.

In previous years, crowdfunding has started to gain momentum with platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

For Connected World, it was fascinating at that time because all these projects, uniquely connected devices for consumer consumers, were gaining colossal community support.

This represented not only a growing demand and appreciation for things online but also a change in the way things were done in the technology industry.

Archello

The Archello Web Application is a powerful portal for architectural and design ideas, knowledge, and insights.

With a custom console command, we were able to migrate the database and files to a new server.

The website has a custom reactive design for desktops, tablets, and mobile phones.

The smoothness of analysis gives the website interface a vivid effect that immerses a random visitor in a creative world of design and architecture environment.

Through the integrated Product Selector, users can select and continue to search for a project category.

This tool allows users to filter projects by the status of founder, industry, and project.  

All models and collections contain a series of projects filtered according to location, designer, and theme.

In just a few simple steps, users can create personal accounts.

Once you sign up for a platform, you’ll receive the best selection of projects and creators.

Scalable Design Guide Methods and Better Strategies

All parts of the application must be directed to their activities and be competently linked to other services.

Firstly, the emphasis is not on speed and simplicity, but on structural integrity.

The process saves time and effort in the future while preserving the structure.

The loads are distributed according to the established criteria. 

Multiple load balancers can be used to handle complex systems.

If you want to speed up request retrieval, there are several ways to do this. 

Cached files are the most common solution that will not damage but will improve your platform.

You want the query to be carried out again with high frequency and in a highly productive manner.

In this way, we can build a small repository to access frequent query results quickly and shorten user response times.

Using a Global Cashe

You can cache the requested node to recover data for your customers almost immediately.

The more nodes you have, the more caches it will have because each node must have its own cache.

A global cache is used if you have to create a global cache for all nodes and avoid multiple failures.

Distributed cache memory provides all nodes with data distribution.

The closer the data is to the user, the faster it is found. 

Multiple server requests are the main advantage of proxying when it comes to scalability. 

It can split several identical requests into one and reduce database disk queries. The most recommended is to combine proxies with caches.

It is estimated that, in this case, their use is the greatest. 

If the index is broken down between physical devices, it is closely linked to data recovery.

With the Indexes, it is possible to quickly find a small piece of information – even if it is distributed among many physical devices – in the middle of a large data set.

When the query is added to the search and table, due to the indexing, the user receives a faster response.

Even so, the process of writing and processing requests can be slower when the web application is being developed.

Simultaneous requests must also be regulated, and a large number handled. 

In this case, it makes sense to execute and queue some queries asynchronously

This makes it possible for a customer to make a request, receive a confirmation of that request, and then switch to another job with regular checks.

The customer is obliged to wait until the request is processed without doing anything else. 

This simple feature of Javascript deals with numerous tasks related to the scalability of the application.

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