Why do websites crash during major sales? Latest to join ranks is SpiceJet

SpiceJet Great Republic Day sale Screengrab from SpiceJet website

SpiceJet is wowing Indian customers with its "Great Republic Day Sale" in January, slashing its one-way fares to as low as 769 and 2,469 INR on select destinations, both domestic and international. However, there is a tiny catch. The website has crashed within a few hours, so you technically cannot book that cheap flight.

After the sale is announced on Monday, which stated that tickets for a travel period until December 12, 2018 will be available at these highly subsidized rates from January 22 to 25, people rushed to book tickets, causing the website to crash.

An exclusive URL was created by the airline company to apologize for the inconvenience: https://www.spicejet.com/sorry/. However, the offer was also valid on the SpiceJet mobile app, providing some respite to users.

Although this error in service might be heartbreaking to many, this is not the first time that such an incident has occurred. Almost all major websites have recorded crashes in software when they announce major sales and discounts.

The most notorious among them is Flipkart, an online shopping website that holds the popular Big Billion Day sale annually. In this sale, products from electronic items to household materials are available at unbelievably discounted prices. Yet, every year since 2014, the website has stopped working during the sale due to increased demand.

Amazon, on the other hand, has resulted in website crashes that have affected many other sites on the internet. Its cloud-computing service Amazon Web Services has reported frequent crashes. One of them was in the eastern US last February when the Amazon cloud experienced outage around midday on the East Coast. one of its S3 services reported 'increased error rates" which affected thousands of other websites and apps. Thankfully, the issue was resolved in a few hours.

SpiceJet itself does not possess a spotless record. Its guarantee of "lowest fares, lowest cancellation fee and best deals" seems to draw millions to its website, which the system cannot sustain effortlessly.

In 2014, the airlines' company announced an offer wherein flight tickets to select destinations were available for one rupee only for the travel period between July 2014 and March 2015. A similar thing happened then as well and the website crashed within hours. So was the case during its 2016 pre-summer sale.

Other airlines, such as Indigo, also face the same issue more frequently than expected, sometimes even without any sale going on. In spite of the same old problem of server error, the good news is that the Spicejet website has come back on track and enthusiasts can again go to their desired destinations for freakishly less prices.