It seems that Debenhams’ website has been unable to cope with the extra demand placed upon it by its pre-Xmas sale, and it has been down since yesterday afternoon.  

I looked at the site yesterday morning and noted that it was becoming pretty slow to load, and it seems that the site finally buckled under the strain of the extra traffic around 3pm.

At the moment, visitors to the site are greeted by this holding page:

Debenhams website error

The message talks about ‘unprecedented demand‘, but surely the company could have predicted that putting on a 25% discount offer would lead to higher than expected demand on the site, and taken steps to cope with this.

After all, M&S had a similar sale yesterday, and its website clearly managed to cope with the extra traffic without too many problems.

We looked at this issue before in relation to the Northern Rock website, which itself struggled to cope with the strain after its well publicised problems last September.

Perhaps a more scalable hosting set up would be a good idea for Debenhams, as being down for nearly 24 hours is a massive blow in terms of missed sales for a big name retailer.

Graham Charlton is a researcher at E-consultancy. Find him on Twitter



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