Earlier today while looking for something interesting to blog about, I navigated over to Web Hosting Talk to see what people were talking about. Much to my surprise, the blog wrote itself.
Web Hosting Talk is down for the count! Literally, the website is offline as a new website is in the process of being launched.
Currently, the main page of the popular discussion forum says it’s “Coming Soon” and reassures visitors, “A new site is on its way!”
I can’t help but point out the irony.
A website where thousands of resellers congregate to discuss methods of optimizing their web hosting infrastructures to prevent down time is completely offline. We can only speculate why Web Hosting Talk would not re-launch their website in a test environment and migrate over to a live version once finished but going offline in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the week is never a good thing… even if your website is a discussion forum being updated in real time.
One refresh and I got their error page that you can view below:
Now please don’t get confused about this post. It is not my intention to bury the top web hosting discussion site on the Internet. My intention is to point out just how detrimental downtime can be to your business. In fact, there is nothing worse than downtime. When your hosting infrastructure goes down, you can literally just watch any and all profits go right out the door.
Preventing downtime at all costs is essential. It’s one of the biggest reasons I love cloud web hosting.
Prior to moving all of my properties to the cloud, I found myself constantly fighting my web server. Literally any change — big or small — would usually result in some type of downtime. Time where my visitors would navigate to the website and get nothing.
The majority of my day is spent figuring out ways to get people on my properties. Whether it’s developing and executing a marketing plan or creating quality content people will find useful and link to on their social pages. I want people — as many as people — on my websites at all time. There is nothing more frustrating than getting the visitor and being unable to serve them.
The cloud makes it easy to scale on-demand, prepare for high trafficked events and gives me the diversity to utilize the vast resources of my hosting infrastructure. Our goal at NameHero.com is to provide affordable cloud web hosting for everyone. Whether it’s to a reseller looking for an advantage in the crowded web hosting space or a blogger looking to utilize modern day resources to provide a pleasant experience to their readers.
Regardless, the cloud is the way to go. Preventing downtime and boosting performance are just two of the reasons. I find the cloud to be more secure, more diverse and easier to operate than anything traditional web hosting can offer.
As for our friends at Web Hosting Talk, let’s look at ways we can prevent downtime during a website relaunch:
1. Set up a test environment for new designs
Clone your website and launch it on a subdomain. Make all of the tweaks you need before switching it to the live version of the property. Use this to test issues that could arise. I realize not everything can be moved over in the test environment but do this to minimize any problems that could arise once the switch is made.
2. Perform major upgrades at odd times
You know your website better than I do, so I can’t tell you a time to perform an upgrade. But if there is a chance of downtime, do it at a time when there won’t be many people on the website. I usually perform major upgrades on early Sunday mornings. The time period between 2 AM EDT – 4 AM EDT on Sunday morning is very slow for my properties. If there is even a slight chance of downtime, I hold whatever operation it is until this time period.
3. Monitor downtime
I use the services at Pingdom.com to monitor downtime. They send me alerts when there is an issue and email me a report of downtime every month. Your goal is 100% uptime and if it’s not, you need to target what’s causing the downtime and proactively take the measures necessary to prevent it. I like Pingdom because it’s a third party service with their sole focus being performance monitoring. And it’s free.
4. Always take a backup
This one is hard for me. I don’t know why I’m so stubborn but I like to make changes without taking a backup. Almost every time I fail to backup before I make changes, something always goes wrong and I spend more time trying to fix what I messed up than what it was I was trying to do in the first place. Please, from experience, do not start any task without taking an adequate backup. Even if you’re just making a small change, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Web Hosting Talk is having a bad day. Sure, they may launch a website that is new and innovative and better than ever before but it doesn’t change the fact they’re down hard in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the week. That’s never a good thing and something you should always take measures to prevent. If there is even a chance of downtime, do it at a time when you believe the majority of your audience will be sleeping.