Server utilization is a percentage that provides information on the extent to which the server infrastructure is used when clients are requesting a webpage or other service running through the server. Server utilization is dependent on various factors including transmission bandwidth, number of requests, size and type of content to be loaded, and the server architecture.
A server transfers documents and files to a client, for example, a web browser. If errors occur when loading documents from the server to the browser, the web page is loaded only partially or not at all. If a server is overloaded with a large number of HTTP requests, this can cause the site to load very slowly or to issue a failure message. In the worst case, the server must be rebooted or technically overhauled. In the case of sales-oriented websites such as online shops, a high server utilization and, above all, server failures must be avoided.
Special tools can monitor the behavior of a server. The amount of transmitted data packets or the average loading time of a data packet can be provided, for example. If the loading time is too high, problems may arise in displaying documents to the client (e.g., in the web browser). In the case of server failures, websites might be unreachable for extended periods of time. It is therefore advisable to monitor a web server permanently so that optimal loading speed and accessibility of a web page is guaranteed.
In addition to monitoring, it is also important to tailor the infrastructure of a server to the requirements. If many page views are expected, the server must be able to answer them. Some websites can become particularly popular with certain events or news. If, for example, a new game is released, it often happens that the servers of the online game cannot answer the many player requests. Multimedia content requires a server architecture that is tailored to this type of data packets.
A variety of means can be chosen in order to match the server architecture to the requirements. A CDN, for example, ensures that all the requests are not routed to just a single server, but to servers close to the inquirer, which may be connected to additional servers. Virtual servers and dedicated servers can also be a solution.
Server utilization is a relevant factor for problem-free document transmission and appropriate loading time especially for search engines. Site speed is an important ranking factor for Google and can influence the position of a page in the SERPs.
Google recommends that you regularly check site speed, use simple file formats, and, if necessary, a CDN. Storing a copy of the site with a third-party vendor can be an alternative when a large number of requests impact the server.