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Challenge Accepted: Mastering Website Availability

In today’s digital era, the availability of websites can be the thin line between success and obscurity for online businesses and blogs worldwide.

It’s important to monitor your website for downtime so you can immediately take action to remedy any problems. You don’t want your visitors to be the first to find your website down as that will cause reputation damage that could be long lasting.

Let’s dive into the topic of the availability of websites, how to monitor your websites and the common problems and issues that cause downtime.

Table of Contents on Availability of Websites

Monitoring Availability of Websites and Its Importance

Why bother monitoring the availability of your websites or blogs? Despite your best efforts, websites do occasionally go down for various reasons, which we’ll discuss later in this article. Regardless of the cause, you’ll want to be alerted as soon as possible if it’s an issue you can fix.

First, let’s define what we mean by website uptime.

Website Uptime Metric

Website uptime is a metric that measures the percentage of time a website is available and fully operational to users over a specified period.

The importance of uptime for your website or blog is crucial for several reasons:

  1. User Experience
  2. Search Engine Ranking
  3. Revenue Loss
  4. Brand Reputation
  5. Competitive Disadvantage

You don’t want to suffer the negative consequences of downtime as it can severely affect your online business or blog.

Monitoring website uptime is therefore critical for identifying and addressing any reliability issues as quickly as possible. Tools are available to monitor your website’s uptime and alert you to any downtime, enabling you to take swift action to resolve any issues.

Use tools to automatically monitor your website’s uptime

Availability of Websites: The Impact on User Experience

Your website is like a digital storefront – if it’s frequently unavailable, visitors, like disappointed customers, may turn to competitors instead.

In the fast-paced digital world, where patience is scarce and alternatives are abundant, maintaining constant access to your website is crucial. It’s the linchpin in keeping your audience content and engaged. After all, wouldn’t you prefer a store that’s always open, ready to welcome you in?

Checking your website’s uptime manually is an option, but it’s far from ideal. Here’s what some new bloggers or website owners might try:

  • Regularly visiting their own website.
  • Using private or Incognito windows to avoid cached versions of their pages.
  • Asking friends and family to check the site for them.

These methods are time-consuming and don’t provide real-time alerts for downtime.

Instead, dedicated uptime monitoring services offer a superior solution. They continuously monitor your site and alert you to any issues promptly via email or SMS. This ensures quick action to maintain your site’s availability.

Isn’t it wiser to rely on automated monitoring for peace of mind and swift issue resolution?

Availability of Websites: Software Tools

A number of free and premium tools are available to monitor websites. Some focus on small websites or blogs while others are more focused on large businesses and corporations,

I personally use UptimeRobot for monitoring my websites. It’s incredibly easy to setup and allows you to monitor upto 50 websites for free – no credit card required to sign up.

If your website goes down for any reason you will receive a notification using one of the numerous different channels supported by UptimeRobot.

uptime robot: downtime happens

It’s important to note that the notification period varies depending on whether you use a free or paid plan. For the free plan your website is checked every 5 minutes, paid plans give a 60 second option and even a 30 second option at the top tier.

Availability of Websites: Common Causes of Website Downtime

Understanding the common causes that result in website downtime is crucial as many of them can be mitigated or prevented in advance.

Given the potential negative consequences of downtime it’s important to protect your website or blog from these downtime causes.

Causes of Website Downtime

Server Overload

Upgrade your hosting plan to accommodate higher traffic levels or switch to a more robust hosting provider. Consider using a content delivery network (CDN) to distribute the load.

Software Failures

Regularly update and maintain your website and server software. Choose a hosting provider that offers reliable hardware and uptime guarantees.

Cyber Attacks

Implement security measures like firewalls, malware scans, and DDoS protection services. Regularly update your website’s security protocols.

Expired Domain

Set your domain to auto-renew or keep track of the expiration date and renew it well in advance.

DNS Issues

Regularly check your DNS settings for accuracy. Use reputable DNS providers and consider having secondary DNS services as a backup.

Scheduled Maintenance

Plan maintenance during off-peak hours. Inform your users in advance through your website or social media channels.

Future-Proofing Your Website Against Downtime

In the previous section we covered common causes of website downtime, so what are the solutions? Let’s cover ways to future proof your website or blog against downtime.

