In today’s world, there’s no such thing as business hours. To serve your users 24*7, a lot of effort goes into maintaining the website and keeping the business online. But what about website downtime? Have you considered them? Unplanned downtime poses a crucial impact on your sales and revenue. No matter what you are selling, if you are unavailable to your customers, they will go to your competitors. You don’t want that, do you?

Downtime, also known as the “outage duration” is the term that refers to the period when a system is functionally unavailable for use. Even Facebook and Twitter experience occasional outages, but if you are getting a lot of it, you should be concerned.

Today, we will talk about downtime. What causes it, how it impacts SEO, and most importantly, how to prevent it.

What Causes Downtime?

Your website can be down for several reasons. The good news is you can fix website downtime as long as you know what’s causing it. Even better, prevent it from happening in the future.

More than half of the time, your website is down due to poor quality website hosting. If server downtime is your regular visitor, it’s time to switch to a new hosting provider. Try finding a hosting service that has a solid uptime record and specializes in the tool you use to build your website, i.e. Joomla, WordPress, etc. Not only will they ensure you 99.99% uptime, but they will also monitor the performance of your site and notify you beforehand of any possible downtimes.

CMS Issues like database errors or installing incompatible extensions can also lead to downtime. From DDoS attacks, malicious hackers, lack of maintenance & backups to DNS issues, there are various reasons why your website could be down.

How Website Downtime Impacts Your SEO and Search Rank?

GoogleBot indexes your website by crawling into your website pages. What happens when your site greets it with an internal server error? The crawler tries to reach your website throughout the day to check if it is up again. Meanwhile, your site will experience a temporary drop in Google search result rankings. But if the website is down for days, Google will completely drop your site off from its index.

The most obvious impact of downtime is it keeps your potential customers from using your site. Not only does it affect the sales, but every time a visitor clicks away from your site, the website bounce rate increases. A negative bounce rate will again rank you down in the search index. One bad thing leading to another, awful, isn’t it?

How Much Downtime is Negligible

Sometimes downtime is inevitable, you can not completely eliminate them. Sites can experience planned downtime due to maintenance. Fortunately, Google understands this. There should not be any impact on your search rank if your website is down for just a day. They usually take about days to weeks to remove a site from its index and smaller sites are quicker to be removed than the larger ones.

How to Handle a Downtime

Web monitoring services do not prevent downtime, but they will monitor your website and inform you during a downtime. This way, you can handle the downtime by showing an appropriate error message page to the users. Or, use your social media handles to inform your customers why your site is down and when it will be up again.

Make sure to issue a 503 error to indicate that the downtime is temporary. Talking about an appropriate error message page, make sure to issue a 503 - Service Unavailable error whenever your site is down. A 503 error indicates the server will be back up shortly and is under maintenance.

Backing up your site’s content and data both locally and in the cloud should be your regular practice. This way, when your site goes down unexpectedly, you can quickly restore the recent files (if necessary) when it is up again.

What to do Ahead of a Downtime

Website downtimes are extremely stressful, and one of the biggest challenges site owners face. However, if you plan and act accordingly, you can make it less stressful.

Deploy a Backup Server: Most of the hosting providers will notify before scheduled maintenance (downtime). Meanwhile, you can launch a backup server to stay online. For example, DigitalOcean offers several regions to deploy servers. When one region is down, another region is still up. So, deploy a server temporarily on that region and keep your site online. Once the native server is back, then you can change your DNS to come-back to your origin server.

Employ a Content Delivery Network: CDN is a geographically distributed network of caching servers that store a cached version of the site’s content. So, when a website is down, in some cases they can act as a buffer to continue to deliver content to the users. We highly recommend employing a CDN to prevent downtime!

Get reliable web hosting and web monitoring: We have mentioned this before, we will mention it again. Get yourself a reliable web hosting that has a solid uptime record and can handle heavy traffic. Going cheap is only going to make you suffer excessive downtime.

How to Optimize Your Website’s Speed

Well, speed might not be the direct cause of downtime. But slow speed can make your visitors click away from your site and increase the bounce rate. If your website is slowing down unexpectedly, it can also be an indicator that the site is going to crash soon. In any case, slow websites will cost you money and damage your reputation. You can easily optimize the speed of your site by:

  • Optimizing the size of images on your website
  • Minimizing the number of JavaScript and CSS files
  • Optimizing database in CMS
  • Using caching methods
  • Choosing the right hosting option for your needs
  • Avoiding flash
  • Optimizing every aspect of the website

Wrapping Up

Downtime can have a detrimental impact on your business. It can make you lose revenue, create a negative impression, and impact your SEO & search rank massively. But it’s not all dull and gloom, with proper tools and preparation, you can prevent them or get your site back up as fast as possible. Apart from reducing downtime, there are other crucial steps you should take like URL optimization, use SEO extensions, etc. to make your site SEO friendly. 

We hope the article answered all your questions on downtime. Did we miss anything? Visit our blog for more tips and inspirations, new releases, regular updates,  tutorials, and more. Good day!