It’s the moment you try with all you have to avoid, but there’s absolutely nothing you can do: your shared hosting website has gone dark due to a hosting provider outage. Although you can research companies for months in order to find the one with the least amount of outages, you’ll never find one with 100% up-time guarantees. It’s just not possible (and if you find one, stay away! They are lying to you!)
So what do you do when the worst does occur? Downtime costs your business a lot in the long run, in the form of lost customers and profits when there is no site to conduct business on. One small step you can take is to request what is called a ‘static page’ in the event there is an outage. This message is customized to your company, so that when visitors try to access your page during an outage they don’t see a generic error page. But is there anything else you can do? Preparation is the key.
Backup Plan: How To Prepare For And Cope With Downtime
The severity of the outage depends on the type of business you conduct on your shared hosting website. If it’s an informational blog, that’s not as big of a deal as a busy online retailer or bank. Just a couple of hours of the site being down could cost you a few thousand dollars and lost customers, which is revenue lost down the road. What about all of the money you have to spend to get the site back up and running?
Here are some ideas towards preventing outages, and dealing with them when they do occur.
1. Backup Plan: Test Backups.
It seems simple enough: you signed on with a shared hosting provider that promised daily backups of all of your data. While your hosting provider might tell you they back up your entire site, you need to test that theory prior to an blackout.
Conduct a simple test of their backup claims by uploading a file to your site. After a period of time, delete it, and then call the hosting company and ask if they can restore it for you. The restoration process should only take about 30 minutes max, and if it doesn’t, you should be concerned. This is why it is crucial you perform your own daily backups, no matter what the hosting company says they do.
2. Backup Plan: Review Your Options
I have already mentioned this: there is no such thing as 100% uptime, so stay away from a company that makes that claim. If your provider comes across as untrustworthy in any way, find a new provider. There are many, many options out there, so know that you can switch at any time.
3. Backup Plan: Keep An Eye On Things
Website monitoring sites exist, such as Hyperspin and Basic State, that emails you in the event of an outage. Isn’t it great to keep an eye on things yourself, not leaving it all to the hosting provider? Another effective strategy: keep a log of changes made to the site. Record who made the changes, what changes were made, and the date they were made in order to speed up the recovery process.
4. Backup Plan: How To Handle A Blackout
Ok, your site went down. Start by placing a call to the provider to see what’s going on, and see if you can get a rough idea of when they expect it back online. Is it just your site? Is it numerous sites? When you have some answers, notify your customers about the issue. If it’s an extended outage, updates should be provided more frequently.
An outage isn’t the end of the world. Take steps to prepare yourself (Backup Plan), and you’ll get through it just fine!