  • Monitoring: Use website monitoring tools to get real-time alerts about your website’s status. This can help you respond quickly to downtime.
  • Backup: Regularly back up your website so that you can restore it to a working state in case of major issues.
  • Quality Hosting: Invest in a quality hosting service that provides good uptime guarantees, customer support, and scalability options.
  • Security Practices: Keep all website software up to date, use strong passwords, and implement security best practices to protect against cyber threats.

For more on website security:

Fortifying Your Site: Essential Tips to Harden WordPress Security

Web Server Security: Proactive Measures to Shield Your Online Business

Website Login Page: Make it more secure to keep out hackers

Availability of Websites: The Role of Hosting Providers

Selecting a budget hosting provider may increase website downtime due to their lack of expert staff to prevent hackers and malware attacks.

In addition, cheap hosting plans work by piling huge number of websites onto a single server. Any website compromised by a hacker could result in the server going down or becoming unresponsive.

For most websites or blogs, a middle-tier hosting provider strikes the right balance between cost and reliability. These providers usually offer a robust infrastructure capable of preventing security breaches while ensuring high availability.

From my personal experience, SiteGround stands out as an excellent choice for those seeking reliability without breaking the bank. SiteGround is not just about uptime, it offers an array of tools for monitoring, backup, and website maintenance. I trust SiteGround for hosting all my websites, including this one, due to its consistent performance and reasonable cost.

Ad - Web Hosting from SiteGround - Crafted for easy site management. Click to learn more.

Consider using a CDN Service

In addition to a good hosting provider you should consider adding a Content Delivery Network (CDN) service. This service will cache your website content on many different servers around the globe resulting in faster loading pages for visitors no matter where they live.

Premium CDN plans also have special modes to help your website when it’s under active attack such as the SiteGround CDN feature shown below:

SiteGround CDN helps prevent DDoS attacks

A CDN service can be a life-saver for your website as well as providing faster loading pages and images. In addition, should one of your pages go “viral” and receive a large amount of traffic a CDN service will keep your website up even under heavy load. It’s well worth considering using a CDN for your website or blog.

CDN Benefits: Faster Loading, Better Browsing

Availability of Websites: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about the availability of websites.

How do you Measure Website Availability?

You can calculate the uptime metric by taking the total number of minutes your website was working in minutes divided by the total number of minutes for that time period.

For example, to calculate your uptime for December. We will assume your website was down for 5 minutes in December. Do the following calculation:

Minutes in December: 60 minutes per hour x 24 hours per day x 31 days in December = 44640 minutes

Uptime = 44640 – 5 (downtime) = 44635

Uptime metric = 44635 / 44640

Convert to a percentage by multiplying by 100 = 100 * 44635 / 44640

Uptime Metric: 99.9%

What is Good Website Availability?

Well it’s up to you to decide what is good website availability for your website or blog.

High availability is considered to be 99.999% uptime. To put this metric into perspective, for the month of December downtime must be less than 30 seconds for the whole month!

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that the higher the availability you require, the more you will have to pay for a hosting service. You will have to balance how much you are willing to pay a hosting service against how much you will lose by your website going down.

How do you Check If a Website is Available?

For websites you don’t operate check out the Down Detector website. Just type in the name of the website in the search box to check, e.g. “Netflix”:

Down Detector

For your own websites or blogs use a monitoring tool such as UptimeRobot.

Final Thoughts on the Availability of Websites

Thank you for engaging with this content. To summarise the main points again:

  1. Monitoring Uptime Is Essential: Keeping a keen eye on your website or blog’s uptime is non-negotiable for maintaining its accessibility and functionality.
  2. Use Automated Monitoring Tools: Automating the monitoring process ensures continuous oversight without manual intervention.
  3. Opt for Quality Hosting: Choosing a reliable mid-tier hosting provider offers a balance between cost and performance, steering clear of the pitfalls of the cheapest options.
  4. Consider a CDN: Utilizing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can significantly reduce the risk of DDoS attacks while enhancing your website’s speed and user experience.

With robust mitigation measures and a reliable monitoring tool, you can rest assured that your website remains accessible and efficient. This peace of mind is invaluable, especially when your income relies on the uninterrupted operation of your website or blog.

For those seeking a monitoring tool, I recommend UptimeRobot. Its user-friendly interface and free usage tier make it an excellent starting point for ensuring your website’s availability. Setting up UptimeRobot is straightforward, offering you a simple yet effective solution to keep your site running smoothly.

uptime robot banner: monitor availability of websites

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