Downtime is one of the biggest fears for any web business, and especially if you run an e-store that relies on making sales over the internet. Downtime leads to serious problems, and it can affect your business in many ways. Here is a guide to what it is, why it happens, some the biggest issues it can cause, as well as how to reduce it.
Why Is Downtime Such a Problem?
Downtime is a big problem for web-based businesses because it means no one can use your services or buy your products. If you have a store that goes down, it is essentially like locking the door to your customers and telling them to come back later.
But it’s more than this. It is also a problem for your reputation. If customers cannot trust your site, they may decide that they cannot trust your business to provide the service they need when they need it, and they may turn to one of your competitors instead.
Why Does It Happen?
Dealing with downtime can be a hassle. Downtime occurs for a number of reasons, and it can be split into planned and unplanned downtime. Planned downtime is when a web hosts warns you in advance and provides you with a time and date. This is often due to routine maintenance tasks that they have to carry out.
Unplanned downtime is where the real problems occur. This is where things go wrong unexpectedly, and it could lead to your website going down in the middle of the day when your customers most want to access it.
Recent Downtime Problems that Hit the Headlines
Alertra recently provided some examples of the worst outages in 2015. Some of the worst occurred over the Black Friday weekend, when many websites failed to take into account the surge in traffic. These included the Target website and the HP website, and this will have surely had a big impact on sales.
Even the mighty Facebook suffered from outages in 2015, experiencing three outages in September lasting up to two hours.
How to Reduce Downtime’s Effect on Your Business
The best thing you can do to reduce the downtime of your website is to choose your host carefully. When you choose a host, they will provide you with a figure for how much uptime they will have. It should be high, like 99.9%, which will mean about 10 hours each year of downtime, and this should include scheduled maintenance.
Search for reviews of the host to check their claims, and make sure the host also monitors the server all the time, and ask to see its uptime statistics. Some use multi-server architecture to get nearer to 100% uptime, and this means when one server requires maintenance, it switches to another server.
You could also switch to a cloud-based provider like IBM iSeries hosting, which provides secure hosting for critical applications.
Reduce Downtime for Your Web Business
A certain amount of downtime is inevitable for any business, but that does not mean you should accept too much. Not only is downtime frustrating, but it can cost you sales and future business by affecting your reputation.
It all comes down to choosing a host that will ensure you get the most uptime throughout the year. So start looking for a good host, read up on some online reviews, and ensure you do not suffer from any more downtime than is absolutely necessary.
Jack McDonald is a self proclaimed geek! Currently working for a website hosting company as his day job, with an e-commerce site in the pipeline, Jack also enjoys writing internet/tech related articles.