The issue was mostly found on media sites that use the Login script to encourage users to share on Facebook and comment on articles under their Facebook personas. These sites experienced a momentary blip for a segment of their visitors, which likely upset their advertisers and sponsors. For any eCommerce sites running the script, it would have resulted in immediate loss of sales, much as last June's Facebook outage did. This event is a reminder any script served from a third party can bring down a site without warning.
In the past 5-7 years the web has exploded in complexity, fueled by advances in web development that enabled social media to spread its tentacles around the web. The result is web pages that are bigger and more diverse than ever before.
Mitigating Performance Risk
Unfortunately, outages like last week's are not a strange occurrence. The Facebook widget in particular is known for poor performance, as we found in an analysis of the widget across many locations. Usually "poor performance" means the widget delays a page's Time to Interact by a few seconds. But it can occasionally become catastrophic, as we saw Friday.
The creators of third party scripts like Facebook's appear to be slow to make strides to improve out-of-the-box performance. That's why it’s up to you, the website owner or developer, to take precautions. The best things you can do to protect your site are:
- Concatenate and compress scripts wherever possible. This won’t keep scripts from having errors caused by delivery of the content, but it will reduce the average performance impact considerably, making your site faster on a daily basis. More info here: concatenating and compressing scripts.
Alex is a writer by training and marketer by trade, currently managing digital marketing at Yottaa. Writing here at the intersection of user experience, app performance, and conversion optimization. Summer = an unfortunate break between ski seasons.