Is your website suffering from regular downtime, despite your hosting giving you a 99.99% uptime guarantee?
Maybe the reason for website downtime is not your web host. There are many causes of website downtime.
In this article, I will show you several major causes of website downtime.
What is Website Downtime?
Website Downtime is when a website or web service is not working or functioning for the end-users as it is supposed to do. Whether the webpage failed to load or any function critical for the end-user stopped working, is considered as downtime.
People typically think that when the page fails to load, it means downtime. But what if the user wants to add a product to the cart, but the button is not working. Would you consider the website up if only the pages are loading, but the functions are not doing what they should be doing.
In a way, downtime has become a subjective matter.
For the static website, complete outage is downtime. For the tool’s website, if the tool does not work, the service is down. For the eCommerce site, if you cannot buy the product, it means the site is not working.
As there are multiple ways for the website downtime, there are multiple causes of the website downtime.
Common causes of Website Downtime
Several common causes of website downtime are:
- Human Errors
- Hardware Failures
- Website Hosting
- DNS Issues
- Third-party integrations
- DDoS Attacks
- CMS Issues
- Mismanaged Maintenance
#1 Human Errors
As per the data of the last few years, human errors is one of the primary reasons behind website downtime. It can be an accident, poor work quality, or a deliberate attempt to harm the client’s website. Unfortunately, many of the biggest outages have found humans at the center of the error.
Humans are required to maintain and manage servers regularly. But sometimes, miscellaneous tech can confuse even the smartest of developers.
While there is no one way to prevent human errors, organizations are now taking documentation seriously. Having recorded and written history with the past employer’s advice helps in case of repeated outage.
Moreover, organizations are responsible for these outages, and the problem could be diminished with more accountability. But the best solution is a continuation of education and regular checkup of processes and policies.
With upcoming AI and high tech, human errors would be reduced to much extent.
#2 Hardware Failures
The website is hosted on a server, and the server is a physical product prone to failure. You can be of utmost care, but still, the server will break.
Anything can happen, such as a server going off, power source failure, wrong code blocking the server functions, server getting heat up due to lack of cooling system — there is a complete IT department solving the hardware issues.
You cannot even predict when the server is going to break. The administrators analyze the server regularly to find clues of a problem, but unexpected things can result in website downtime.
The other reason why hardware failures are the leading cause of website downtime is outdated hardware. Technology has advanced so fast, and the organization has not replaced its outdated server yet. Instead, most of them have just upgraded to better hardware for performance sake.
Changing hardware is a long and tedious job, and it will also cause server outage. The outdated servers are not powerful enough to maintain the modern web with high traffic and often come crashing when pushed.
For example, try to run an HD-4k movie on a low-resolution laptop, it will not run properly.
Data centers understand equipment failure is a big issue, and they keep the redundancy low with the backup servers and equipment.
#3 Website Hosting
The majority of the companies do not host their website internally. Instead, they often go with third-party hosting providers.
It is an excellent way to offshore the work to the people who are good at it, instead of creating an entire department for web hosting requirements of organizations.
However, an extensive range of web hosting providers is available, with costs ranging from dollars to several thousand dollars. Every one of them calls themselves a reliable hosting provider.
But the reality is cheap hosting providers are giving affordable hosting plans at the cost of reliable performance. They are using outdated servers, old IT infrastructure, and non-virtualized servers. That’s why they can offer such cheap hosting.
The hosting provider typically promises a 95% uptime guarantee and compensates for the outage. However, you should know that you will only be compensated for the price you paid for the service when the service was down. Not for the money lost due to the website downtime. You will get a sorry though, and some discount for next month’s payment.
And the scary part is you will never know the exact amount of your website downtime as the provider will not share the stats with you.
At ServerGuy, we work differently.
- We have all the modern IT infrastructure and updated servers (latest SSD version which is 25x faster than HDD).
- Our team monitors the uptime regularly and moves the site to the active server while resolving the issues.
- We will share the stats with you to see that the website is not getting frequent downtime.
#4 DNS Issues
Working Domain Name System is critical for website uptime. Without functional DNS, the website will not load, whether it is hosted on a dedicated server or shared hosting. All the infrastructure can work perfectly, and everything would be okay, but a DNS problem will cause the website downtime.
Domain Name System maps the domain name with the IP address assigned to the web-hosting. Configuring and setting up DNS is technically complicated. Moreover, DNS resolution must happen at multiple steps, and problems can turn up at any corner.
