As a website owner, you probably know how big of a problem downtime presents. Not only is it frustrating for your visitors, but it can also lead to a loss in traffic and revenue and potentially harm your search engine rankings. Website downtime statistics suggest that, on average, businesses lose $300 per hour during downtime periods. Combining this with the damage your brand reputation might suffer due to website unavailability, it is safe to conclude that no company can afford extensive downtime periods. The good news is that you can take some simple steps to prevent website downtime. In this article, experts from our web development company in Chicago will show you six ways to keep your site up and running smoothly, even during high-traffic periods. You’ll also learn how to check website downtime, find a reliable hosting provider, minimize web security risk, and more. So let’s get started…
Table of Contents
- What is website downtime, and how does it affect your SEO performance?
- How to check website downtime?
- 5 ways to prevent website downtime and get your traffic back
What is website downtime, and how does it affect your SEO performance?
Website downtime is the time during which a website or some of its important functions is unavailable to internet users. That can be an annoying experience for your potential customers, especially if they are trying to access the site for an important reason. But to successfully prevent website downtime, you first need to learn more about several common reasons why it occurs:
Technical errors made by humans
Human errors can cause website downtime in various ways. Whether it’s your hosting provider’ employee unintentionally disconnecting a cord while working with a server or your web development team making a coding mistake – don’t be surprised to find out that human error triggered a website downtime alert.
Choosing bad hosting providers
To reduce downtime, it is crucial to find a reliable hosting provider based on your unique needs. If you find a hosting company that doesn’t have enough server capacity to handle the traffic to your website, you will probably have to face website crashing and slow site speeds at one point or another. And if your hosting provider doesn’t have adequate security measures, hackers may find a way to attack your website and take it offline successfully. Also, if you have enough resources, we advise you against choosing shared web hosting solutions, as your downtime can sometimes be affected by the traffic on neighbor websites this way.
Cyber attacks can take many forms, but one of the most common ways they can cause a downtime message for websites is through a denial of service (DoS) attack. In a DoS attack, the attacker tries to overload the server with requests so it can no longer handle legitimate traffic. That can cause the site to become slow or unresponsive and eventually go offline entirely. As cyberattacks can be difficult to defend against, it’s essential to have adequate measures, such as a web application firewall WAF, in place. That will allow you to minimize web security risks.
Problems with Content Management Systems
If your CMS is not configured correctly in the first place, it can cause the website to become unresponsive or even crash. It is crucial to regularly update your CMS to ensure it stays compatible with your website. However, website owners need to be cautious when installing new plugins or themes and check if these go hand in hand with their content management systems’ versions beforehand.
Even though there are several ways in which you can update website without downtime, there might be situations when you won’t be able to find other solutions but make it temporarily unavailable for internet users. In such cases, make sure to notify your visitors on time and prepare a unique downtime page on your website. Once your website goes offline, utilize social media to fill the gaps and show people you’re in control of the situation.
The importance of having a website that is always available to customers cannot be overemphasized. Your website is often the first interaction potential customers have with your business; therefore, investing resources in website downtime monitoring is crucial if you want to maintain your brand’s reputation and gain sales opportunities. But should the cost of website downtime be measured only by the money lost on potential purchases customers would make during a given timespan? According to the professionals from our SEO company in Chicago, the damage goes much further than that – as downtime of websites can affect search engine rankings. Here is why some website owners notice drops in their search engine optimization performance after long downtime periods:
Google may de-index your site if it is down for an extended period
During website downtime, neither internet users nor crawlers can access your content. While short downtime periods probably won’t affect your search engine rankings, the longer your website stays unavailable ,the bigger the chances that the most popular search engine won’t look positively on your site anymore. Unless your web development team quickly manages to solve issues, crawlers will begin to visit your pages less frequently.
Website downtime leads to poor user experience
Although Google’s algorithms consider many factors when ranking websites on the SERPs, this company doesn’t hide that its goal is to provide internet users with the best possible search experience. If your website is constantly offline when crawlers visit, it will be ranked lower in search results. That happens because poor website downtime history signals to Google that your website doesn’t provide an optimal user experience.
To reduce the impact website downtime has on your search engine rankings, it is crucial to set up proper server redirect codes. By providing crawlers with a 503 HTTP result code instead of a 404 error – you’ll notify them that your website is just temporarily down and everything is under control.
How to check website downtime?
By monitoring website downtime, you can be alerted to problems as they happen and take steps to fix them before they cause too much damage. If you are wondering how to check website downtime history, there are two possible approaches. Make sure to choose the one that suits your budget. The first option is to utilize performance management platforms, downtime website monitors, or WordPress plugins on your own. The second option is to hire professional uptime monitoring services to perform website downtime checks for you regularly.
The best tools you can use to monitor website downtime
Here is a list of some of the best tools you can use to monitor website downtime. Keep in mind that this list contains both premium and free website downtime monitors.
- Pingdom – Besides offering website downtime monitoring, this tool measures other key metrics for you. It can send you website downtime alerts in various ways, including SMS, email, and mobile app notifications. By immediately letting you know when something goes wrong with your website, Pingdom will help you minimize the damage downtime can cause.
- UptimeRobot – Website downtime checker, which allows you to customize check intervals and the number of monitors depending on your needs. This uptime monitoring service provider also offers a Free plan, which is limited to 5-minute check intervals and lacks website downtime alert features included in Pro and Enterprise plans.
- Jetpack – A WordPress plugin that offers various security and performance-boosting features for your website. The free version of the Jetpack plugin includes a downtime website checker tool, which is great news if you’re on a tight budget.
- BlogVault – A primary function of this plugin is to make website backups; however, it works perfectly for website downtime tracking as well.
