The Top 7 Causes of Website Downtime: Why No Website Is Immune

You put a lot of time and effort into the design and SEO of your website, but preventing website downtime? It’s not something you really worry about. After all, you have your ducks in a row. Your site is one of those that are pretty much immune to bouts of unplanned website downtime. Or is it? If you think your website can’t succumb to at least one of the many risks that can cause serious bouts of dreaded downtime, there are a few things you need to consider. For example, every site is at risk and needs to be protected because every site is susceptible to at least one of the following seven downtime factors.

1. Hardware Failures

Hardware failure accounts for more than 50 percent of all downtime for small to mid-sized businesses. Even if you think you have your bases covered with levels of redundancy, multiple power supplies, and network controllers, no one can predict when a wide-spread power outage will occur or when cords will become the newest chew toys for a rodent infestation. No matter how protected you think your hardware may be, there is still a good chance it will succumb to failure at some point in the future and cause your entire site to go offline.

2. Poor Quality Website Hosting

Even if your hosting provider gave you an uptime guarantee of 99.99 percent, that guarantee isn’t worth the paper it’s written on (so to say). Even if they company fails to meet the standard they promised and they give you an uptime rate of only 75 percent, that hosting company isn’t going to compensate you for all of your losses. They are only going to compensate you for the actual price you paid for the hosting during that downtime period, which usually doesn’t amount to much. A lack of quality in website hosting is one of the leading contributors to website downtime. Worse yet, you really won’t know exactly how much downtime your site is experiencing because your hosting provider isn’t likely to announce the amount of unplanned downtime your site encounters each month. This is where website monitoring comes into play. You’ll know exactly how much downtime your site is experiencing and whether or not it’s time to look for a new hosting provider to get that downtime down to a reasonable level.

3. DNS Issues

Another culprit of website downtime is DNS issues. Sometimes it’s waiting for the DNS to propagate. Other times the DNS has been figured incorrectly. Even a simple misspelling of a nameserver can cause your site to go down. Sometimes the DNS issues are more complicated. No matter what the reason, if DNS issues are the reason your site isn’t loading, you need to figure out what the culprit is and what you need to do to correct it as soon as possible.

4. DDoS Attacks

A DDoS attack, also known as a denial of service attack, happens when a person or group of people flood a server with requests in order to overwhelm and crash the server. Even if your site isn’t the intended target, but a site that shares your site’s server is (if you’re on a shared hosting plan), then your site is going to go down along with the targeted site during the attack. Even a small personal blog can be the victim of a DDoS attack if the targeted site is sharing the server that the blog is being hosted on, so unless your site has a dedicated server, you may face downtime when your site becomes the victim of collateral damage if another site on your host’s shared server is attacked by hackers.

5. Malicious Hackers

If your site has any weaknesses in security or has any penetrable breaches at all, a hacker may find it and bring it down just because they can. Unlike DDoS attacks, where some sites are just collateral damage because they happen to be on a shared server that hosts the site that was the target of the attack, these hackers employ bots that search for websites that have vulnerabilities and bring them down just because they have the ability to do so. This means that if your site isn’t built like Fort Knox, it’s vulnerable to the attacks of these hackers and these attacks can cause serious bouts of website downtime for your online business.

6. CMS Issues

No matter what type of content management system your site may be built on, there are issues that can arise with on-site software which can lead to inevitable downtime. Someone may install incompatible plug-ins on a WordPress site, for example, bringing an entire site down. Database errors and other internal conflicts can also cause your site to load partial pages, completely blank pages, or not load at all.

7. Lapses in Maintenance

It’s crucial that your site is maintained on a regular basis. Unless you are constantly maintaining your site, there are a number of things that could lead to downtime if your site is left unchecked. If you aren’t extremely vigilant about ensuring everything is working properly on a recurring basis, your site may face a catastrophic failure followed by an extended period of dreaded website downtime. 

Keeping a Vigilant Eye on Your Site’s Downtime

So if downtime seems to be inevitable, what can you do to protect your site’s profits? In addition to being aware of the above seven reasons for website downtime, you need to have plans in place to reduce downtime as much as humanly possible. A quality website monitoring service can help by notifying you of problems before they result in complete downtime and will let you know the moment your site does go down so you can get to work as soon as possible to get your site back up and running again.