Best Practices to Minimize Website Downtime

When a customer notifies you that your website is down, it has far more severe consequences than just embarrassment. Website downtime can mean loss of money, reputation, credibility and in a lot of cases, the overall feeling of security of your customers. As a survey report from Gartner showed website downtime can cost nearly $5,600 per minute to some companies.  So, what are the issues that can cause website downtime, and how can you prevent it? In this post, we will bring attention to the much needed upkeep factor of your website.


Understand the Cause

There are several reasons that could be causing a catastrophic effect on website performance, but oftentimes, it is one of the below listed reasons.

Bad hosting

Your hosting provider might guarantee that you will have over 99.99% uptime, but there is absolutely no guarantee that this would be true. Even if the hosting company falls severely short of the uptime, they won’t compensate you for the loss of business. If you are facing downtime issues, your host is a major problem.

Hardware failure

The most common cause of downtime, resulting in over 50 percent of cases, is due to hardware failures. It results in network error due to damaged hardware like server, hardware capacity bottleneck, or network congestion. These are unpredictable outages that affect businesses of all sizes.

Hackers or DDoS attacks

You might think, why would someone target my small business? But these attacks are so commonplace, all businesses must take precautions to prevent them.


Consider Checking your Hosting Provider

At what point do you rethink your hosting choice? Well, a good point to start would be at the very beginning, when you are selecting one. The shared website hosting costs much less than exclusive ones, and many businesses make the mistake of thinking this will save them money. However, these hosts end up with huge downtime trends.  What if you cannot afford to pay the premium price for hosting the website? Then you need to start thinking of website monitoring solutions. They can give you the exact statistics of downtime. This will help you understand whether you need a separate hosting provider.


Serious Issues: DNS, Mail Servers, and DNS Blacklist

DNS issues are a common cause of website downtime. Sometimes users wait for the DNS to propagate, which does not happen. Or maybe the setup has been done incorrectly. Even small mistakes during the setup process, like spelling the server name incorrectly can cause the website to crash. DNS issues can become far more complicated than this, and be difficult to figure out. If your website is not loading due to DNS issues, it could be difficult to diagnose and fix. This is another area where a website monitoring tool can help.


Using a Monitoring Solution to Monitor Site Performance

Traditional monitoring is not enough for modern web applications.  Therefore, a monitoring solution is required that helps you in the areas like speed, uptime, and availability to get alerted if any such issues occur. Let us take a look at some of the benefits of using a synthetic monitoring solution for your website.


Notify for availability

At any point your website becomes unavailable, you will be notified of the outage so that you can take prompt actions into getting things back up.

Track Uptime

Uptime percentage is determined through a server uptime calculation formula. The ideal uptime for a website would be 99.999%. Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon aim for this number because it’s downright the best in the market. How can you know what your uptime is? A website monitoring solution can track performance, along with your Service Level Agreement (SLA) metrics, to ensure your host is meeting the service agreement, if you have one. This way, you can hold your host accountable for the site uptime, or look for a new one if needed.


Sluggish website performance will inevitably increase the visitor abandonment rate. These are people who will likely never return to your site. Just a few seconds of additional load time dramatically increases the chances of visitors leaving your site.  Website monitoring solutions help in identify issues to help remedy slow loading pages, increasing website performance.

Traffic Affliction

Hackers can divert, damage, or compromise the traffic that comes to your website. It could take you a long time to figure out the cause in this situation, unless you are actively monitoring through a service.

Maintain SEO Ranking

Google penalizes slow websites by pushing them down the rankings in Google search algorithm. Google bots are always monitoring the content, page speed, and availability of your website. A monitoring service diligently keeps you informed of any small issues, which you can rectify to prevent falling down the ranks in google.


Implementing the Best Monitoring Solutions

Without uptime, you can’t do anything, so you need to find the perfect monitoring solution for your website. Dotcom-Monitor is one of the best monitoring solutions in the market to start with. It provides you with the monitoring data and metrics you need to ensure uptime. Here are the solutions you can choose from:

Web Page Monitoring.  Understand page load speed for pages from real browsers and devices, from all over the world. See the complete video of page load issues and errors encountered. Set network condition, such as 2G, 3G, and 4G simulations, with real-time experience. Have a look at your navigation timing for page load events like domain lookup, response times, navigation start, and connection times. It also provides performance by host, element-level trend analysis, waterfall charts, and more.

Web Application Monitoring.  This solution will let you understand how multi-step transactions are panning out, whether the functionalities are working as expected. You can also know how users are accessing the website from various geographical regions in the world. The tool also generates a waterfall chart, including a video playback that shows you the performance patterns. Most importantly, in case of failures, you get instant notifications.

Infrastructure Monitoring.  Know the performance of the IT infrastructure behind the website. This includes the FTP server performance, availability of the server, and faulty directories. DNS performance is also monitored to ensure the connection to the website works perfectly.

Web Services MonitoringEnsures your APIs are up and running with support for GET/POST data, SSL certification, REST/JSON/XML request services, and more.

Performance Counter Monitoring.  A one stop solution for monitoring the issues with your server and devices. You can also plan for scalability, because this tool saves historical reports with a complete snapshot of memory usage, bandwidth utilization and other important metrics that will directly impact the experience of the user in the website.

Load/Stress TestingLoad testing is the best way to understand the performance patterns of the website, in addition to how your applications and APIs are performing. Other load testing tools simply use a headless browser, but Dotcom-Monitor gives you the ability to run load tests with real browsers. This is a much better metric for your website performance, as you know exactly how much load the website can withstand in most used browsers like Google and Internet Explorer.


Best Practices to Minimize Website Downtime:  Wrapping Up

Website downtime causes serious issues for businesses. Therefore, think of using website monitoring solutions as an insurance cover to deal with embarrassing downtime. In today’s modern world, it is a mandate for websites to have a complete end to end monitoring solution.

Try the full Dotcom-Monitor platform for free.


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