It is extremely important for any business to have a fully functioning website and protect it from hacking vulnerabilities constantly. If your brand cannot keep up with the proper maintenance and security of its website, you will end up missing out on many potential clients resulting in low revenue and growth.
Having said that, the task of maintaining a fully functioning, safe website is definitely very challenging since there are an array of issues that can bring your website down swiftly. Whether it is an e-commerce store, an independent Etsy shop, or an online escape room brand like a breakout escape room, any business website is vulnerable to the common problems of hacker attacks, network failures, and server breakdowns. And one of the best ways to stay protected against such threats is to stay informed and up to date with the solutions.
Let’s take a look at some of the effective ways you can jump right back in case your website goes down:
1. Confirm and determine the cause
Verify that your site is actually down. Make sure the problem is not your internet connection or browser. You can also take the help of your friend to check and confirm the problem. Programming-related issues, hardware-related issues, and expired domains are some major issues that can bring your website down.
You can try to reload a different website to confirm that your Internet connection is functioning correctly. If you see that the problem persists for other websites too, you can contact your Internet service provider and get the network problem fixed. But if you have a stable Internet connection and still experience a problem in loading your website, then proceed to step 2.
2. Figure Out What Has Gone Down
A website can go down mainly for one or more of the following reasons:
- A programming error in the website,
- A DNS problem or an expired domain,
- A networking problem
- Something on the server has crashed
- The whole server has crashed
- To check whether it is a programming error, you must visit the website and check the status bar at the bottom of the browser.
If the website says “Done” or “Loaded,” instead of “Waiting…” or “Connecting…,” then it is functioning correctly. But if you suspect that there is a programming error, check the Apache error log for clues. Alternatively, you can also run the relevant commands to determine the cause.
3. Check Your Web Server Software
Using traceroute (Mac) or tracert (Windows), you can determine if your server is alive. If the traceroute reaches your hosting company, that means your server is still working. Now you have to check whether it is only your server that is malfunctioning or if several servers from the same rack room have gone down. You can do that by running the traceroute command and varying your IP address slightly (changing the last digit of your IP by 1 unit each time). If it shows that the servers around the same range all have broken IPs, then it is most likely a complex networking issue.
However, if your server is alive but unresponsive to website requests, then you can use the telnet command on Windows, Linux, and Mac to talk to the web-server software directly. If it responds with a couple of lines, it means that it is connected and now ready for your next command. However, if there is an issue, telnet will indicate the specifics through different responses. Telnet not connecting would indicate that your server software has crashed, but if it is unresponsive, then it implies that your server has been misconfigured.
4. Is your website out of space?
You must restart the offending software at some point because it might have just disabled the server’s SPAM filter or something more important. If the problem was with Apache, you might have to do a bit of memory-eating programming. MySQL or PHP and Apache might have non-optimal memory limits. There is always a possibility that your website has been hacked, and your server is slow because it is sending out thousands of emails. In such a case, a server reaches its maximum capacity and needs more RAM to deal with the rush.
Here’s a quick fix –
To find out what went wrong in the first place, you must check the weblogs and the log files in /var/log/. You can also reach out to the hosting company and ask them to look into the matter.
5. Use different troubleshooting tools
Some of the popular troubleshooting tools are-
A) Traceroute: It can help you pinpoint the issue and track where a connection is broken. Traceroute is available as a command-line on most major operating systems such as Windows, OSX, Linux.
B) Spiceworks Connectivity Dashboard: You can know the status of your website by using this tool and tracing down the cause of the web downtime.
6. Backup your data
You should practice frequent data backup and preserve the data locally, as well as in the cloud. Many hosting services offer tools to back up your website’s data. Backup hosting services act as an added layer of protection during web downtime. You can set up a secondary hosting account from a different provider as they can store data on a different server. Minor issues like your expired domain can be solved by setting your domain for auto-renewal.
And with these tips in mind, you will be able to handle the crisis period without too many hiccups. The commands may require some technical knowledge. However, programming issues are only a small section of all the things that can go wrong with your website. If your site goes down due to networking issues, hardware malfunctions, or more complicated software problems, you will have to rely on the hosting company to help you resolve it effectively.