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Having a Website Downtime? Here’s Why and What You Should Do

A lot of people on the internet have a short attention span; don’t waste it. One or two minutes of web load-time can make a huge difference, what would being inaccessible for an hour do? Not only would your chances of making sales or getting leads go down the drain, but the negative impact will linger on with both regular and potential customers for a while.

Why is a Website Downtime Bad for Your Business?

Regardless of the niche or industry you cater for, an unexpected website downtime can cost you heavily; in cash or kind. The following are various ways it can affect your business:

Your brand may lose credibility if your site keeps crashing all the time. Customers find it hard to trust a brand that is unavailable when they need them. Why trust a business that can’t keep its website up?

Your SEO rankings will drop and bounce rate increase if it takes more than two seconds to fetch your webpages. Google limits websites with slow or lagging pages, and view them as poorly optimized for user experience. Also, a slow server response often results in a higher bounce rate. This is especially common with shared hosting that suffers from prolonged downtime.

Profits will plummet if you run an online store with consistent server downtimes. Average downtime, according to Carbonite, costs small businesses an average of $137 to $427 per minute. Cumulatively, that’s a lot of losses. For big businesses like Amazon, one-second of web downtime costs them over $220,000.

Possible Reasons Why You Have a Website Downtime

Your website can crash for a lot of reasons. We’ve highlighted a few common ones you may likely come across, below.

Poor Quality Web Hosting

This is undoubtedly one of the most common causes of web downtime. There’s no point investing hundreds of dollars in the UI/UX design of your website, only to share hosting resources with 100+ other people, and don’t even know it, when providers like offer you better, for half the price.

Shared hosting providers make profits through add-ons and upsells, and care little to nothing about the quality of hosting they provide. The bad thing about this is, you share more than just hosting – you share problems too – issues from other users’ sites often trickle down to yours like a domino effect.

Traffic Overload and DDoS Attack

Remember Ellen Degeneres’ selfie that was retweeted over 3 million times? It crashed Twitter’s website in less than 24 hours it went viral – Twitter wasn’t expecting it, but it did happen anyway.

An unusual surge of visitors can do this to you too; not make you viral, but crash your website, or at the very least, come with its 500-error-notification. This too, is common with shared hosting, because they restrict your website’s number of connections, server processes, CPU usage, database queries, memory and so on. Reaching or going beyond these limits during a traffic surge can cause server downtime.

When it comes to DDoS attacks, also known as Distributed Denial of Service, your web server is flooded with fake traffic. Sometimes, the reason for the fake traffic is to act as a smokescreen to carry out other malicious attacks. Its much worse when you’re on a shared hosting plan, as your site can go down along with the target website during the attack.

Malicious Attacks and DNS Issues

Just because you have a spike in activity doesn’t mean you have “good” activity. Sometimes it can be as a result of a DDoS attack, hacking attempt, or malware.

If your website is vulnerable, it can be a playground for malicious hackers who derive joy from launching these kinds of cyberattacks. An example of a less aggressive, yet equally effective attack, can include offline scams and phishing that give system access to a hacker. Contrary to DDoS attacks where your website goes down as collateral damage, hacking attempts involve the use of bots to search for vulnerabilities on individual websites.

DNS Issues is another cause of website downtime. DDoS attacks can sometimes cause DNS failures, other times it could be as a result of a misconfiguration, human error or general slowdown. Regardless of the cause, if a DNS failure is the reason for your website downtime, you need to find out the root cause and get it sorted.

Expired Domain or Hosting

This reason is easily overlooked. Sometimes, the reason your website is down is because someone forgot to renew their domain or hosting contract.

It’s easy to avoid these issues; just plan. Go for an auto-renew subscription for both plans, or set a reminder so you don’t forget.

Ways to Deal with your Website Downtime

There are applicable tips you can use when dealing with an unexpected website downtime. Below, we’ll look at the ways to ensure a better chance of availability for your customers.

Track and monitor your website.

You can do this by enlisting the services of third-party monitor apps or software to send you alerts when your website is down, so you can look into it before it’s too late. You can check out these popular uptime and performance monitors:

× Pingdom (uptime and performance monitoring)

× Uptime Robot (uptime monitoring)

× ManageWP (uptime and performance monitoring)

× Uptime (uptime and performance monitoring)

× StatusCake (uptime and performance monitoring)

× Freshping (uptime monitoring)

Create a Downtime Page.

Downtimes are often unplanned, but at the very least, a downtime page shouldn’t. A downtime assures your visitors that you’re in control, you’ve got them, and you’ll be back soon. It boosts confidence and restores brand credibility.

Follow through on social media.

This is the first place everyone goes to especially when something is wrong. Keep your customers at peace, by assuring them you’re aware of the situation, and you’re on top of it. An effective approach to consider also is to apologize and offer quick help through other mediums, such as DMs or emails. Sometimes, you can lighten the mood. Nevertheless, be open and transparent.

Always have a backup plan. Nothing is certain, especially on the internet. The unexpected can happen anytime, hence the need to have a backup plan ready to step up at your lowest times.

Numerous backup plugins help automate the process, and most host providers offer this option.

Wrapping up

Sometimes, website downtime is planned, like during maintenance. Other times, it springs upon you. That’s why you must prepare for days like it. Invest time and money in getting the right tools and resources in place, to quickly get back on your feet when it happens. This would protect you in the long run, from losing both sales and customers, and give them a great user experience.

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