With such high competition, being able to interact with your customers through sites is critical. But it takes more than great content to make them work. They must be available 24/7 from anywhere.
Therefore, it is very important to keep your site up and running without regular downtime. And as anyone in charge of a site knows, it can be more than just a frustration.
Downtime can be a source of customer dissatisfaction, damage your company’s reputation and, ultimately, lost profits. That’s why it’s vital to know what the main causes of inaccessibility are and what you can do to avoid it at all costs.
What is downtime and how it counts
In simple terms, site downtime is, obviously, the time when the site is unreachable from the external network. Therefore, downtime is basically part of the uptime percentage ratio, if you’re thinking about it in raw numbers.
Although it’s not recommended to experiment like this, you will get the idea if you try to ping website 24\7 on host-tracker and then check the server uptime as soon as the notification system tells you that the server is down. You’ll see that it literally lowers the site’s uptime percentage. But the truth is that it’s not as simple as it seems to be.
Usually, downtime includes every single issue that makes the site inaccessible. Even if it’s a problem with the page code and the site is technically accessible – it still counts as downtime. At least for search engines and advertising platforms like Google Search and Google Ads.
Typically, you can form a couple of groups around the most common and similar reasons for site outages. Those are server maintenance, web hosting problems, server hardware and software problems. Less common, but still among the top, are various hacking attempts and DDoS attacks
All those issues will surely be sore in the users’ eyes, even if there are problems that are not really affecting the related services. Because no one wants to visit the site with its content inaccessible, functionality unavailable or usability broken because of various reasons.
Therefore, it’s highly important to find and fix anything that could affect the accessibility of the site as soon as possible. Because downtime will count up until the site is up and running. And it will make uptime, the most critical metric, lower and lower.
High downtime consequences
To put it simply, the site’s position in advertising services and search engine queues highly depends on the uptime, and therefore rising downtime will affect those rankings in a very bad way. The longer the downtime will be the lower the site’s position might become.
Obviously enough, this will lead to fewer conversions and an overall audience growth decrease. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Because downtime in itself will also lead to existing users’ outflow as well. As was said before, no one wants to visit a broken or not working site, let alone a completely inaccessible one.
Way to quickly fix problems and prevent high downtime
If you want to keep various site issues under control, fix them as soon as possible and even prevent them before something happens, site monitoring is a must. Actually, it’s a must for every site anyway, because without it the site’s owner can forget about competing with other sites in the niche.
Struggling through the competition, let alone winning, will be impossible. Without the properly set up site monitoring routine, preferably an automated one, it will be an unrealistic thought to keep downtime periods at their bare required minimum.
Of course, you can run an easy and quick uptime check on host tracker from time to time, but it will be useless in the long run by any means. Therefore, all that was said above is a very solid reason to try and subscribe to one of the best site monitoring toolkits to use for your site’s and your own good.
For instance, you can get a HostTracker subscription and try how it works for your site and its monitoring. And its whole-month trial period is free at that. Considering its vast set of tools and its access network with more than 140 access points, it will definitely be a handy assistant in preventing the site’s downtime increase.
This monitoring platform will provide you with a huge set of tools varying from basic accessibility checks and speed tests and up to data integrity verifications, content validity checks and so on. There is a very useful and convenient domain name tracker tool on hosttracker that constantly verifies domain name validity and notifies if its expiration date is nearing.
HostTracker instant notifications are another matter that’s worth noticing. Because it really keeps the site’s webmasters and its owner in touch with every single occurring situation that was deemed dangerous.
Actually, this is very convenient to be notified in case of emergencies. Moreover, on top of being able to send instant alerts via almost every modern messenger, this HostTracker notification system can send an SMS to its user or even make a call if everything else fails.
This way, by utilizing a well-made automated monitoring toolkit, you will surely be able to quickly react to any threat to the site’s stability and accessibility. Or even prevent some troubles with the help of the logging system, for example, to trace some issues in the long run.
Common site downtime reasons
Technically, as it was said earlier, all the topmost reasons for site downtime can be grouped into a couple of categories, united by a common source of the problem. Although they vary in details and technical nuances, they are still similar to each other inside their respective groups. And basic solutions for those categories are, in general, all the same with minor differences.
Server maintenance and updates
The thing is that when the server is down for maintenance or there’s an update installed, it counts. Although justified, planned and inevitable, it is a literal downtime, because the site won’t be accessible to its audience as well as to advertising and search engines. It makes those two procedures the real reason behind the impossibility of 100% uptime.
There’s no really solid solution to this issue except thorough preparation for those procedures. It means that you need to prepare a backup server that will work instead of the main one during the update. Otherwise, you and the site’s audience will need to bear with downtime periods during server updates or maintenance.
Web hosting problems and issues
Hosting services, no matter how reliable, still are physical entities that need a power source and can be harmed by disasters. Moreover, hosting servers usually host a lot of various web projects, therefore even reliable hosting can be put in harm’s way by an unreliable client. Therefore, there are a whole lot of ways for hosting services to cause downtime for your site.
There are no ways to fix those issues once and for all except migrating your site. The safest option is to move everything to the expensive, but usually, fail-safe protected cloud hosting. It will make your site almost immune to natural disasters, unreliable server neighbors and power outages. But there will be some other issues, specific to cloud servers.
Server hardware issues
Those problems might seem similar to hosting issues, but they’re actually different. For example, this category includes situations where the hosting server’s CPU went out of commission for who knows what reason. Of course, no matter how you look at it, this situation is related to the hosting.
But, while all the causes for problems that were mentioned before are related to external reasons, those are tightly related to internal hardware issues. Usually, the server goes down pretty quickly in such situations, and to resolve them you need to monitor the server hardware with HostTracker tools, for example, and fix the malfunctioning part or at least notify the hosting service about those problems.
Server software problems
Yet again, those issues seem kind of similar to hosting-related ones, yet those are strictly about malfunctioning software. And those software failures even can be the logical conclusion of the server software update. This usually happens when something goes awry and instead of a fully updated rebooted server, you get yourself a headache and the need to load the server backup. If you have one, of course.
And there are a whole lot of such problems in this category, with various causes and various solutions. But usually, you need to find and fix the broken code, wrong configuration or missing file to deal with most of the issues.
Although it might not be the case for some major problems like the aforementioned update failure or complete server-side software malfunction. For example, when Apache just stopped working and responding properly, it will be a whole lot of trouble to fix everything without reinstalling the server anew.
Malware, DDoS and hacking attempts
Probably those reasons for site downtime are literally the last ones every webmaster would think of before really facing them head-on without any security measures at hand and with no monitoring routines set up to catch the hackers. Meanwhile, it’s a must for a webmaster to set up a solid defense against hacking and DDoS just in case, even if there’s a site with a small audience. And the one and only way to deal with DDoS, malware, hacking and so on, is, obviously, to set up solid web security. Install the server antivirus software, configure constant ports and hardware stability monitoring using the HostTracker service, setup a backup server to switch to in case of emergency. And more, depending on the complexity of the issue and your site.