What Causes Website Downtime?

You’ve spent a lot of time designing your website; you have engaging content that converts visitors into customers and your client base continues to grow. However, there is an issue that should concern you – website downtime. Regardless of whether you’re an international conglomerate or a small business, at some point your website will go down. While you can’t ever achieve 100% uptime, you should be aware of the issues that can cause downtime and take steps to reduce the probability they will affect you.

Website hosting quality issues

Especially for small businesses, poorly performing website hosting companies are a major cause of website downtime. Virtually all hosting companies “guarantee” 99.99% uptime, but that’s small comfort if your site goes down every week. Your hosting company may reimburse you for the price you paid for the length of time your site was down, but they will not reimburse you for the revenue you lost.

Hosting companies offer various levels of hosting plans based on the size of your website and the amount of traffic it gets. If you are on a shared hosting plan and traffic to your website substantially increases, you may experience slow loading times or even sporadic downtime. Always be sure the type of hosting plan you have can handle your website’s traffic, and upgrade to a more robust plan as your business grows.

Monitoring your website’s performance is an important administrative task in running your business since it gives you an accurate picture of how much downtime you are experiencing. If it’s excessive, it may be time to switch to a new website hosting company.

Plugin quality issues

Plugins can provide increased functionality to your website, such as a calendar of events, a contact form or access to various social networks. However, you need to check to make sure these plugins are up to date and remain compatible with your website, or they could cause it to crash. If a plugin’s author no longer actively maintains it, consider removing it from your website before it causes problems.

Lapsed domain registration

Domain registration and website hosting are separate issues. If your domain registration expires, your website will no longer be visible on the internet. It is your responsibility to keep your domain registration active, not your website hosting company and unfortunately businesses sometimes inadvertently fail to renew them. Never let this happen to you!

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks

Unfortunately, DDoS attacks are becoming more common and your firm doesn’t have to be the target of an attack to feel its effects. The recent DDoS attack on Dyn affected many large firms with an international presence, including Twitter, PayPal and Spotify. If you’re on a shared hosting plan, you may be more at risk, depending on how well your hosting company segregates you from other companies that are the target of the attack.

Having a dedicated server can help mitigate the risk of a DDoS attack since you only will need to take measures to protect yourself. However, having a dedicated server can be prohibitively expensive for many small companies.

Be proactive

Downtime is costly, so keep the above issues in mind as you plan to keep it to a minimum. StatusCake can help by monitoring your site and informing you promptly if it does go down, allowing you to take prompt corrective action.

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