If you’ve ever run a website, then you know exactly how terrifying it can be when a server goes down. You feel your stomach drop as you watch that dreaded “500 error” message appear on your screen. Your phone begins to ping and buzz as frantic emails from users flood in, each with an increasingly higher sense of urgency. While there are many different causes of website downtime, the results are usually the same – lost revenue, lost customers, lost time, and lost trust. In this guest post Bridget Juelich talks about the most common reasons for website downtime.
What is Website Downtime?
Website downtime is damaging to any business because it robs the company of its most important asset – time. Without a website to attract and engage with customers, those customers will go elsewhere. And when they don’t come back, that represents lost revenue and lost opportunity—two things that no business can afford in today’s competitive landscape. So if you want to keep your site up and running at all times, you need to have a fail-safe plan in place to prevent downtime before it happens. In this article, we will look at the most common reasons why businesses experience website downtime. For expert guidance on optimum website performance, please refer to Cybersecurity Services New Orleans.
Most Common Reasons for Business Website Downtime
Human Error and Coding Error
Surprisingly, the majority of website downtimes are actually caused by human error. Developers make mistakes and don’t test their code properly, and sometimes they’re just not familiar with the CMS they’re using.
There are many ways to prevent human error from causing downtime:
- Check your code before publishing or updating any new features
- Get an objective third-party to review every change before publishing or updating any new features (it’s not necessary for this person to be a developer).
Hardware failure or issues can have a dramatic impact on the availability of your website. The causes vary, but hardware failures generally happen due to a combination of factors including:
- Faulty equipment: A server with a faulty memory, a hard drive that’s failed or is failing, or other hardware issues may cause your website to be inaccessible.
- Power outage: If you have an on-premise server and it loses power due to an outage (or because someone accidentally pulled the plug), then you’ll lose access to any sites that rely on that server until power is restored. To prevent this type of downtime from happening again, consider using UPSs (uninterruptible power supplies) for all critical equipment like servers and switches so that even if there’s an unexpected blackout you won’t lose data.
- Lightning strike: If lightning strikes near your systems—whether it’s on premise or in another location—it could fry its circuits and take down everything connected at once! To combat this threat during storms or periods when storms are likely (like summer months), make sure everything is properly grounded with adequate surge protection devices; these devices absorb excess voltage before they can damage sensitive electronics like computers and routers.
Poor Website Hosting Provider
Having access to a reliable website hosting provider is critical in avoiding downtime with your website. Many small businesses fall for the trap of opting for cheap hosting packages only to end up with a highly frustrating service experience. You should look for a provider that offers 24/7 support and guarantees 99.9% uptime. The best online hosting services provide 99.9% network uptime on top of the 99.9% website uptime guarantee, which means that your website will be up and running 99.999% of the time.
DNS (Domain Name System) is a critical part of the internet. DNS is a database that translates domain names (like google.com) into IP addresses (like 188.8.131.52). When you type in google.com in your browser, your computer asks the DNS server for the IP address of that domain name and uses it to connect to Google’s servers on their website.
DNS issues can cause downtime if they’re not properly maintained or updated with your ISP’s records regularly, causing them to direct users elsewhere when trying to reach your site. This can be caused by several factors including bad propagation (users get directed to an old DNS record), incorrect routing settings, or an attack against the service like DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service), which sends fake traffic towards an endpoint with malicious intent.
As mentioned, DDoS attacks are the most common cause of website downtime, but they’re also preventable. DDoS attacks are launched when a hacker or malware program causes a large number of computers to send requests to a site at once. This overloads the server and causes it to crash or otherwise become inaccessible for some period of time.
DDoS attacks can be aimed at any individual website from anywhere in the world (or multiple websites). Hackers often target specific sectors like e-commerce websites, banks or financial institutions during high-traffic seasons such as Christmas or Black Friday shopping season or even leverage periods of social or political unrest to launch attacks. If your business has suffered attacks before and you are trying to prevent future attacks, consider getting in touch with IT Support Lafayette.
CMS issues are also a common reason behind website downtime. It’s important for website owners to have a firm grasp on how CMS works and what the potential issues can be.
Issues can crop up due to:
- Installation issues: If you haven’t installed your CMS correctly, or if you haven’t updated it in a while, there can be issues with functionality or compatibility with other programs running on your site.
- Improper Maintenance: Even if the CMS is installed and configured properly, lack of regular site maintenance by an expert can lead to issues with maintaining optimal performance. This could even lead to a frustrating series of errors or crashes for users.
- Misconfigurations: When configuring your website through its dashboard (or using other tools), make sure that everything is being installed as directed by professionals who understand how the system should work in order to avoid problems down the road. Misconfigurations can lead to serious frustration down the road.
Mismanaged Websites or Lack of Maintenance
If you don’t have a website maintenance plan in place, it can be easy to overlook the many ways in which a mismanaged site can affect your business.
Extensive lack of web maintenance can lead to downtime and other problems such as:
- Security Issues: If your site isn’t regularly updated, outdated software could leave it vulnerable to security breaches. An unprotected website is an open invitation for hackers who want to steal your customer data.
- Poor User Experience (UX): If your site is out of date or slow to load, it can impact your user experience (UX) negatively. Visitors can get quickly frustrated trying to navigate through pages that load too slowly or don’t display properly on all devices. IT Consulting New Orleans can help update and secure your website as well as ensure seamless performance across all platforms and devices.
Bridget Juelich is a sales & marketing manager at CommTech based in Metairie, Louisiana. CommTech offers best-in-class IT Consulting New Orleans & Gulf State’s businesses for three decades. Bridget holds Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication/Public Relations from Loyola University New Orleans. Connect via LinkedIn.