Cost of website downtime is on the rise
In today’s age of the Internet and modern technology, more and more things are being done online. With it, the cost of website downtime is growing rapidly. The first example of this online revolution is with eCommerce. Before it was unthinkable that, from the comfort of your home, you pick something, pay for it, wait for delivery and get it to your home address. Today, in the Internet age it is certainly possible, and today that’s the reality.
People all over the world are buying from web stores more and more. This trend is recognized by retail chains and companies that offer their customers the option to order of their products and services. Businesses, large and small, are investing money in creating their eCommerce because they know very well that in this way they may be more accessible to potential buyers, but also they could reduce operating costs.
How much does it really cost to go offline if you are an internet business?
Online store risks
In every business there are risks. In traditional trade there are risks of theft or robbery, while the website story is a bit different, but also very important. The main problem of websites and eCommerce is downtime. It is because of that, very wise to monitor website downtime.
There are 4 types of downtime:
1. Planned downtime
Planned downtime is a time when you know in advance that you will have downtime so you can notify users. Reason for planned downtime can be hardware or software upgrade.
2. Hardware failures
Like everything else, nothing can work forever. There may be a cancellation hardware, errors in the software, viruses or file corruption. This is really bad because not only do you have the cost of website downtime, but you also have the cost of replacing the malfunctioned components.
3. Software failure
We can’s say that these happen often, but they still do. If you’ve ever seen a common WordPress error, well… WordPress is software, and occasionally it fails. When that happens, it costs money.
4. DDoS attacks
One of the biggest problems of online stores are DDoS attacks. DDoS attack or a distributed denial – of-service attack is an attack whose goal is to prevent legitimate users access to a service or the server. Small web stores are hardly dealing with it because they have no money to invest in a set of protection, while large internet store discounts like Amazon or Ebay have multiple levels of protection against DDoS attacks and cope with the problem. Again, with the cost of downtime, you will probably have a cost of DDoS attack prevention or cost of recovery.
Three largest cost of website downtime
1. Loss of customers and of course, money
72 % of Internet users who buy in online stores during unavailability moves to competitors. When your website is not up and running, your customers will not wait for your website to be available again. They will automatically look for other web shops and in most cases they will no longer want to shop with you.
2. Loss of customer loyalty
Customers who experience unavailability while buying or searching to purchase on your web store websites are losing interest in buying and turning away to the competition. The same applies to possible defects and errors on the website. It’s hard to put a number on customer loyalty, but certainly, it increases the cost of website downtime.
3. The negative reputation
What most affects online stores is a negative reputation. Nearly half of the customers who buy through the web shop seek feedback of those who already buy through your online store before they buy anything. If they encounter any negative feedback , they will probably turn away to your competition so you will lose money.
What are typical uptimes?
When seeking hosting solutions for your eCommerce website, it is important to check with the provider how much uptime guarantee, or the percentage of uptime period, and how much time is left for possible inactivity.
Most providers offer uptime guarantees the following :
99.999 % uptime = 5 minutes of downtime per year
99.99 % uptime = 53 minutes of downtime per year
99.9 % uptime = 8 hours 45 minutes of downtime per year
99 % uptime = 3.65 days of downtime per year
Ideas for minimizing the cost of website downtime
Ask yourself, are you ready for all the risks and problems that online stores offer. Do you have secured the support in case of problems.
Below are a few questions you should ask yourself before going into business:
Which hosting provider to choose, how much access it has to offer and what is level of security?
Do I have the system administrator at my disposal?
Do I have a backup?
How much money do I have to invest in my shop?
If your have answer to all of my questions, you are ready to start your online business.
Why does website downtime occur?
Facing a website downtime when all your business processes are website-driven or online-driven can be the most trembling and frightening moment of your business career. During 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 expenses. 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.
The bigger the company, the bigger the cost of website downtime
On the contrary, there are numerous big and established companies that have faced a major loss due to website inactivity. Unplanned domain expiration is one of them. Whether you are a small business owner or you are running a giant business empire, website outages 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.
The downtime caused due to upgrading or enhancement of the websites or any hardware and software upgrade generally falls 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 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 during the inactivity 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.
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 outage 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 this transitional period.
Working to reduce the cost of website downtime
Many hosting service providers make a promise to deliver near-zero downtime providing 99.9 percent uptime. So if you are using any service provider, make sure they deliver on that promise. 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.
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 these cyber threats can save a lot of your crucial time on reducing the cost of website downtime.
Founder and CEO of WhoAPI Inc. Goran Duskic is an internet entrepreneur since 2006. He co-founded and sold several online ventures, including a web hosting company.
Pingback: Should you migrate to a managed cloud service? - WhoAPI Inc.