Website Maintenance – The Right Way

However well our websites are coded, and however good the infrastructure they’re hosted on, there will always be times when you need to carry out work – maintenance – on your website.

And maintenance is no bad thing.  By carrying out maintenance at regular intervals over short periods of time you’d hope that this helps ensure that major, unexpected issues don’t rear their ugly heads.  Maintenance on your terms and at a time of your choosing is absolutely preferable to your website doing down and you having to carry out unplanned maintenance – sometimes at the most inconvenient and busiest time of the day on your website.

Planned maintenance then is time you set aside, and by its very definition, have planned in advance to makes changes to your website or server.  During these short periods of maintenance you may need to make certain parts of your website inaccessible, but you should always try if you can avoid it, to make your entire unavailable to your website visitors and customers.

In the case of planned website maintenance you should, where possible, let people know in advance that it’s going to be happening; particularly if popular features or aspects of the website that people rely on are going to be inaccessible.

When informing customers of the planned maintenance tell them the extent of the disruption, the time from which your website will be down, and just as importantly when you expect it to come back-up.  And make sure you’re realistic with your time estimates – have you really given yourself enough time to get your maintenance done before your customers come flocking back expecting a full website service to have resumed?

As well as telling your “human” visitors you also need to make sure that the search engine crawlers know that your site being down is just temporary. You can do this by utilising an HTTP status code “503 Service Unavailable.” This status informs the search engines that the downtime is only temporary and that they should come back later.

And don’t forget that within you can set maintenance windows. If you have a regular time each day that you carry out planned maintenance then simply input the details into the settings for your website.  During this planned maintenance window our systems will not check on your website – meaning that you don’t get downtime alerts when you’re in maintenance mode!

If you need help in setting up maintenance windows within your StatusCake account then please don’t hesitate to contact one of the StatusCake team by email or Live-Chat.

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