Has Your Website Gone Down? Here’s What You Should Do

Website Down? Don’t Panic!

Easier said than done right? Especially if you have a thriving eCommerce business that can’t afford to be down for more than a moment.

Unfortunately it happens and it’s unavoidable, websites go down.

This can happen for a variety of reasons and in this post I’ll detail the steps I take personally when one of my own sites isn’t loading.

Keep It Simple and Check There First

I know I’m not the only one…you’re working on your site only to load a page and see a browser connection error. Your first thought is “here we go again, time to contact my web host!” only to realize a moment later that you’ve simply lost your Internet connection.

Hey, it happens. But what if it’s not just a simple mistake? What if you have a blazing fast connection with nothing wrong?

Verify It’s Not Just You

Next step, reach out to your community. Holler to the person down the hall, Skype a friend, message someone on Facebook, etc. and have them check your site.

If you’re working odd hours or just don’t have any friends, you can always head on over to Down for Everyone or Just Me? to check any url.

Hopefully you’ll find that your site is alive and kicking, and that the issue is something related to your own connection or machine.

But what if it’s definitely down?

Contact Your Host or Maintenance Service

This can be a simple and pleasurable customer experience, or it can be one that includes dread and frustration. It all depends on the service you utilize and the company you’ve chosen to align with as a partner in your website business.

I’ve seen both sides of this situation as I assume you probably have too, but let’s focus on the positive side shall we?

Submit a support ticket, and be as detailed as you can with what you’re seeing and any troubleshooting steps you’ve taken so far. Better, yet, if a host provides Live Chat or phone support, I always go there first (if I know I’ll have the time commitment to wait) because I feel that having a single individual invested in your issue seems to get a more dedicated response.

Whether you’re waiting on hold or for a support agent to respond via chat, there are some things you can do while waiting for the issue to be resolved.

What To Do While Waiting

Some hosts provide service status updates in the form of blogs or dedicated Twitter accounts to keep their customers updated. I always check those not only to see if the host is communicating a larger issue, but also to see if other customers are reporting problems as well.

Oddly, there’s a bit of comfort in numbers, even in a stressful “site down” situation.

Another way I like to pass the time is to get a view of what’s happening more globally. Akamai provides a site where you can see current Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and other attacks happening in real time.

In fact, just yesterday one of my own sites was going down intermittently and as I was working through the issue via Live Chat with my host when they indicated that their datacenter provider was reporting a large DDoS attack. I checked the Akamai Real Time Web Monitor, and saw this:

Real-time_Web_Monitor

Wow. The U.S. was getting hit hard!

What To Do Next

Whatever the issue turns out to have been, hopefully your site gets back online without much of a delay.

In order to help mitigate any future issues and downtime, there are some things to consider after experiencing down time with your website and your business.

  • Changing your Host: You may have started your site with a low cost general services hosting plan, but now you’ve outgrown it’s abilities. Perhaps it’s time to consider partnering with a host dedicated to speed and security. We recommend a few.
  • Reporting Services: You might also consider signing up with a service like Pingdom to get real time notifications of down time. At the very least, this can be a good way to judge the ongoing performance of your current host.
  • Maintenance Plans: This is something to consider when you want to focus on your business rather than the day-to-day monitoring (and fixing) of any website down time issues you might be having.

As luck would have it (you know I can’t resist), we offer several website maintenance plans that allow business owners to focus on their core business, products, and marketing efforts and not get bogged down in the technicalities of keeping their site online at all times.

You can view our available plans here.

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