Guides

How to Prevent Website From Going Offline And What To Do If It Does

By November 20, 2018 No Comments

Ensuring your website is available all the time is important for your business. You wouldn’t want your visitors to discover your site in not online, especially during important decision-making micro-moments. We will be taking a look at why websites suffer from downtime, how you can try to prevent it, and what to do if your site does go offline.

Why Does Your Website Go Offline?

There could be several reasons why your website is no longer available. From natural disasters, like a fire or floods at your web host’s data center, to you accidentally shutting down your own website (putting it in maintenance mode). While some causes may seem far-fetched other are more common. We’ll look at the most probable reasons your site could be offline.

Server Maintenance

All machines need looking after and the server on which your website is hosted is no different. From software updates, security patch installs, to upgrading the hardware for better performance there are several reasons why your server would require maintenance. While most of these updates could take place while the server is operational, some upgrades would need your web host to take the server temporarily offline. In this case, your website may not be available to your customers.

Web hosts know the importance of having the website always online. If a maintenance has been scheduled, it will be undertaken at a time which will cause the least disruption to your business. Sites generally have traffic patterns and your web host will pick a time where incoming traffic is minimal or non-existent. However, if your hosting provider is located in a country with a different time zone this could be slightly inconvenient.

Overloaded Servers

Websites can also suffer downtime because the server on which they’re hosted are not capable of handling the processes/traffic it has been tasked with. A DDoS attack works in a similar manner where a hacker will flood the servers with multiple requests in a short pan of time, thereby shutting it down.

If you are using a shared server, another website on your server receiving high traffic volumes could also result in performance issues and unavailability of your website. Your website could also face downtime if a piece of content on your own site went viral. An unexpected high volume of visitors, trying to access your site at the same time, could cause the same problem. If this happens on a regular basis your website could be more popular than you think and you might need to upgrade your hosting package to handle the traffic.

Coding Errors

Another common problem that could cause your website to go down is coding errors. If you use a CMS like WordPress you would also be using plugins to improve the functionality of your website. Some plugins are incompatible with others, so when both are installed at the same time it may cause your site to go offline. You may need to find alternative plugins for one or the other.

Another coding problem occurs when people mess around with coding on their website without really having an idea as to what they’re doing. This is especially true for CMS website software like WordPress. If you do plan to tinker with the code, at least make sure you have some sort of back up available for your data. If things don’t go according to plan you can get your site back up online quickly.

Hacking

We’ve talked about how a DDoS attack can hamper your website, but there are several other ways hackers can take your site offline. Your cPanel is one of the most important aspects of your website. If a hacker is able to break into your cPanel he could take down your site, by deleting your files and your data. Some malicious hackers may even try to use your site to direct traffic to other defamatory websites. You may not realize what’s happening as the site will look like its active. Avoid this by using difficult to crack passwords and using a well established, secure web hosting provider.

Poor hosting

If you use a low-quality web host you may find that your site goes offline more often than not. Your web host could be using old hardware, trying to make money at the cost of his customers by cramming too many websites on the same server, or just not monitoring how their server is performing. If this keeps happening, you might want to consider choosing a more reliable web host.

How Do I Keep My Website From Going Down?

Finding The Right Host

One of the most crucial factors to ensure your website stays online is picking the right web host. When choosing the right web host for your website make sure these services are included:

– High-Performance Servers
– Monitoring Server Performance Issues
– Best Server Configuration For High-Performance Websites
– Better Security For Your Website
– Managed Updates To The Operating System

A good host will also offer excellent technical support available 24/7, remote backups for your website, as well as site monitoring services. With the state of technology, some web hosts will also be able to guarantee up time for your website. It could range from a lofty 99.5% all the way up to a 100% online time for your website.

Regular Software Updates

To prevent your site being hacked its important to keep your software updated regularly. Hackers are always on the lookout for potentially weak targets. Websites running on outdated CMS, using older versions of themes and plugins are their prime targets. Avoid being a victim of hacking by setting up automatic updates for your site, themes, and plugins.

Monitoring your Website

Plugins installed on your website and the services provided by your web host can alert you if your site ever went down. They will also send you notifications of any issues you might want to look into. Monitoring services will also provide you with error logs which can help diagnose the problem quickly and help you get back on track sooner rather than later.

What Do You Do If The Site Actually Goes Offline?

Confirm If It Is Actually Offline

You could be having issues visiting your site due to network connectivity issues, issues with the cookies in the browser or for several other reasons. Before you start to panic, make sure the site is actually offline. Try different browsers, check your network connection, and see if your friends in different locations can help check the website status for you.

Find Out Why Your Site Is Offline

Often times you will see the cause of the connection problem on the browser itself. If the downtime is caused by a coding error you’ll see the error code displayed. If your website is facing unusual traffic, it may be taking longer than necessary to load. If no apparent cause appears, the fastest way to get to the root of the issue is by checking your cPanel.

Your cPanel has error logs filed for you to pinpoint the cause of the issue. If you are unable to log in to the cPanel, the issue your website is facing could be due to an error from your web host.

Get In Touch With The Support Team

If your web host provides 24/7 technical support, get in touch with them as soon as possible. Let them know about the problem you have been facing and see ask for a solution. It may seem like a major concern to you, but it could be something the technical support team is quite equipped to handle.

Let your customers know

If your site is down or is going to go offline you have to be able to let your customer know about the situation. If your email services are still active, let your followers know that currently, your website isn’t available, however, it will be back soon. You can also use your social media channels to inform your customers of the same. Once things are back to normal, you should also let your customers know that you’re back online so that they can come and enjoy your products, or services.

Hopfully these tips not only help you keep your site online longer, but also help you in picking the right web hosting service. If you need to discuss these concerns further, please do get in touch.

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