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Website & Email Outages

By Heshy Friedman

Man working with server in data centerNo matter how good a web hosting company is, there will be times when their servers go down. This will cause your website hosted on the server to be unavailable, and perhaps your email as well. A server down can be caused by a simple server crash that requires a reboot, resulting in only a few minutes’ downtime, or it can be caused by a more serious server failure or hack which, can cause the server to be down for a more extended period of time.

It’s important to understand this reality to ensure that your organization can still function while the website or even emails are down. Think of a contingency plan in the event of such an emergency, and consider setting up alternative email addresses with Gmail. For businesses that cannot afford to have any downtime whatsoever, the only foolproof solution is to host with a dedicated server on a high-end hosting provider such as Peer1. Such solutions are very costly, though.

Most reputable hosting companies will schedule server updates and reboots in the middle of the night or on weekends, when traffic is light, and they will usually email a schedule of the downtime beforehand. Even if a server goes down during business hours, this can be understandable and acceptable if it’s just for a few minutes and happens very infrequently. A short downtime is usually the result of a process that crashed the server and required a reboot.

An extended period of downtime is what really causes problems. Any downtime over an hour or two should not be tolerated. It is also imperative for the hosting company to post on a public forum the exact details of what is going on so that the customer can be informed and know what to expect. Mistakes happen, and even if it’s a big problem on the hosting company’s end, there is no excuse for not allowing a communication channel for customers to be aware of the situation so they can plan properly. Any extended period of downtime by a hosting company without proper communication to the customer is simply not acceptable.

 Should you find that your website is down or your email not working, the first step is to check to make sure that your Internet is up and running and you don’t have a firewall or filter blocking you. Ensure that you are able to visit other websites such as Google.com. If your connection is fine, but your website won’t load or your emails won’t come through, make sure to contact your hosting company’s support.

If your website loads an error message on any of the pages, this most likely has to do with the coding or a change on the server. Make sure to contact your web developer in this case so that they can investigate and correct this.

 

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