If you have a website for a business, then you surely must be ready to deal with situations when it goes down. Sadly, such things can happen with every single website. And for a whole lot of various reasons. From a planned shutdown for routine maintenance or software upgrade, announced in advance by the hosting service, to natural disasters destroying the data center with the server hardware or malicious DDoS attack.
In some cases, you could be prepared to deal with consequences. But other cases could be not only unexpected but also hard to deal with. Therefore, you need to be ready to take action in case of emergencies. And for this, you need to know which procedures to execute to find the cause of a website shutdown.
Basic accessibility testing
As easy as it sounds, the first thing to do if your website goes down is to check whether it is generally accessible or not. Therefore, first of all, you need to check a website’s accessibility by trying to visit it yourself. Also, you need to be familiar with a simple ping tool. It will help you to reach the server where your website is located without loading the website itself.
In simple words, when you ping a website (using its IP or domain name), you are checking its overall accessibility. Because if a ping tool receives a response, it shows a positive answer with a response time. And if this tool has no response from a server, it waits for some time and then shows a negative answer.
Basically, this is a simple Command Prompt (Windows) or Terminal (MacOS or Linux) command which sends a small amount of data to the server and waits for a response. And you can try host-tracker ping monitoring free if you want an advanced version of this tool. It will send the same ping command from various access points in different parts of the world.
There is also a more advanced version of a ping tool – traceroute. It does almost the same thing. But with an additional tracing of an actual route of Internet networking nodes between the server and an access point (user’s computer, etc). This tool should be used if ping showed a negative answer to determine whether there is a problem somewhere between a user and a server.
Advanced accessibility testing
If you see that your server is actually not accessible via ping and traceroute, then there are probably some server-side or software problems and you need to check everything thoroughly. For example, use www.host-tracker.com/en/ic/check-HTTP to check server status and performance yourself before asking your hosting provider about it. Therefore, you will surely know whether your website’s server is working or not.
And if you really can’t access your website’s server and even its CMS, despite receiving a response from a hosting provider that everything is stable, you should use some other tools to deal with everything. And the first thing you must do is to check problems with networking nodes that seem abnormal according to traceroute if there are any.
So, firstly, it is important to visit Down Detector and its counterparts to check the situation around your website. It might be a major worldwide problem like with DYN in 2016 or it might be some sort of trouble with your hosting service. Everything will be shown in Down Detector’s report if you search for your website using its services. There might be even useful messages from your users.
Also, you should check server-side ISP (Internet Service Provider), because there could be some issues. Your hosting service provider could not know about such problems or even be ignorant about them. Sadly, there are some of such hosting providers, but you could simply be the first one to find out about the troublesome situation.
Website monitoring important to prevent website shutdowns
If you have carried out diagnostics, found the source of the problem, and then eliminated it, then you must take preventive measures to deal with such situations faster. Yes, you literally must set up monitoring routines to conduct detailed diagnostics in a timely manner. And those monitoring procedures must be carried out constantly. Because only this way you will be able to maintain your website’s stability and accessibility at the highest possible level.
As a webmaster (or a website owner, if you don’t have one), you can set up a wide range of tools to deal with the website monitoring routines yourself. But it will be a time-consuming daily task if you don’t have a skilled professional or a team to deal with it separately. Therefore, it will be a more practical decision to approach this task using other methods. Automation of the website monitoring routine is the best solution.
Website monitoring automation solutions
If you need to set up automatic website monitoring, you have two options. First, not so practical and too resource-consuming is to install a hardware monitoring system. But this thing is quite expensive. And on top of it, this way you will really need a skilled webmaster to work on constant monitoring without being distracted by other tasks, such as website promotion or development.
And the other one is to opt-in for an online website monitoring solution like HostTracker. You will be able to instantly know if website down with host-tracker monitor system. Almost like all of its alternatives, this particular service provides access to a variety of tools to its users. But HostTracker’s toolkit is wider and much more versatile. Moreover, it has a lot of additional services. Like instant alert service to notify a webmaster in case of problems with website’s accessibility or performance.
Considering all the above, the best way to react in case your website goes down is to prevent it by setting up a proper website monitoring routine. You can carry out various diagnostic procedures manually, of course. But only when you just created your website and have no time to deal with setting up a proper monitoring sequence. But it is important to understand that the sooner you do this, the easier time you will have later if something happens. So, it is better to set up a monitoring routine (preferably automated) then to deal with diagnostic tasks every time your website goes down.