High-Availability Shopify

What's your plan when Shopify goes down?

As we saw during the Google Cloud Compute outage on June 2nd, 2019, even seemingly-infallible titans like Google can be brought down.

Because Shopify is a Google Cloud customer, Shopify fell with Google.

Shopify's response to the outage

This never happens.

— Shopify Support to my Shopify Plus customer during the outage

Well, that just happened.

Screenshots about the incident from Shopify's status page:

The Problem:

Downtime due to one provider is to be expected, even if Google is the provider. And yet it's very avoidable: High Availability technologies have come a long way in recent years. With software like HAProxy & MySQL/MariaDB clustering it should be possible for Shopify to sustain outages.

Unfortunately, because Shopify is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product hosted by Shopify on servers under Shopify's control, Shopify customers (even Shopify Plus customers) have no control over the server infrastructure used by Shopify to power online stores.

Short of migrating away from Shopify, there is absolutely nothing you can do to control when your Shopify store goes down.

The Short-Term Solution: (while we wait on Shopify to do better)

Step One: Set up a high-availability load balancer such as HAProxy. Theta Labs can help with that. All you have to do is ask.

Step Two: Clone your Shopify store to another service such as BigCommerce or Magento (hosted or self-hosted). We can help with that, too.

Are you insane? Why would I want to pay for another copy of my store to run elsewhere?

Maybe it's not worth it for every business. I work with mid-sized e-commerce businesses who would lose thousands of dollars for every hour of downtime.

This is unacceptable to them. If this is unacceptable to you, too, please get in touch.

Alternative (Less-Insane, More-Reasonable) Step Two: Point the load balancer to a custom landing page explaining that your store is down for maintenance, but offering an extra-special coupon code to anyone that signs up for your mailing list.

Step Three: Sit back and relax while you laugh at the mere mortals on Shopify who didn't have a failover plan in place. If you need help with sitting back and relaxing, we recommend consulting a medical professional. Sorry, can't help you. But peace of mind we can give you, so there is that.

Would you like to hear more about how you can give your Shopify store High Availability?    Get in touch so we can help!

Was your online store affected by the recent Shopify outage?

Let's talk. We help web businesses remain online even when entire datacenters fail.

Need help from our team of web experts? Let us know in as much detail as you can and we'll get back to you ASAP.

We look forward to working with you!
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