Downtime Is Your Enemy: Preventing Website Unavailability

It’s the situation no one wants to experience. Whether it’s a server going down, power being affected due to a massive storm, or a virus of some kind, a website being forced offline is never a desirable experience. It will not only affect your company’s business and block important communications from being received, but downtime can also hurt a site’s reputation and give consumers the impression it’s not dependable. Without a recovery strategy in place, it may be hours or even days before your site is up and running again.

Despite the constant threat of unplanned downtime, the following guidelines can help with offline prevention and reduce the length of time problems occur. These essential steps can also be adopted as part of your company’s standard IT practices.

Schedule backups

Ensuring that you’ll be able to back up your server data is an inexpensive and helpful way to minimize the amount of time your site is down due to an unforeseen problem. Backups should be part of normal operations and should include both your website and database. When a server malfunctions or is stressed to its capacity, you can transition to the backup with a minimum of impact on users.

Utilize monitoring tools

Monitoring services are another inexpensive way to help locate problems before they spiral into a full-on server crash. These tools can automatically check your servers every few minutes on a 24/7 basis and alert you via text or email if anything goes down.

Renew your domain name registration

You can think of this as similar to not paying your rent and then finding yourself locked out of your apartment. Not renewing your site’s domain name registration from your hosting service is a common problem and is often the reason why a site isn’t accessible. If a renewal hasn’t occurred, your site will immediately be unavailable, and your hosting service may not remind you when an update is due, so making sure you schedule one will eliminate this problem. Hosts may provide an auto-renew function, so check to see if that service is available.

Use Google Webmaster Tools

Spotting problems before they happen is the ideal way to prevent the worst from happening. This free tool from Google will inform you of any visibility problems with your site as the tool crawls it. It’s another effective means of spotting errors before accessibility issues occur.

Keep your eggs in more than one basket

The idea here is that your site and database should be hosted by different sources, so that if your database goes down, most of your site will remain functional. Although certain pages may be affected, your main page can remain functioning, and traffic can at least be able to access those pages.

Occasionally, times will occur when you’ll plan to take your site offline for some needed updates, and in those instances you can plan to keep your downtime to a controlled minimum. Even the biggest companies have outage problems for one reason or another, yet when an unforeseen event unexpectedly causes your site to go dark, the guidelines here will help your site get up and running again quickly. Downtime is an inevitable problem that will eventually cross your path, and the best way of being able to tackle this challenge is having a strategy in place to minimize the impact downtime has on your business.