The Four Biggest Pitfalls of Website Downtime

We all know that downtime can be deadly to the success of an online business – especially one that is just starting up. We can put tools in place, such as a quality website monitoring service, to let us know that downtime is happening the moment it occurs. This allows us to get to work to resolve that downtime as quickly as humanly possible, but shouldn’t we also be taking it one step further? Shouldn’t we be on the lookout for the common pitfalls of website downtime so we can help avoid it altogether whenever possible? While it may not be possible to completely avoid website downtime altogether, here are four of the biggest pitfalls that can lead to website downtime and the steps that you can take to make sure you do everything within your power to avoid them.

Bad Web Hosting

When it comes to the big bad wolf of website downtime, bad hosting providers take the cake, hands down. Yes, they may have given you a guarantee of 99.999 percent uptime, but there’s something they didn’t tell you about that guarantee – it’s not worth the virtual paper it’s written on. 

When you look closely at the guarantee offered by your hosting provider all it is really saying is that they will reimburse you for the amount you paid them for any time your site was down during a given billing period. So, let’s say you pay your hosting provider $200 a month for a dedicated server and your host goes down for 42 hours the first month. That’s quite a bit of downtime and your business is losing a lot of money (and face) because of that downtime. How much do you get compensated for the frustration, embarrassment, and lost profits? Only for the 42 hours of time you paid your hosting provider, which in this case would be a refund of $11.67. That is quite the paltry sum compared to the profits your business actually lost due to that excessive amount of downtime, not to mention what that downtime did to those search engine rankings you invested so much time and money in and how it affected the way the public perceives your online business. 

The best way to avoid bad web hosting is to do your due diligence before selecting any web hosting provider. Don’t sign up with one just because they’re willing to offer you a guarantee because, as you can see, that guarantee isn’t worth very much. Consider the reliability of the hosting providers you are considering and never, ever shop based on the consideration of price alone.

Traffic Overloads

Another common pitfall of website downtime is traffic overloads. Success is great. Not being ready to take advantage of that success and being unable to ride the tide of it is a recipe for disaster. After all, it took a single Oscar selfie to crash Twitter. All it takes is that one second in the spotlight to overload your server and send it crashing down. So, if sites like Twitter are susceptible to going under when the masses flock to them, how do you avoid such a disaster? You make sure your hosting package is scalable, that it doesn’t have a bandwidth limit on it or that you can set it to automatically upgrade the bandwidth limits, and that you do your best to anticipate when something might go viral and send your site’s traffic to unprecedented levels and then scale your site’s traffic abilities in real-time. 

Hackers, Malwares, and DDoS Attackers, Oh My!

Let’s face it… All types inhabit the World Wide Web and not all of them are good people. Some of them hack just because they can. Others install malware on websites just because they think it’s fun. Others will launch DDoS attacks because they honestly have nothing better to do. Mind you, these people are completely different from the hacktivist groups who target sites for a reason. The people we are referring to here are people who target any site at random just because they can, and that puts your site at just as much of a risk as any other. So, are you at the mercy of such individuals? Yes and no. These individuals may very well target your site, but there are indeed security measures you can put into place to protect your website such as selecting very strong randomized passwords, investing in security solutions to keep your data safe, and keeping your website up to date with the latest security patches.

Plug-In Related Problems

More and more websites are using plug-ins nowadays, but as we have seen recently it is causing increasing performance problems for the websites that use them. When a plug-in isn’t working or isn’t working properly, it can cause performance issues with the site or it may even bring the site down completely. The best way to avoid such a problem is to let your website monitoring service notify you if there is a problem with your website due to the plug-ins used by you. If this occurs, take the plug-in offline until you have figured out what is causing the problem or until the problem has resolved itself. While you may lose that one bit of website functionality for a limited time, it is better than having site issues continue for an indeterminate amount of time. Not only that, but try to limit the use of third-party plug-ins on your site altogether so you don’t run into problems that are beyond your control any more than you absolutely have to.

Knowledge Is Power

Downtime is like the boogie man of the Internet. Once your site is up and running, the last thing you want to hear is that website downtime took a bite out of your precious profits and reputation. The good news is that there are ways to not only thwart downtime when it occurs, but there are also ways to prevent downtime from occurring to begin with. Simply keep the above in mind and pair the advice with quality website monitoring service and other failsafes and you’ll be well on your way to bulletproofing your site against the damages that unnecessary website downtime can cause.