4 Causes of Website Downtime and How to Monitor Them
A lot of site owners underestimate the consequences of website downtime, assuming that a brief outage won’t do much harm to their business. But this can leave them with broken web pages that are either poorly rendered or filled with bugs, frustrating users into hitting the “back” button since they can’t navigate the site. The truth is, keeping outages at bay beats fixing them after the fact, even with a guaranteed backup plan.
Websites can succumb to downtime when you least expect it and for a variety of reasons other than too much traffic. Although this doesn’t happen often, you should still be prepared for your site to go down at any moment. Thus, it’s a good idea to launch full-scale site monitoring checks during periods of maintenance because scheduling them regularly keeps your KPIs accurate and in good shape.
What you need is a warning system like Uptime.com to couple incidents with check types and report them to your team.
1. Server Overload
One of the most common issues is an overwhelmed server taking on more than its maximum capacity. If, by chance, a surge of requests flows in, the hosting service might temporarily suspend your site to increase its bandwidth.
A server may overload, but connecting it to an HTTPS check makes it receptive to status code changes. DNS and Transaction checks will then pinpoint any DNS and CMS outages on a webpage if it fails to load correctly.
On the flip side, shared networks could be receiving the rush, forcing the server to timeout your site. Another reason to disable websites is to install system updates for rendering content faster. To get around this, save a copy of your files in the database to import once the server is restored.
For performance monitoring, conduct basic checks with Uptime.com to get ahead of servers, APIs, and any recent transactions: Review outage and website downtime information such as error codes and console logs to jumpstart your troubleshooting process.
2. Widespread DNS Outage
You can’t reach a website without passing through the DNS. On occasion, you might encounter a “DNS not responding” message, signaling that the IP address cannot be verified. A DNS with the wrong nameserver will disconnect your domain from DNS queries sent by the client. If a data center shuts down, it may affect the DNS of any cloud-hosted websites. That’s why you shouldn’t rely on just one authoritative name server.
This issue is usually resolved by switching to another web browser or restarting your computer and DSL router. In the event of a DDoS attack, make sure you have load balancing to split traffic between multiple servers.
A DNS or domain check will do the trick for handling all your DNS failures. One advantage to Uptime.com is having global DNS server monitoring because it puts multiple servers in place to continue processing major requests related to your domain.
On some occasions, the DNS may fail to resolve, leading to a slew of configuration errors. No matter which way you slice it, the end result is website downtime. In this case, you should set up DNS checks to pull data from DNS records, especially on domains you want to track.
3. An Incompatible CMS
A CMS covers all your bases with web design, so you have control over the building blocks, whether it’s uploading a post or adding a contact form. Although CMSs contain plenty of themes, plugins, and extensions, new features are not always compatible with current platforms. When working with third-party integrations, remember to back up your site frequently to roll back internal conflicts before they become permanent.
To avoid downtime on the front end, don’t install any outdated add-ons to your CMS, or you’ll end up with partially loaded or missing pages. Read the documentation to know what the system requirements are and look into which themes have plugin support.
Uptime.com reporting has the answer, as it delivers a consistent preview of the reported problems, uptime percentage, and response time of well-known platforms like WordPress.com.
What it does is collect data continuously on both HTTP(s) and transaction checks, then translates those into performance graphs to help you identify problem areas. Transaction checks are even powerful enough to detect activity on elements across different pages.
4. Hardware Failure
Unsurprisingly, the leading cause of downtime is hardware failure because web hosting resides on physical infrastructure. Everything seems fine at first, but a power outage can disrupt your electrical circuits, layers of redundancy, and network controllers. This means you should take precautions to upgrade your hardware specs so it can handle on-demand data storage.
Rather than replace the entire server, continue testing to see what systems are up on the admin panel before you conduct a cost-benefit analysis to ensure business continuity. Hardware failure can be quantified through process monitoring, a method that issues alerts whenever an action occurs in the underlying infrastructure.
For processes that stopped working, create a heartbeat check on Uptime.com to catch delayed or outright missing requests. A Ping ICMP will signal whether a server running that process is still online.
Incoming Webhooks can immediately direct you to unresponsive processes, relaying the alert state of a webhook to a URL or cURL POST request if an event fails several checks in succession.
The Key Takeaway
A website represents your brand and gives visitors their first impression of the buyer’s journey, especially if you have thousands of users making purchases or engaging with posts.
Longer bouts of website downtime pose a risk to your business by exhibiting errors on inaccessible pages, shutting down many core applications, tanking your search result visibility, and losing the trust of your customers.
Uptime is an essential aspect of web performance, so it’s worth the shot to identify what those risks really are. Therefore, your topmost priority should be monitoring the network for potential conflicts, loading errors, and unresolved incidents. This can be achieved on Uptime.com, where you’ll find monitoring tools adaptable to all these outage scenarios.
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