Website Downtime is an inevitability in web hosting, and there’s no shame in acknowledging and preparing for this unfortunate eventuality. Here are a few ways to prepare yourself mentally and technically for the times it comes to pass.
1. Accept that it will happen :
Knowing that your website will go down and that you have no means of knowing when or why it happens is essential to keeping your cool and responding rationally when it happens. You don’t need to brood over it, and you don’t need to panic when it does happen; just acknowledge that you’ll have to fix it, and make a plan to do so.
2. Identify your major preventable events :
You can’t predict when someone will come up with a fancy trick for ruining a WordPress database, or when a new virus will seize control of your OS. You can, however, acknowledge that all hard drives fail eventually, keep track of your server hardware, use your software’s built-in security features, and schedule clean backups of your content.
3. Research your web host and ask about their plans :
If you don’t host your own website, be sure to find reviews and commentary from other clients of your web host. Ask about what tools they have in place to monitor potential hardware failures, how often they refresh their hardware, what monitoring tools they have in place for your software, and what their strategy is for server backup and information redundancy. They should have ready answers for you, so be prepared to take notes to compare offerings with competitor hosts.
4. Test new servers before leaving the old ones :
If you’re migrating your website from one server to another, downtime should never be an issue. Once you’ve copied all the contents from your existing server to the new server, you can validate everything there while leaving the original open to the internet. Validate the server, change your DNS, wait for the DNS change to propagate, and you’re done.
Obviously, if you have a live transaction database, such as an online store or a blog comment system, new entries will not carry over between servers. Be sure to disable these temporarily while migrating servers to avoid losing transactions during validation. Having your website available with limited functionality is far preferable to your website being totally unavailable during a planned downtime.
5. Test your backups :
While backing up your website is an obvious necessity, a backup is worthless if you can’t actually restore your website from it. While it would be needlessly time-consuming to test every backup you make, a periodic trial run is a good step toward ensuring the security of your data. Practicing restoring your website from backup is also a good method of ensuring that you know exactly what to do if your website is temporarily lost or defaced, shaving minutes off your downtime.
6. Don’t be afraid to pay for good monitoring:
There are literally hundreds of tools available for monitoring server uptime, but while there are many free tools available, you will be well-served to pay for high-quality software with good customer service. Especially if your website is a source of revenue for you, money spent toward alerting you to downtime and engaging the right resources for reverting it is an important insurance measure. The sooner you know of a problem and can diagnose and treat it, the better.
A survey like this is not the place to break down the details of every bit of software and every service provider. Keep these guidelines in mind when researching the tools you will use to implement your downtime minimization strategy, and you can tear through tables and charts to an effective decision in no time.
This is a Guest Post by James Adams, Working as a in-house writer and tech analyst at one of the UK’s bigger online suppliers of ink cartridges, has written about everything from HP 300XL to creating posts covering the latest releases in tech on his blog.
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