Error 404: What to do if your website goes down

May 24, 2016 - Tags: E-business Managing

Website outages cannot only be very costly for businesses, but also very frustrating for clients. Having a plan in place in the event that your website becomes unavailable, may save you time and money, and provide you with the opportunity to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

Possible causes of website outage:

  • Server overload
  • Scheduled maintenance
  • Operator error (coding mistake, failure to renew domain name)
  • Power outage or faulty hardware)
  • Hacker attacks
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks
    • these occur when a website is deliberately targeted by a large amount of traffic and this in turn causes a server overload

Potential consequences of website outage:

Here are some steps you can take to ensure you are prepared and your business is protected in the event that your website goes down:

  • Create a playbook:
    • Develop a playbook so you know what to do if your website becomes unavailable. Your playbook should include:
      • A list of individuals to call in case of an outage
      • All current ID s and passwords
      • Communications messaging used to notify customers in case of website outage
  • Consider purchasing a monitoring service:
    • This service will notify you through email or text message if your website goes down
  • Invest in a back-up website as an alternative to being completely offline
    • Consider investing in a secondary website at another hosting company, which can be used as emergency back-up if your primary site goes down

What to do if your website goes down

  • Confirm that your website is down:
    • Use a different internet connection to ensure that your website is unavailable and it's not a connectivity issue.
  • Contact your host company:
    • Find out if they can provide any information regarding the outage
  • Communicate with your customers:
    • Use prepared messaging to notify customers of the website outage and re-direct customers to your back-up website
    • Turn off advertisements that direct traffic to your website
    • Social media can also be used as back-up in the event of an outage

A website outage can be costly; however taking the time to prepare in advance may help you deal with the situation in the most effective way possible.

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