The choice is entirely up to you – just make sure to understand Google analytics fundamentals for website tracking in order to get a chance to strengthen your online presence. While keeping your website uptime high is essential, it won’t make your website successful on its own. That’s why it is a good idea to find tools that will allow you to track other key metrics as well.
But how to check the downtime of a website in real-time by using the tools above?
Also, keep in mind that sometimes website owners get a false impression that their content is unavailable to internet users. If you can’t access your website, it is important first to confirm that this is not happening due to problems with your internet connection or browser. Try using another device or ask someone else to do it for you. If the outcome stays the same, proceed to use a downtime tracker website tool of your choice to confirm that your website went offline.
But how to check the downtime of a website in real-time by using the tools above? The process is usually straightforward. If you haven’t already set up your account, most of the uptime monitoring service providers allow you to check your website status by simply inserting the URL address in the required fields. However, it is always a better option to set up website downtime tracking before the problem occurs. This way, you’ll get notified about website performance issues on time via email, SMS, or push notifications – even when you are away from your business office.
And probably the safest option is to hire a professional agency to maintain your website, as their expert support team will be able to solve the problem on the shortest notice and take necessary measures to prevent website downtime from happening again. They will also regularly calculate website downtime for you and also provide you with comprehensive daily, weekly, or monthly reports depending on your arrangement.
Ways to prevent website downtime and get your traffic back
As you see, various factors can cause website performance issues. Website downtime can happen because of technical mistakes website owners make, problems with hosting providers, or even hackers. As such events can damage your brand’s reputation and search engine rankings, it’s crucial to have a plan in place to prevent website downtime. That’s why our expert support team prepared a list of tips you might find helpful in keeping your site available to internet users all the time:
Renew Domain Name Registration Before It’s Too Late
With various maintenance-related tasks that require daily attention, website owners can easily forget to renew their domain name registration. If this happens to you, your website will eventually go offline. In the worst-case scenario, someone else will register your domain name, and you might never be able to get it back under your ownership. That’s why, even if you don’t have an active website, it’s important to keep your domain name registered, so your content stays available to internet users.
With most service providers, you’ll be able to take advantage of the auto-renewal option. However, if this feature is unavailable, make sure to include notes in your calendar that will help you remember to renew your registration. You might find mobile phone reminder notifications helpful, too – better be safe than sorry!
Regularly Backup Your Website Data
Website data backup is the process of making copies of website data and storing them in a safe location. For example, you can keep your data on an external USB, SSD, or HDD and then retrieve it if anything goes wrong with your website. Another popular solution is to use cloud storage.
Data backups are crucial because no matter how hard you try to prevent website downtime, chances are that it will occur at one point. However, if you take adequate measures and store a functional version of your website in a safe place, you’ll be able to make your content available to internet users within minutes.
Again, you can either make backups on your own by using various plugins – or hire a WordPress website maintenance agency with a proven record track in the industry. However, if your website is medium or big, we strongly advise you to lean towards the second option since it is easy for mistakes to slip through unnoticed in such cases. If you choose the first approach, here are some best practices you should follow when making data backups:
- Perform data backups daily if possible
- Don’t rely on a single backup method
- Focus on storing your data offsite
- Use encryption to reduce web security risk
Install Only Trustworthy Plugins to Minimize Web Security Risk
Installing unreliable plugins is a huge web security risk that could lead to website downtime. Such plugins are more likely to contain malware or be outdated, which could leave your website vulnerable to attack. Outdated plugins can also cause compatibility issues that could lead to errors and downtime. However, you can prevent website downtime by asking yourself the following questions before trying to install a plugin:
- When was this plugin last updated?
- Are there any potential incompatibility issues that may cause downtime of websites?
- Who stands behind this plugin?
- What is the minimum PHP version required?
Find Reliable Web Hosting Solutions and CDN providers
No matter how hard you try to prevent website downtime, if you don’t find a reliable hosting provider, it might all go to waste. Make sure to hire a company with a robust infrastructure in place to prevent downtime and an expert support team that can quickly resolve any issues that arise. Here are our tips for finding the best web hosting solutions:
- Check how reliable they are by analyzing the website downtime history of their previous clients or utilizing uptime hosting monitors
- Make sure they offer an uptime guarantee
- Read client reviews
- Make sure your hosting provider offers 24/7 support, preferably including voice services
- Ensure they will allow your web development team to access advanced features that are vital for maintaining the website’s stability
Also, before hiring a hosting company, consider asking them if they offer content delivery services. A CDN, or content delivery network, can help prevent website downtime by allowing you to cache website data across a network of servers around the world. When someone visits your website, the CDN will serve the cached content from the server closest to the user’s location, which can help to improve website speed and reduce website downtime. Hiring a content delivery service can also help you better satisfy core web vitals update by allowing you to provide a user-friendly experience for website visitors.
Improve Site Speed
While you can keep your website up and running despite poor site speed, slow-loading pages may give internet users a false sense that your website is currently unavailable. Not only does this cause poor user experience, but it also increases bounce rates.
But remember that there are also cases in which slow site speed can lead to downtime. For example, a visitor might face a timeout error if you can’t fulfill a server request fast enough.
And as there is also an inevitable relationship between site speed and SEO, boosting your website performance will also help you achieve better search engine rankings.
Are you looking for a team of experts that can help you prevent website downtime? With years of experience in providing website maintenance services for both small businesses and large corporations, Alpha Efficiency will help you battle various types of website performance issues.
By regularly backing up your data, cleaning your website from malware, and taking other necessary measures, we’ll make sure that your content is always available to your potential customers. And in case you’ve had extensive website downtime periods in the past, our SEO experts will create an advanced strategy to help you get your search engine rankings back. You’ll also have an expert support team available to you 24/7.
Feel free to get in touch today and introduce us to your business.