DNS server could be unavailable due to the server outage. It means, even if your server is fine, the DNS server issue could cause the website downtime. Also, DNS latency is a big thing, causing the website to load slowly.
The request must go through several proxies and loops to get the requested data if the cache is not set up.
In case of frequent DNS issues, you should try out premium DNS services.
#5 Third-party integrations
One cannot ignore the third-party integration on the website. A single website has several dependencies and third-party services locked in, and if any of them work, the webpage loads slowly.
It is essential to understand that almost all websites are built on top of some code, depending on other codes. Loading your websites might require a particular set of packages from language repositories, but those packages may need their own sets of packages, and so on.
Years back, a man deleted one of the modules bringing down the React package. As a result, thousands of websites were down.
WordPress page builders typically go down and take the website with them. A few weeks back, the Akamai CDN outage showed how much the web depends on Content Delivery Network.
You cannot do much about it, as the third-party integration is helpful for various websites functions. However, you should make sure to install reliable third-party extensions.
#6 DDoS Attacks
DDoS attack or Denial of Service Attack happens when many people open the website simultaneously, eating out all the server resources and causing the website downtime.
Hackers don’t do this manually. Instead, they attack computers and devices and then make them send the request to the server. Under such overwhelming pressure, the server typically crashed.
Even if you are not the target of the attack and only share the server with the victim site, your website will go down. However, dedicated servers and cloud servers are safe from DDoS attacks when it comes to victim sharing.
ServerGuy monitors the website, and our firewall keeps track of all the requests. When our machines and engineers find irrational requests, we block the IP and deviate the DDoS attack.
A quality hosting and firewall are your armor against the DDoS attack. Else the hackers will utilize all your resources with a simple DDoS attack to bring your website down.
It happens during the sale season and festival time. You should run a website load test before any big event to avoid any avoidable outage.
#7 CMS Issues
The Content Management System makes it easier for everyone to build websites and publish content on the web. There are so many popular opensource CMSs such as WordPress, Magento, Drupal, Joomla, etc. Shopify, Ghost, Squarespace are leading in the close source department.
Well, all these CMSs need extra functionalities to work. Extensions, modules, plugins, page builders, and scripts help them get the work done with the help of a clear user interface.
Due to all these dependencies, micro-software works together to build a functional website.
Now any of the plugins or scripts could malfunction the whole website. Any database error, internal conflicts, plugin compatibility, broken images can cause website downtime.
That’s why it is advisable to avoid nulled WordPress themes and plugins. Having plugins from reliable sources means a high chance of high-quality work.
#8 Mismanaged Maintenance
All the hardware and software require regular maintenance. Whether it is the website, server, or CMS, all of them need frequent updates.
The biggest reason for WordPress sites getting hacked is outdated plugins and themes. If you do not log in to your website for years, the obsolete softwares and services keep jamming the website.
A few weeks back, one of our clients suffered from downtime due to a script. It turns out the company was shut, so their servers were closed. Unfortunately, the script was present on the website, preventing the code from loading because it was not parsed. They never checked it out and found their website down.
The same goes for the physical servers. The quality data centers do regular cleaning and audits. While cheap centers do the bare minimum to make them work.
Mismanaged maintenance is the underrated cause of website downtime. At ServerGuy, we send engineers to the Datacenter at regular intervals to ensure that our server is maintained correctly.
Can anybody give 100% uptime guarantee?
Maintaining the 100% uptime is next to impossible, and if anyone is saying 100% uptime guarantee in their SLA, they are lying.
Yes, all the web hosting providers give their best to keep their server and client’s site up and running 100% of the time. Unfortunately, even detecting the outage is not possible all the time.
The modern web is made up of thousands of intermediary service providers. There are several hundred technologies between the end-user and the provider. Web hosting providers possibly ensure their server will never be down, but they cannot guarantee all the other services interconnected within the web.
Even large tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter suffer from website downtime now and then.
There is nothing to be afraid of website downtime if you are with ServerGuy. Our team finds out the cause quickly and resolves it, whether 4 AM or 8 PM.
I hope this article helps you to clear your mind about website downtime.
Website downtime is inevitable, and you will suffer from it sometime in your life. But with the right hosting partner, you can quickly come back live before losing many sales.
If your website is regularly suffering from downtime, contact us.
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