When Does Most Website Downtime Occur?
To become competitive in the global market, it’s crucial for your business to have a strong online presence. One of the best ways to ensure this is to have a user-friendly business website that is accessible ’round the clock. And if your customers rely heavily on your website, you know that any amount of time your site is down could be rather costly.
Frankly, website downtime is inevitable. Even the big online giants like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, eBay, YouTube, Amazon and CNN have experienced website downtime at some point. However, the good news is that you can mitigate the risk and lower the length of time your site remains inactive if you are familiar with some of the likely causes of website downtime.
Let’s dig a little deeper to find out the common causes of site downtime:
§ Server Overload
Server overloads occur when a big wave of online traffic overwhelms a server. Now, there are two situations when this happens. First, it happens if your site is being hosted on a shared server. Resources on shared servers are limited and they have to be stretched to support high volumes of traffic and site-processing needs, which can cause server overload. As a result, your site may be inaccessible to users for hours.
Second, server overloads may also happen on major online shopping days, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or any other occasion for that matter, when you have significant discount deals and special sales running on your website. Such deals draw in heavy traffic, thus increasing the chances of server overload and site downtime.
§ Hardware Failures
Server and network failures can bring a website to a screeching halt in no time flat. This could be caused by things like hard drive failures, power supply failures, circuit board failures, or cabling failures. It can also be caused by more troubling failures like data center infrastructure failures or network peering failures.
§ Webmaster Errors
Your business may experience downtime because of errors caused by the site’s webmaster. For example, your site may not be accessible to your audience if your webmaster forgets to renew the site’s hosting contract or domain name.
§ Coding Errors
Some common coding errors are incorrect syntax, infinite loops and typos. All of these errors can exhaust the resources of the server and yield 500 (Internal Server) error codes, resulting in website downtime.
§ Cyber Attack
With the surge in cyber crime, you need to make sure that your website is well-protected from cybercriminals, hackers and viral infections. Cybercriminals know how to hijack websites and redirect your site visitors to other websites or expose them to malicious content.
All of this can result in lengthy website downtime, which can be detrimental to your business sales, profits and reputation. And that is definitely something that no business owner wants! One way to help prevent cyber attacks is to keep your IT team, and those directly responsible for the health of your website and server, in the know about the latest cyber threats.
§ Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS)
Also known as DDoS, Distributed Denial of Service Attacks can also bring your online business to a standstill. DDoS are planned attacks. In these instances, heavy traffic is deliberately directed from different sources to cause servers to overload and, in some cases, crash entirely.
§ Natural Disasters
Website downtime may also occur when your data center is hit by a natural disaster like floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, etc.
§ Planned Downtime or Server Maintenance
Lastly, if you have a dedicated server, you may need to go offline for server maintenance. This usually involves upgrading hardware components, drivers, operating systems, firmware, and even software applications. With these planned occurrences, you can alert customers ahead of time to the planned outage, which can help combat and minimize the effect it may have on your business.
Knowing the reasons for, and causes of, website downtime is crucial as it will help you devise and implement the right mix of strategies to overcome and avoid it.
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