What Is Server Downtime and How Does It Affect Your Website?

Almost everyone knows what website downtime is, and anyone who runs an online business knows that website downtime equates to lost profits and, oftentimes, a hit to a company's reputation. This is why so many online business owners work hard to keep their sites up and running at all times, minimizing the dreaded website downtime that is, at times, unavoidable. Yet, while website downtime is unavoidable, this doesn't mean that you have to roll with the punches and take hits to your company's bottom line. You can do things to minimize the downtime that your website experiences, and that means familiarizing yourself with the things that can cause website downtime. Server downtime is one thing that will affect your website's uptime. What is server downtime and what can you do about it? Alertra is here to walk you through it.

What is Server Downtime?

Whether you have a shared hosting plan or a dedicated hosting plan, your website is stored on a server that is owned and operated by the company that you decide to host your website with. If there is a glitch in that server or if the server goes down for any reason, your site becomes unavailable as a result. This is known as server downtime. However, because the problem lies with the server and not some programming error on your end, there is nothing you can do to get that server back up and running. If you do not know how to handle server downtime, you are at the mercy of your website hosting provider to get your site back up and running. However, if you plan ahead and strategize for things such as server downtime, you can minimize the impact that this downtime has on your website and your business's profits.

How to Handle Server Downtime

First and foremost, you need to make sure you have quality website monitoring in place. With a quality website monitoring service, your website and the server that it is hosted on will be monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If your hosting provider's server does go down, you will immediately be notified by your website monitoring service and you will know the reason why your site suddenly went dark. Then you can go to work to mitigate the damage until your hosting provider gets your site back up and running again.

Your Failsafe Plan

Once you know your site is experiencing downtime due to a server issue, you can put your failsafe plan into action. This does mean, however, that you need to have a failsafe plan to begin with. That means having backup hosting in place so you can redirect your DNS to your backup hosting provider until the server issue has been resolved. It is crucial to have a DNS provider and a backup hosting provider with almost-instant TTL (time to live) times in order for this type of plan to work. If your TTL is 24 hours or more, your hosting provider is likely to have the problem fixed before your site will go live on the backup hosting provider's servers. When you are able to redirect your DNS and have it go live almost instantly, an outage that could potentially last from hours to days may last less than an hour, saving your company lost profits and lost consumer confidence.

Remember, server downtime is something you can't prevent, since the uptime of the server that your site is hosted on depends on the actions of your hosting provider. What you can do, however, is make sure that you have a plan in place to get your site back online as soon as possible while your primary web host works out the server issues on their end.