What is the most popular hour for users to browse websites?
I often get asked what time is most popular on the website (yeah I didn't think you would fall for that but it's a good conversation starter). So I thought I would overlay some of the thousands of shops we host onto one graph to see if we could make sense of it.
There are a few basic things to learn first if you don't already know them:
Pages:This is the number of pages that have been viewed by visitors browsing the website.
Bandwidth: This is the amount of data that has been sent from our server. Just for some comparison a music file would normally be about 3MB or 4MB.
So here is the graph we will be talking about:
Now I said that fewer files are downloaded as the day goes on, but as we can see from the graph that more pages are being viewed. What I mean by this is that relatively less files are being downloaded compared to pages as the day goes on. And I will explain why this is... Web browsers and servers are very good at doing a thing called caching. What this does is it saves files that are likely to be needed again in the future. So once a browser has downloaded a product image they would not need to download that same file again if they go back to the page because the file will have been temporarily saved on the computer.
Let's look at some of the interesting points on the graph then:
04:00 is the least busy hour, because of this we run our main backup at this time. Our main backup can be quite processor intensive so we like to run it when our service is at its quietest.
There is a small peek at about 11:00 or 12:00. This is because users are bored at work or have their lunch break and use that time browsing for products
And just for comparison I have also put here the same hits per hour that Wikipedia used to get, I know it's an old image but you can see the same trends that we get.
There we have it, an overview of how popular each hour is on an online shop. Don't forget to leave your comments below.