Keeping our apps fast and reliable on high volume Shopify Plus stores

Jul 17, 2018

Black Friday: simultaneously one of the most loved and the most feared days in the retail calendar. For a lot of shops it’s a peak sales day… and the day that pushes the limits of a team and its technology.

If you’ve chosen to run your shop on Shopify Plus, you know that the Shopify platform and support is on it. The speed and reliability of Shopify has held up through extreme sales volumes: they’re experts in the infrastructure needed to fly though peak periods.

But what about the other pieces of technology that are now crucial for most Shopify Plus merchants: apps? Could an app buckle under the strain and cause disruption or even worse, take your shop offline? It’s something every high volume merchant needs to risk assess since it can seriously impact revenue.

It’s something we’ve considered in every one of our apps. Before writing the first line of code we come up with an architecture that makes sure our apps are fast and reliable through peak periods.

Principle #1: Lean on the Shopify infrastructure

Shopify have heavily invested in their infrastructure to make sure it survives through peaks and worst case scenarios. We take full advantage of this by deeply integrating with Shopify, using their investment in technology to make our apps stronger.

For example, in Plug in Speed we host as much of our logic and code in the Shopify infrastructure. Other apps hack around Shopify features or try to replicate things Shopify already does well. We would rather take full advantage of what Shopify has already built.

This means that when a peak wave comes our apps leverage the world class Shopify infrastructure to keep up.

Principle #2: Don’t be a point of failure

The worst thing that could happen is that something in an app causes your shop to have a customer facing issue like the ‘add to cart’ button doesn’t work.

We consider what would happen if our app goes offline. We achieve great uptime but as with any hosted software it is possible. In the unlikely event our app goes offline we do not want to disrupt your shop at all.

All of our apps have been built so that should they go offline they do not create any customer-facing issues. That’s not easy since our apps do complex things, but we aim to not be the cause of any disruption to your shop in any scenario.

Principle #3: Monitor, monitor, monitor

We closely monitor our apps. We have monitors in place for their uptime, speed and issues. Issues are everything from a temporary error calling the Shopify API to bugs.

The team is alerted 24/7 should something critical occur. Since we are spread over several timezones we typically respond fast.

Principle #4: Support

We’re a small team but not too small to be limited in how we can support your demands as a high-volume Shopify Plus merchant.

An advantage is that all members of the team are often involved in support so that we can give tailored, in-depth answers to your questions, fast. You don’t have to pass through a script or several layers of bureaucracy to get a solution.

These four principles underpin all of our apps, ensuring that we’re a leader in creating apps for high-volume Shopify Plus merchants.

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