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How to fight against website downtime

Facing a website downtime when all your business processes are website driven or online driven can be the most trembling and frightening moment for your business career. During a website downtime, you experience the value of time in respect to money. The loss in revenue and reduction in customers, in addition to reduced search engine rankings, are some of the unbearable losses you face as a website owner. However, downtime is inevitable barrier or hurdle to your online driven business. You can follow some measures to lessen the impacts of downtime. In other words, you should also be prepared for such problems. There are a number of website owners who are dependent on their hosting services for their website downtime instead of bothering to prepare for these threats.

No access to a website or the website downtime generally occurs for various reasons. Although these days they are very common problems, several small business websites remain ignorant about downtime. On the contrary, there are numerous big and established companies who have faced a major loss due to downtime. Whether you are a small business owner or you are running a giant business empire, the website outages and downtime cannot be avoided completely. Having zero downtime is almost unachievable in modern era too. The only thing you can do as an owner is to prepare for that planned and unplanned downtime.

Being familiar or notified about the main causes and identifying the reasons for website downtime makes it much easier to be prepared for them.

Planned downtime: The downtime caused due to upgrading or enhancement of the websites or any hardware and software upgrade generally fall in the planned downtime category. Sometimes the maintenance and other repairing activities also result in increasing the time to load your website or no access to website.

Unplanned downtime: Unplanned downtime results in maximum loss to businesses. That type of downtime is caused by a number of reasons. They can be due to any component failure or because of any unskilled operation or due to hackers and can even be an outcome of a natural disaster.

Now that we have some of the basic knowledge about the causes of website downtime, we can prepare accordingly to reduce their impacts, in addition to maximizing the uptime. The basic and major impact a downtime makes is that it delivers the wrong image and message about your website and business. This is true even if the website is down for any good cause. So, it is very important to think about what image you radiate out during the downtime to your customers and visitors. However, this is not the biggest problem or hurdle you face. Regular and long website downtime even result in reduced popularity and reduced search engine rankings. So it is high time you should be prepared to face website downtime in order to reduce its impact.
website downtime
Preparing for planned website downtime

Sending an email message to your entire email list is the primary step to be taken for any planned downtime. Notifying your visitors and customers before a planned downtime makes it much easier to reduce its impacts. Giving proper information to loyal and trusted customers is better than leaving them in dark. During downtime, you should make sure to use a proper HTTP status code. Using a proper HTTP status code is very necessary. A proper HTTP status code helps you to maintain your current search engine ranking during planned downtime.

Preparing for unplanned website downtime

Many hosting service providers make a promise to deliver zero downtime providing 99.9 percent uptime. So if you are using any service provider, make sure they deliver on that promise. Like planned downtime, these unplanned downtime scenarios too are inevitable. Having a website monitoring service is the best way to prepare for unplanned website downtime. Sometimes owners encounter the threats hours after they occurred, resulting in severe impacts. These website monitoring service providers always have an eye on the website’s performance and immediately notify the owner of these threats. So if you encounter these problems regularly, contact your service provider and have a talk with the web host. If your hosting company or the service provider doesn’t serve well, move to other service providers for better results.
Along with these measures and steps if you seriously want to function and operate online, you should also create a proper backup. A proper backup helps in restoring all information and essential data.
unplanned downtime
At the end, as the sayings goes, precaution is better than cure, and one should be prepared for future. Investing some part of your time in preparing to manage for these online threats can save a lot of your crucial time on getting rid of website downtime.

Written by Goran Duskic

I am the founder and CEO at WhoAPI. Entrepreneur for more than a decade in the hosting and domain industry. Sold my previous company. 500 Startups and StartLabs alumni. Author of a white paper "Domain Disclosure: Dirty Dozen" and eBook "26 Fundraising Questions for Startups".

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  1. Unplanned downtime WILL happen, and talking with your host provider is not a solution!
    They have to be withing SLAs (99.9% uptime means at most 1.26min/day or 43min/month downtime), the rest is your responsibility. So setting up load balancer and fail-over, different region deployment, database replication and mirroring, etc, is part of preparation for unplanned downtime. Its up to every business to calc how much downtime costs them, and then comparing that with an investment in failover scenarios (and there are many of them). Which boils down to: hire a professional:)

  2. Thanks for reading Hrvoje and sharing your insights, your comment definitely adds value!

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