This page provides guidance to help ensure your website is available,
accessible, secure, and usable for everyone at all times.
The guidance on this page comes from a cross-functional collection of teams
within Google that are shifting their short-term focus to support websites that are
helping people stay safe during the COVID-19 situation. These Googlers have seen that sites
are facing unprecedented increases in demand from people looking for critical
information, many of whom have rarely or never used the web before. It can be a challenge
to ensure sites are available during this time and accessible to all.
Availability, reliability, resilience, and stability
If your site is seeing traffic spikes and it’s failing, or you want to prevent it
from failing, the guidance below can help you quickly fix problems or detect them
before they become major issues.
- Read Fix an overloaded server to learn
how to detect, mitigate, and prevent traffic spike issues.
- Remove unnecessary images, videos, scripts, and fonts. Ensure each page focuses
on just delivering the functionality that the people using your site really
- Optimizing your images may
significantly reduce your server bandwidth usage because images are the
number one source of bloat on the web.
- Offload as much of your static content to CDNs as possible.
More details from common providers:
- Check if your CDN has any optimizations that are easy to turn on, such as
dynamic image compression, text compression, or automatic minification of JS
and CSS resources.
- Optimizing HTTP caching can significantly reduce demands on your servers with
minimal code change. Check out The HTTP cache: your first line of
defense for an overview and HTTP
and Caching best
specific recommendations. The Serve static assets with an efficient cache
policy audit in Lighthouse can help you
quickly detect resources that aren’t being cached. Keep in mind that different
types of resources will have different freshness requirements and will
therefore require different caching strategies.
- Service workers are another
way to significantly reduce demands on your servers but may require significant technical
investment. They also enable your website to work
enabling you to present opening hours, phone numbers, and other information to
returning users without a connection. Workbox is
the recommended approach for adding service workers to websites because it
automates a lot of boilerplate, makes it easier to follow best practices, and
prevents subtle bugs that are common when using the low-level
- If your site is seeing major increased usage, check whether you have adequate
protection against DDoS
attacks because your
site may now be a more attractive target. More details from common providers:
See Network reliability for more guidance.
Focusing on accessibility is more important than ever because more people with a
variety of needs are probably accessing your site. Follow the guidelines below
to ensure that the core functionality of your website is accessible for
Identity, security, and privacy
It can be tempting to take shortcuts to get critical fixes out the door, but
always be careful that you are not opening up security holes in doing so. People
need to access content on topics that are extremely private. Websites need to
protect this sensitive user data at all costs and convince people that their
information (PII) is safe.
See Safe and secure for more guidance.
Usability, UI, and UX
People are relying more heavily on the web to fulfill basic needs. Many of these
people don’t use the web frequently. It’s worthwhile to audit the usability of
your site’s core functionality and make sure it’s as simple and easy to use as
- Consider adding a prominent banner (that can be removed with an X button)
to the top of your website that clearly communicates service updates. Use a
call-to-action in the banner to direct people to more specific resources.
Consider using distinct colors and fonts that stand out from the rest of your
page content. Keep your writing empathetic, focused on people’s needs, and
transparent about what kind of service to expect.
- Look for opportunities to minimize physical interactions in your critical
user journeys (CUJs)
and suggest those changes to your product team. For example, if your delivery
service usually requires a signature, see if there’s any way to work around
- Double-check that your CUJs are as simple and intuitive as possible and
suggest changes to your product team if you see any opportunities to improve.
- Review the principles of good mobile
and try out your CUJs on various mobile devices to make sure there aren’t any
glaring issues. The people who don’t use the web often and are suddenly finding
themselves having to rely on the web more are probably accessing your site from
- Refactor your site to use responsive design
as much as possible.
- Ensure that your forms are
People are looking for critical health- and job-related information. It’s
important to ensure that your sites are discoverable by all search engines.
The Lighthouse SEO audits can help you detect basic problems.
Follow the official blogs of search engines for the latest guidance and updates:
Recent COVID-19-related posts:
See Discoverable for more guidance.
Some ISPs (in India for
are seeing a sharp increase in home internet
and don’t have the infrastructure to meet the increased demand. In situations
like this your website speed may be getting slower through no fault of your own.
Optimizing your load performance could be a way to offset the headwind of
reduced bandwidth. In other words, by reducing the number of bytes that need to
be sent over the network in order to load your pages, you can offset the
performance impact of reduced bandwidth.
- Images are the number one cause of bloat on the
web. You might be able to significantly
reduce your website’s bandwidth usage by optimizing your
Squoosh is a simple open source image compression tool
that can help you quickly compress your images.
- Run WebPageTest or
to discover your top performance improvement opportunities.
- Enable text compression to reduce
the network size of text resources. This is often an easy performance win that
requires minimal technical investment.
- Read Fixing website speed
to learn how to collaborate with and get buy-in from other departments.
- Use native lazy-loading for images to
minimize requests for images that people may never actually see. Browser
is not 100% but the feature can be treated as a progressive enhancement. In
other words, if a certain browser doesn’t support native lazy-loading, the
image should load as it normally does.
- Check if your site has any A/B testing or personalization scripts that can be
loaded more asynchronously or if there’s any non-critical functionality in the
scripts that can be disabled. A/B testing and personalization scripts usually
can’t be loaded completely asynchronously because they need to run before
the page content loads, but there may be some opportunity to load parts of the
scripts more asynchronously. See Critical Rendering Path to understand
the fundamental tradeoff between synchronous scripts (also known as
render-blocking scripts) in general and page load time, and then decide
whether you need to prioritize the render-blocking scripts over page load
time, or vice versa.
- Third-party code constitutes around half of all
requests for most
or temporarily removing or disabling third-party code that isn’t fundamental
to running your site.
- If feature releases are deprioritized, this might be the perfect time to clean
up. Remove tags from your tag managers, clean up bloated CSS and JS, and
remove deprecated features or code. The
in Chrome DevTools and the
in Puppeteer can help you detect unused code.
See Fast load times for more guidance.