Understanding Uptime and Downtime – Tips to Minimise Website Downtime

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Let’s take a scenario. Your offline business is booming. You decide to take it to the next level and bring it online. You invest a lot of capital paying fees for the developer to build your website and on other related plugins. You spend a lot of time researching on SEO to rank your website on top of the Google search engine. You do everything you can to speed you your page load speed. However, your website frequently malfunctions, and the user is unable to reach and interact with your website. The result would be disappointing, isn’t it? Not only would it result in a loss of money, but also it can damage the SEO and your reputation in the market. Thus, it is essential to keep your website functioning all the time, in other words, have a maximum uptime score, and avoid downtime at all cost. Although there are many factors which contribute towards frequent downtime for your website, the type of hosting your website is hosted on also matters. Hosting types like VPS Hosting or Cloud Hosting can guarantee reliability by providing maximum uptime score. 

What are uptime and downtime?

Uptime is the time for which your website is active or in a perfect working condition. It is antagonistic to downtime, which measures the time for which the site is not active. The availability of a website is measured through uptime. Higher the uptime value, the better is for your website and business. Downtime refers to unplanned inactiveness of the website. Planned downtime is sometimes essential during up-gradation of software and hardware or during maintenance. 

Common reasons for frequent downtime

  1. Type of hosting: Shared Hosting is the go-to option for new website owners on a budget. However, it comes with its own set of problems. As many users share the same resources, any problem that affects any of them can have an adverse effect on your website as well. Cloud Hosting has the reputation of providing the maximum uptime and performance score. 
  2. Traffic surge: A sudden surge in traffic, especially if your website is hosted on Shared Hosting with limited resources, may result in your website crashing. There is a limitation to the number of requests to your website that the server can handle. It is usually determined by the PHP workers. Anything exceeding that threshold may lead to downtime. 
  3. Cyberattack: Malware attacks or hacking attempts could also resulting in website downtime. A sudden surge in traffic could be a result of a DDoS attack, which could leave your website unavailable for hours. 
  4. Hardware and software malfunctioning: There could be a major problem at the data centre which could leave your website unreachable to the users. There could be software issues as well, such as incompatible themes or plugins running with a different version of WordPress. 
  5. Human error: Human beings are prone to make mistakes. Many surveys suggest that at least 40% of the server outage happens due to human error. Carelessness or accidents on the part of people handling the server can also result in frequent downtime. 

Tips to minimise website downtime:

  1. Understand the root cause: The solutions may be applicable only when you know the root cause of the problem. There could be many factors that may be contributing to your website downtime. Not only would it enable you to fix the problem promptly and restore your website on the internet but can also prevent future mishappenings.
  2. Use the right host and provider: Frequent downtime may be as a result of the hosting or the package you have subscribed to. Consider changing your hosting provider and switching to Cloud Hosting if you face downtime.
  3. Use CDN: Content Delivery Networks act as a buffer between the user’s browser and the server. It helps by providing static content to the user even if the website is down. It also acts as an added layer of security against bots and DDoS attacks.  
  4. Implement monitoring:    There are many free and paid plugins out there which can keep a vigil on your website for the downtime and can notify you instantly. The sooner you get aware of the problem, the faster you would be able to restore it back. Websites like Pingdom and Down Notifier also can provide valuable statistics and metrics which can help you develop an action plan.
  5. Increase security: Cyberattacks are on the rise each year. Malicious attempts by hackers to gain access to your website may result in downtime. Especially if your website has stored sensitive information such as credit card details, then your website may be vulnerable to such attacks. Implement best security practices and the required plugins and firewall to your website to keep your website guarded.
  6. Regular backup: All business website owners are advised to have a disaster backup and recovery plan in hand. Implementing regular backups can give you a copy of your website, which can help you restore at times of disaster. This also gives you a competitive edge to your business. The capability to restore in times of disaster compared to your competitors can give you that necessary advantage in the market.

Conclusion:

From a website owner’s perspective having a 100% uptime score would be an ideal scenario. However, some of the downtimes are inevitable. Cloud Hosting can give you the required technology, especially for dynamic websites like e-commerce. The above-mentioned tips can help you minimise downtime. However, it is important to have a downtime page as well. During planned downtime, it assures the user that your website would be back soon. It is also important to keep your page load speed optimised by avoiding unnecessary themes and plugins. Having a plan to tackle downtime is the best way to deal with this menace.

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