What to do when your website goes down

No webhost can guarantee 100% uptime for your website so sadly it’s not a case of if your website will go down, but when.

When your website goes out of action unexpectedly you need to get it back up and running as quickly as possible to minimise damage to your business. Here are 6 simple steps outlining what to do when your website crashes.

Check it’s really down

In the absence of a web monitoring service like Sitestillup (which will tell you definitively whether your website is fully operational or not), the first thing to do when your website goes down is to check it really is down. It could just be a localised problem, for example with the device you’re viewing the website on, or with your internet connection. You can check this by asking a friend on/with a different device/connection to check the website for you or you can type your website’s URL into downforeveryoneorjustme.com

Have a plan

Preparation is the key to solving your website woes quickly and effectively. Don’t wait until there’s a catastrophic problem with your website to think about how you’ll deal with it - have a plan of action ready for when you need it.

Contact your web host

Have the contact information for your webhost readily available, along with all the relevant account details, IDs, passwords, etc. that you’ll need to get through to someone who can help you. Whether it’s a problem specific to your website or an issue at their end, your webhost should be able to help your site back up and running.

Pause any web promotions or online adverts

You don’t want to be actively directing customers to your website while it’s out of action, so if you’ve got an email marketing campaign, or an online advert in the pipeline, put it on hold until the problem is fixed.

Communicate with your customers

Use social media like Twitter and Facebook to keep your customers informed and minimise damage to your reputation. Let them know that your website is temporarily down but that you’re working on getting it back up and running as soon as possible (and don’t forget to update them when it’s all been fixed!).

Reflect and regroup

When the problem has been resolved and your stress levels have subsided take the opportunity to reflect on how you dealt with the problem and if there are any ways that the process could have been faster or more effective. This will help you to identify ways to minimise the chances of another crash, and to improve your plan for the next time your website goes down. For example, if the problem was the fault of your webhost or it was difficult to get through to them then it may be time to consider switching to a new provider. If there was a delay in you discovering there was a problem with your website then consider using Sitestillup’s web monitoring service so that you receive alerts via email/text the instant there’s an issue.