How to Be Prepared for Website Outage

It never feels good when your website is down or is going through certain performance problems. You may have invested a lot of effort, time and money to maintain your site’s uptime. However, despite your best efforts, a website or a server may occasionally experience outage or performance problems. Technical difficulties are inevitable that may cause the website to be unavailable. Website may also be down for a few hours for an essential security update. The fact is that downtime will most likely have adverse effects on your business. It can damage your sales conversions, profitability and brand reputation.

How to React When Your Website is Down?

By preparing for the worst situation you may be able to minimize the website downtime. Preparation also helps to reduce the damage to your reputation and revenue stream. How you will respond when your website is in crisis is actually a two front battle: technical and social. If you ignore the social part, your website may experience a bigger problem. In addition to the technical and social aspects of downtime, there are actually two different types of outages. Each type may require a different way of resolving the problem.

Types of Outages - Planned or Unplanned

Downtime can be either be planned or unplanned. Planned downtime means you purposely make your site inaccessible for a short period of time. This is not something a business owner will prefer to do, but in some cases it is necessary. When you have a planned temporary shutdown, make sure to inform both type of visitors to your website i.e. humans as well as search engine bots. Also, it is advisable to mention the approximate duration of downtime.

In case of an unplanned outage, your site experiences a downtime situation due to certain circumstances caused by issues with hardware, network or software. At first, you may not even know what the cause of the website downtime. Such unplanned outages cause much anxiety to you as a website owner or administrator. It requires knowledge, skill and ability to restore the website to normalcy.

When it is an unplanned outage, here are a few steps that you need to follow:

Check Why Your Website is Having Outage

Often, downtime is an issue beyond your control. It can be caused by a local internet connectivity failure, hardware failure or a software malfunction. Once you become aware of your site downtime, access your site and do a walk-thru the website. The intention of this exercise is to discover the cause of the website downtime. Site monitoring services can help to detect the areas of the website that are having trouble or identify at which step the loading of the website has stopped. A good website monitoring service can be a great help in quickly doing a comprehensive check of the functioning of the various components of the website.

Notify Your Team About Downtime

Once the website experiences a downtime, there is a need to communicate the information quickly to the responsible people for quick resolution. If your organization is having an established method and list of contacts to reach at the time of website failure you have prepared well. This helps you to reduce confusion, stress and avoid inefficient handling of the situation. No doubt, this also helps to quickly get your website back to available status for your site visitors.

Locate the Root Cause of Website Downtime

There can be various reasons behind a website outage. To address the problem you need to find the root cause. Figuring out the main problem will not only be difficult but also time consuming when done manually without the help of a website monitoring service.

Web monitoring services are very helpful during downtimes, as you can use their comprehensive assessment abilities to check your website performance and downtime status. Such reports will help you to locate the main cause of website downtime.

Website monitoring apps can help specifically identify the type of issue that is possibly causing the downtime. Many advanced website monitoring providers allow a variety of scripts to be run to test and identify which components are malfunctioning. Using this information on specific malfunctioning areas, it is possible to intelligently guess the cause of the problem and trouble shoot it.

Communicate With Visitors and Search Engine Bots

During your website downtime, visitors and search engine bots to your site will get a 404 error message. In such a situation, many of the visitors as well as the search engine bots will assume your website no longer exists. Such an impression in the mind of the visitors can be detrimental for your business.

You should communicate about the downtime issue through a customized error page that indicates your website is currently experiencing downtime and preferably indicate the timeframe after which your website will become available. In addition, you could communicate the same through your website’s social media accounts. For example, you can use Facebook and Twitter to keep your customers informed about your website downtime. This allows you to fix the downtime problem with less pressure.

Fix the Downtime Issue

The moment you become aware of the cause your website downtime, your aim will be to quickly rectify the error. While you are fixing the problem you could re-direct users to a secondary website. Overall, you must ensure that users must have minimum service interruption.

Website Monitoring Service – an Essential Tool to Minimize Downtime

It is better to use a site monitoring service for continuously monitoring your website uptime. Manual monitoring is neither extensive nor continuous. Further, the good website monitoring providers provide many advanced and in-depth features that help in monitoring uptime for a wide variety of downtime or performance issues. While, website monitoring services cannot promise that your site will never go down. But if such situation does arise, the website monitoring app will not only help you to resolve downtime issues with ease but also help to recover quickly from the site downtime situation.