Importance of Preparing for Website Outages and Downtime

Though website outages are common, many website owners do not bother to prepare for them. They tend to rely on their web hosting company for the uptime of their website. While website outages and downtime can be ‘only’ an inconvenience for people who run their website casually, it is not affordable to ignore for serious website owners. As the downtime of a website keeps increasing, the credibility of the website as well as the business keeps decreasing. While website outages cannot be stopped from occurring, their impact can be minimized with proper preparation.

Website outages: are they common? While outages and downtime of small websites go unnoticed to the world (even to the website owner, sometimes), the awareness of downtime of major websites spreads faster and makes it into the news. Popular outages that occurred recently include big names like Amazon, Twitter, Sony, Netflix, Bank of America, etc. The main point to notice here is that website outages were inevitable even for the big websites mentioned here which have a highly configured infrastructure. So, how safe is your website hosted with your web host?

Possible reasons for website outages. When it comes to website outages, the possible reasons can be categorized into scheduled outages and unscheduled outages.

Scheduled outages: These mostly include maintenance activities like upgrading, repairing or patching of software, applications or the hardware. These are generally scheduled to ensure that the impact of downtime is very minimal. In this case, website owners have an option to display a message on their site with details of the scheduled outage and thus minimize its impact. Google handles its scheduled outages very well. However, it is not very likely that web hosting companies will share information with you about these scheduled outages every time.

Unscheduled outages: These are unforeseen failures in any part of the technology infrastructure related to the website, including hardware, software, network infrastructure, naming services infrastructure, database, etc. Even unexpected traffic to the site can also crash the website.

As you can see, there are many chances of your website to go down and it is very important to have a plan to deal with it.

How would an early message help? Apart from having an emergency plan for website outages, it is equally important to know when to initiate it. Though, you may have prepared well for a website outage, it is a sheer waste if you are not able to implement it in-time. While the reasons for website downtime can vary, it is very important for the website owner to get the information as soon as possible. As the time of an outage increases, the number of visitors turning lost increases. Receiving a message instantly about the website downtime can help you take all the necessary steps to resolve the situation. Thus, you will be minimizing the negative impact.

Continuous monitoring of website with website monitoring services. Website monitoring services track your website continuously and report instantly in case of any downtime or outage. This enables you to get the message about your website outage instantly and react appropriately in-time. Monitoring services also check for other issues related to website performance, and give you timely reports. Thus, you can consider subscribing to a website monitoring service as part for your site downtime preparation plan.

If you are serious about your website availability, then you should consider making an appropriate backup plan for your website. Choosing a reliable web host with a proper track record and ensuring redundancy of the site, etc. are some common strategies in terms of planning for website downtime.