What Should You Do If Your Website Crashes?

Author: Gina Hall | January 19, 2016

Recently, the websites of the New York Stock Exchange, United Airlines and The Washington Post suddenly and inexplicably crashed, effectively shutting down each until they could back online.

What would happen to your business if your website crashed? What would you do? Here’s a list of things to consider if such a nightmare scenario happens.

Check to See If It Really Has Crashed
Whether you’re the one logging onto a dead site, or you’ve just gotten word, the first thing to do is to find out for sure if it is really down. Try refreshing the page immediately. If it still isn’t working, try a major site to see if it’s up. Try checking a second computer — ideally one in a different building that has separate connectivity — to determine if it’s simply a problem with the one.

Grab Your Internet Information
What? You don’t have your connection details filed away in a responsible place? This would be a good time to do that, in other words, before your site goes down. You should have on file your IP address, control panel location, login information and usernames and passwords.

Contact Your Hosting Company
Once your host company is aware of the problem, they can get to work on it right away. But that begs the question…

Know Who Your Hosting Company Is
This may not be an important piece of knowledge on a daily basis, but when you do need it, you will really need it. Think of it as your emergency contact information.

Pull Ads
Hopefully, your site will only be down a moment and then, it’s back to business as usual. But if the turnout is not so rosy, consider the money you’re spending on digital ads that are meant to drive traffic to your site. If you’ve got a big ad campaign running on autopilot — Google AdWords, for instance — and people are clicking, only to find themselves at a dead website, that’s not only money out the window, it is bad publicity.

Use Other Technologies
Use social media to the extent you can. Anything you would be doing on your site that can be done through Facebook or Twitter go ahead and do. Furthermore, you can use social media to tell customers how to reach you while your site is down. Worst-case scenario, get on the phone or use email if you really need to get in touch during the downtime.

Have a Backup Site
Consider creating a second version of your site without all the bells and whistles for emergencies. Your hosting company will likely be able to establish a temporary domain name redirect to funnel them to your backup site while construction on the main site is underway.

Consider an Uptime Monitoring Service
An uptime monitoring service won’t prevent your site from crashing, but it will alert you when (let’s be optimistic and say “if”) it goes down. The sooner you know about the problem, of course, the sooner you will be able to address it. Also, be sure that any alerts you receive are not sent to an email on the same provider as your website.

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