Why do websites go down?
Small businesses don’t usually have a tech guy. When tech problems arise, it’s usually a call to a brother-in-law, a friend or a trusty Google search that saves the day. But what about when your website goes down? When your “technical issue” is out of your control?
Some of you might have heard about (or have been affected by) the Godaddy.com outage this week. For those that haven’t heard, Go Daddy is the world’s largest internet hosting company and hundreds of thousands of websites (at least) around the world went down, making this a pretty big deal. This outage mostly affected small businesses which can be devastating. Small businesses, especially ones selling goods or services online, depend almost solely on their online presence. Not to mention businesses who depend on potential clients contacting them through their website.
I am the manager at Cyber World, a boutique web host company based in Spokane, Washington. I thought I would put together a little Q & A about why things like this happen, how you can prepare your business and hopefully prevent future issues.
What happened at Go Daddy and why does stuff like this happen?
Well, there are a lot of different challenges web hosting companies face, but it really boils down to the same issues you face on the computer you use at home. Hardware can break, software needs to be set up or updated, network issues and file security.
The question people seem to ask the most is “Was it a hacker?”. It could have been, a member from a group called “anonymous” did accept responsibility for what happened – but the kind of people in “anonymous” are also the kind to fake responsibility for the notoriety.
As it turns out, the issue at Go Daddy was down to internal network problems.
Should I be worried about this happening to my website?
That depends on your web host and whether or not they have in place safeguards (which are expensive) against things failing. Do they have tasks spread across computers so that if one fails the others pick up the slack? Do they have a fast enough internet connection? etc. Go Daddy have done an excellent job of lowering their margins to a point where their customers are happy and the cost of these safeguards is minimized. A smaller company may not be able to run as tight margins so you pay a little more – but there’s less chance of something happening, and your site will be run on faster machines and internet.
In a lot of ways it’s like shopping in a big department store versus a boutique. Both offer you clothes, one is mass produced one is tailor-made, both can be good or bad, both have different characteristics. Some people want cheap hosting that just about gets the job done, some people want to be able to call in and talk to the same person each time.
What should I do if my website goes down?
It can be very stressful when your site is down. But the most important thing is that you communicate with your customers/potential clients that you are aware of the problem, that you are working on fixing it and that you give them a means to contact you. This is where social media comes in. Announce on your Facebook and Twitter the issues you are having, send e-mails to your contacts and make sure you state a way you can be contacted. You should also keep them updated as things progress. And of course contact your web host to see if they are aware of the issue or if it is indeed on their end.
How do I tell if my web host is one of the good ones?
That’s kind of an easy and hard question at the same time. It’s hard because web hosting is a complex beast and it’s difficult to cut through the jargon for a lay person. People don’t usually leave reviews or comments on a web hosting company unless something goes wrong, so it can be a little tricky to trust what you hear online.
I think the best measure of a good web host is the value they place on customer service.
- Are they easy to get a hold of?
- Do they give you the services that you need?
- Do they educate you on the process of setting up a website?
I see all these things as part of my job, it’s my responsibility to relay information to my customers (in a way they can understand) because I know that many small businesses don’t have a tech guy. We are their tech guy! I need to know what I’m talking about because my customers depend on it.
Ok your subtle pitch worked and I want to switch my website to Cyber World, where do I start?
Great! I’d be happy to chat or just elaborate on what I’ve said. You can call my direct line: 509 209 8002 or drop me a mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Our prices are competitive even with the likes of Go Daddy and we give you a whole lot more. Mention this article and we will even thrown in a month for free!
For more information see http://www.cyber-world.com.