Though website outages are common, many website owners do not bother to prepare for them. They tend to depend on their hosting company for the up-time. As the downtime keeps increasing, the believability of the site as well as the business keeps decreasing. While these outages cannot be stopped from occurring, their impact can be minimized with proper preparation.
While outages and downtime of small websites go unnoticed to the world, the awareness of downtime of major ones spreads faster and makes it into the news. The main point to notice here is that these outages are unavoidable even for the big websites.
The possible reasons for these outages can be categorized into scheduled and unscheduled outages.
Scheduled outages: These mostly include maintenance activities like upgrading, repairing or patching of software, applications or the hardware. These are generally scheduled to ensure that the impact of downtime is very minimal. In this case, you have an option to display a message on your website with details of the scheduled outage and thus minimize its impact. Google handles its scheduled outages very well. However, it is not very likely that hosting companies will share information with you about these scheduled outages every time.
Unscheduled outages: These are unforeseen failures in any part of the technology infrastructure related to the website, including hardware, software, network infrastructure, naming services infrastructure, database, etc. Even unexpected traffic can also result in downtime. Hence, it is very important to have a plan to deal with these outages.
Monitoring services track your website continuously and report instantly in case of any downtime or failure. This enables you to get the message instantly and react appropriately in-time. Monitoring services also check for other issues related to website performance, and give you timely reports. Thus, you can consider subscribing to a monitoring service as part of your site downtime preparation plan.
If you are serious about your website availability, then you should consider making an appropriate backup plan. Choosing a reliable host with a proper track record and ensuring redundancy of the site, etc. are some common strategies in terms of planning for outages.