What To Do About Web Host Downtime

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While there are many reasons why a website can go offline, one of the most difficult to deal with is downtime from your web hosting company. This is a big problem because you don’t have direct control over the issues, and you’re relying on the hosting company to take care of its problems.

Key takeaways:

  • How to fix your website’s downtime
  • What downtime is
  • What causes downtime
  • What to do if downtime keeps occurring

How Do You Fix Downtime on Your Website?

If you have issues with your website regularly, there are some solutions. The following seven tips can help to get you started toward fixing any downtime issues you have:

  • Work with technical support: Anytime you’re experiencing downtime for your website, the first thing to do is reach out to the hosting company’s technical support team. They often can get you up and running fast and let you know what caused the problem.
  • Avoid making changes to your site: One of the most frequent causes of an outage with a website is a modification to the site itself. If you’re struggling with downtime, focus on finding the cause of the problem to keep things stable before making any significant changes.
  • Run uptime tests to gather information: To learn when your site goes down, run continuous uptime tests. This lets you react quickly to bring it back up, but also helps you get important information that could be used to prevent outages in the future.
  • Migrate to a virtual private net (VPS) or cloud solution: Moving your site to a VPS or cloud hosting system helps provide improved stability, which could eliminate your problems. VPS and cloud solutions have significant advantages over shared hosting.
  • Upgrade to a more robust hosting account: Make sure that your hosting account is sufficient for the amount of traffic you’re getting. If your outages are caused by your hosting server getting overloaded, you may need to upgrade to something more powerful.
  • Keep your systems up to date: Ensure you’re keeping all your software systems current. This includes your content management systems (CMS), databases, and anything else you use.
  • Find a new hosting company: If you’re still experiencing outages regularly, it may be time to migrate to a new hosting company. This takes some planning and effort, but finding a great hosting company to keep your site operational is well worth the effort.

What Does Web Host Downtime Mean?

This is generally some type of unscheduled outage that you aren’t prepared for, which is why it can be such a big problem if it happens frequently. Web hosting companies work hard to provide the most stable environment possible for your websites. There is always the possibility, however, that a problem occurs that causes your site to go offline.

If the problem is with something your hosting company is responsible for, it’s considered web host downtime. Understanding the various types of downtime that can impact your site helps you better understand the root cause of your site’s issues. If the problems are with your hosting company, find out what solutions the host can offer to fix the root of the problem.

What Causes Website Downtime?

In general, two main things can cause downtime for a website: problems with your web hosting or your website platform. Within each of the following categories, there may be dozens of different smaller causes that may be the actual root of the issue.

Anytime that you’re experiencing downtime with your website, make sure you understand what’s causing the outage.

How do you know if there are problems with your web hosting?

Almost all websites are housed by a web hosting company. This company is responsible for making sure the hardware that runs the website is up and running properly and accessible. If there’s a problem with your web hosting company, it likely impacts not just your website but many others that it’s hosting. Some issues that a web hosting company could have that may cause your site to go down:

  • Server issues: These could be issues with a hard drive, memory, central processing unit (CPU), or any number of things. Ideally, a hosting company has backup options to minimize or eliminate this downtime.
  • Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks: If a site housed by your hosting company is experiencing a DDoS attack, it could cause the sites they run to go offline. The best web hosting companies have a variety of DDoS prevention and mitigation systems in place to avoid this type of problem.
  • Data circuit problems: All hosting companies need one or more large data circuits that allow internet traffic to come into their facility to access your site. If that data circuit has issues, it could cause your site to appear offline. Top-tier hosting companies have multiple data circuits from many telephone companies to minimize the risk of an actual outage.
  • Issues at the data center: Problems at the data center where your website is housed can also cause an outage. If the facility loses power, for example, your site will go offline unless they have backup generators or other options for getting the electricity they need.

Most web hosting companies offer some guarantee regarding how much uptime they have. A common uptime guarantee is 99.9%. If the company isn’t meeting that guarantee, you can often ask for a refund of your costs to compensate for the downtime. But even with the refund, make sure the outages aren’t a regular thing. If your web hosting company cannot keep your site running smoothly, consider migrating to a new company that won’t have similar problems.

How do you know if your website platform has problems?

While it can be tempting to always blame the hosting company for an outage, that isn’t always appropriate. Many website outages are caused by either the site owner or the developer of the platform software. For example, if you run your website on the WordPress CMS, you could cause an outage by installing a plug-in that wasn’t properly tested.

It’s important to always test your website before making any changes to the production system to avoid accidental outages that could impact your end users.

What Do You Do if Downtime Continues?

If you have done your due diligence to address any potential issues with your site, but you’re still experiencing consistent downtime, you probably need a new hosting company. If you run a website for your business, you need to make sure it’s available as much as possible. Whether you drive direct sales on your website or just use it to provide potential customers with information about your business, having an offline site can be devastating.

When someone tries to visit your site and cannot access it, they may think you’re no longer in business, which means a direct loss of sales. There are hundreds of hosting companies to consider, so find out which one is best for you so you can get your site up and running smoothly as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions About Web Host Downtime

How do I know if I’m experiencing downtime?

To find out if you are having downtime, run continuous uptime tests. You will be able to quickly bring your site back up.

How do I find out how long web host downtime has been impacting my website?

Free tools such as Is It Down Right Now? can help monitor your website’s downtime.

How do I find out what is causing my web host downtime?

Downtime is normally caused by issues with your web hosting or platform.

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