Why do websites go down?
There are several reasons why website downtime occurs, but there are steps you can take to avoid them. This could be by minimizing the risk or fixing the problem at its core.
Human or coding errors
Humans are responsible for managing and maintaining web servers, making a human error a primary reason for site outages.
Sabotage, accidents, or poor quality work can all cause downtime. Coding errors are one area of concern. Websites function with thousands of lines of code and hardware, meaning even a misplaced comma can cause chaos.
There’s no way to prevent human errors, but there are ways of minimizing the risk of website uptime.
Start by weeding out errors. Test every piece of code thoroughly before it goes live to fix potential issues. Use AI solutions, like automated functional tests, and double-check written code.
Keep detailed records of changes and previous outages to identify errors. Ensure your processes and policies are regularly updated and hire professionals where possible to prevent this from happening.
Websites are hosted on servers, which are physical products, and are thus prone to failure.
Servers are a key part of your website infrastructure. They’re where your website exists, and any disruption can lead to downtime.
However, you can’t predict when a server is going to fail or how. You can analyze servers for problems, but sudden issues are always possible. One reason for this is outdated hardware.
The pace of technological advancements means that companies invest in small upgrades over replacing entire servers to save on cost. Servers can be tedious to replace with long periods of downtime, but this is often necessary to deal with the modern web.
To prevent hardware failures from causing you downtime, upgrade your server when it’s struggling to keep up. Make sure you or your hosting providers have backup servers and equipment to keep your website running even if the dedicated server fails.
Poor hosting provider
Third-party website hosting is a great, affordable alternative to offshore server work for people who know what they’re doing.
Competitive offerings might be enticing, but not all hosting providers are the same. While they call themselves reliable and offer a website uptime guarantee, cheaper web hosting plans often come at the expense of outdated servers and old IT infrastructure.
With a greater chance of hardware failure, downtime chances increase. While hosting providers may apologize and offer compensation or discounts for website downtime, this only applies to the cost of the hosting service. It doesn’t apply to the customers and sales that slip through your fingers during outages.
Look for reliable hosting providers with positive reviews. Some will come with plans for a specific CMS, so you’ll want to ensure you choose the best CMS and complimentary plan for you. Ask other companies which hosting plan they use to prevent detrimental damage and revenue loss for your business.
A domain name server (DNS) maps a domain name with an IP address, and it’s critical for website uptime. Slight issues with the DNS, such as a misspelled nameserver, can prevent a website from loading, even if the remaining infrastructure works perfectly.
If you’re having frequent DNS issues, you should look to upgrade your DNS hosting. Many domain registrars and web hosts include basic DNS hosting in their standard plan.
Upgrading to premium DNS hosting gives you advanced security features, faster servers, control over your DNS settings, and more. It will also afford extra protection against future downtime.
DDoS, or distributed denial of service, attacks happen when hackers flood a website or online service with huge traffic to make it unavailable. The increased traffic volume eats up the server bandwidth and resources, leading to overload.
However, you may not be the target. A single server can host multiple websites. When one website is targeted, the server crashes, and all the hosted sites experience downtime.
Thus, a simple solution is to use dedicated or cloud servers to avoid becoming an unwilling victim. Investing in quality hosting services and firewalls will likewise reduce risks to your business.
Not every web server crashes through malicious intent. A sudden influx of customers could cause website downtime if your web server doesn’t have the resources to handle it. Prevent this by running load tests regularly to check your server capability.
A content management system (CMS), such as Concrete CMS, makes building websites and publishing content simple. It gives you control and flexibility over your website and provides user-friendly interfaces.
CMSs use plugins, extensions, themes, third-party integrations, and other tools to provide extra features and functionalities. Unfortunately, newer versions of these integrations can cause compatibility issues.
For example, when you update a theme, the new version must be compatible with your CMS and server technologies. If it isn’t, a mundane change could cause severe unplanned downtime.
There are two ways to prevent this. Firstly, avoid nulled or old themes and plugins. Use reliable, recently updated third-party integrations with a CMS that can guarantee compatibility.
Secondly, back your website up regularly, especially before any upgrade. This can be done automatically through a backup tool. If your site does break, you’ll have a recent copy to hand to get you going again.
Lapses in maintenance can lead to significant problems and website downtime. You could miss pivotal issues that lead to unexpected outages if you leave your website infrastructure unchecked.
To prevent this, ensure all hardware and software are regularly maintained. Hardware needs to be cleaned and replaced when it becomes outdated. Software, like CMSs and plugins, needs to be frequently updated.
This is for more than functionality. New updates provide security, and clean hardware prevents sudden failures.
It may sound simple, but don’t put it off. Scheduling downtime to carry out maintenance can be frustrating if you need your website functioning 24/7, but it’s essential to prevent more costly problems. When you’re prioritizing tasks, put this at the top of your list.
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