Technology

Published on January 24th, 2014 | by EditorOne

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Outages Are Not Generally Enjoyable

Whilst personal downtime on your sofa with a mug of hot tea or even a glass of red wine sounds truly soothing, when your website experiences downtime, it is downright exasperating.

A website will take a hit to its reputation if it has gone down for a number of hours or even days. There is the potential for lost revenue, lost visitors and even lost loyal followers and customers, who stumble upon disappointment as they eagerly click through yet land upon a site of nothingness.

Possible Preventions

Check Your Domain Name Registration

However simple this may seem, you’d be surprised at how easily this can go overlooked.  Make sure you’ve renewed your domain name registration and if possible, set your site to ‘auto renew’ or acquire the site name for the next decade or so for ownership certainty. If all else fails, stick with a traditional approach and make a note of when your domain expires on your calendar, in your diary or anywhere else where it can act as a reminder. Set digital reminders on your phone or PC using the calendar function to ensure you don’t miss your time to renew.

Health Check

There are a number of ‘health check’ services available which provide elaborate investigations into the front end performance of your website. With advanced monitoring tools at their disposal, the companies that perform such checks can identify performance issues with your website and advise you how to address and optimise them. They’ll check numerous options and can get everything done much quicker than if you attempted to diagnose any problems yourself.

Click here for more information on web performance testing.

Load Testing

Load testing means sourcing a company or purchasing the tools to regularly test whether your website can handle the amount of traffic it is attracting. Too many visitors can often mean a slow or completely down site. Load testing provides assurance for new and developing websites that they can handle the attention. If your website is found to be falling short then those performing the test will usually advise you on what you need to do to counteract this.

When Downtime Occurs

Monitoring Services

There are website monitoring services available that can check your website at regular intervals and notify you through SMS or email if it goes down. As you cannot monitor your website on a 24 hour basis, these alerts can be crucial in knowing that your website has crashed, enabling you to address and amend the issue as soon as possible.

Make sure that you’re set up to receive the alerts in a way that will be noticeable to you. This means ensuring that they are clearly visible on your phone and do not have sounds muted or lowered to prevent you hearing the alarm. You may also want to consider introducing an auto-response which is displayed whenever you receive this alert.

This could be a temporary webpage which is only visible when your actual site is down and would explain the situation to any visitors and assure them that the problem is being rectified.

Notify users Appropriately

If you have social media accounts related to your website, engage with your users via these mediums to let them know what’s going on.  It’s best to also tell them when you plan to have it up and running so that they have a time frame to work from.

Be sure to also research and use the correct downtime error codes so that users are not put off by a ‘HTTP result code 404’ (Not Found) as opposed to a ‘503 HTTP result code’ (Service Unavailable).


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