October 08, 2020

One of the greatest advantages of hosting your website in the cloud is the ability to scale up or down quickly. Usually scaling will just take a few minutes and you can double or triple your server capacity.

Compare this kind of scalability to traditional hosting solutions where you have your own server (where it can take days or weeks to get a new server online), and you can immediately see why hosting in the cloud makes good sense.

Generally speaking, you choose your hosting plan based on where you are in your business lifecycle. If you know you’re near the limits of your plan you can upgrade quickly and prevent any downtime or slowness for your users. But what happens if your plan is the right size for you most of the time, but you have occasional traffic spikes – like when you launch a new product? That’s when auto scaling can save the day.

What is Auto Scaling? 

If you’ve never heard of auto scaling before you can think about it like an HOV lane on the highway. When Nexcess Auto Scaling is enabled, if our servers detect a surge of traffic, we’ll automatically open up an ‘HOV lane’ to manage the expanding traffic. The added resources (or lanes in our example) will keep your website experience fast & snappy, ensuring an undisrupted experience for your visitors.

How does Auto Scaling Work?

Auto scaling works by allocating additional resources from a resource pool. It gets triggered by analyzing PHP threads (also known as PHP workers) every minute, to see if demand outstrips supply. Once demand exceeds capacity, PHP threads are automatically scaled. Auto scaling then re-tests requirements every 10-minutes until it is no longer needed.

Back to the HOV lane example – if we see that your highway is in bumper to bumper traffic, we’ll add extra lanes to the highway to make sure each car can go as fast as they want.

The Benefits of Auto Scaling

Address Variable Traffic Demand – Without Having to Upgrade

Few sites see consistent traffic 24/7/365. Auto Scaling provides you with the ability to address these traffic fluctuations. For example, imagine that a small business owner named Jerry finds himself with consistent performance issues on Saturdays. 

After analyzing the traffic, Jerry finds that Saturdays are particularly busy periods on his website. He thinks he might need to upgrade to a larger hosting solution, but after a cost-benefit analysis, he doesn’t see the ROI because  the other six days of the week don’t have any issues. So if he could adjust his cloud hosting resources only on Saturdays, then he can stick with his plan that makes sense, but address the traffic issue that needs to be managed.

He can do exactly that with Nexcess Cloud Auto Scaling. All Jerry needs to do is leave the feature enabled (our Auto Scaling is enabled by default). On Saturdays, Auto Scaling will automatically add more resources to his site and he’ll reap the rewards of satisfied visitors that could turn into customers. 

Eliminate Additional Costs

Every Nexcess plan across Managed Magento, Managed WooCommerce and Managed WordPress gets 24 hours of auto-scaling for free. So, if you have traffic spikes for less than 24 hours a month it won’t cost you a single penny. You can get the benefits of a higher plan for your current plan cost. 

Other hosts might force you to upgrade, or even worse, let your site crash forcing you to lose sales. We’re your business partner. And we’re not  in the business of letting you down. 

Want to learn more? Check out our Nexcess Cloud Auto Scaling documentation in our Knowledge Library.

What’s Next for the Enterprise? Advanced Auto Scaling

On a larger scale, if you’re looking for predictable performance for extreme traffic spikes, our Nexcess Advanced Auto Scaling offering provides unlimited support for the heaviest of traffic loads without having to buy, configure, deploy and migrate to larger environments. 

As an example, if you’re planning on a national TV appearance or you have an army of influencers who can drive traffic your way for a flash sale, with Advanced Auto Scaling, you can add as many resources as you need. Not just 10 PHP workers (which are the resources from the higher level plan), but 10, 20, 30, 40, or even more PHP workers to cover you without worry. 

Advanced Auto Scaling costs $99/mo and which will shift all of the PHP workers from your current infrastructure into a PHP Container. As you need more resources (to be able to handle more concurrent users), you can add additional containers with 10 PHP workers a piece for $50/day. No commitment, no long-term contract. 
With Nexcess Auto Scaling and Advanced Auto Scaling, you are at-the-ready to handle traffic spikes whenever they occur.


Nexcess, the premium hosting provider for WordPress, WooCommerce, and Magento, is optimized for your hosting needs. Nexcess provides a managed hosting infrastructure, curated tools, and a team of experts that make it easy to build, manage, and grow your business online. Serving SMBs and the designers, developers, and agencies who create for them, Nexcess has provided fully managed, high-performance cloud solutions for more than 22 years.

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