Top 3 Reasons Your Website Goes Down

Is your website working right now? How do you know?

Sometimes, websites just crash - especially if there is a lot of traffic or (unfortunately) if a site is hacked. But what do you do when your website keeps going down? There are a handful of things can be affecting your site, which is why it’s so important to start monitoring it. Once you know when your site goes down, you can start troubleshooting why.

After all, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” - Peter Drucker

You can’t just assume that your site is working all the time just because your hosting company says it is.  You can’t expect that they will notify you if your site isn’t loading fast, hacked or even working!

The good news is that there are three main reasons why a normal website goes down - and most of the time they are easily fixed! Check out this list and, when you notice your site goes down, make sure to check each area of your site to make sure it’s functioning like it should.

Load Speed Makes a Website Go Down

If a server tries to request access to your site and it takes too long, visitors may get a “Server Timeout” error, or an Error 408 message. Essentially, this just means it took too long for your site to load and the server is not going to wait any longer.

Reasons this happens:

  • Your server is too slow - most people expect load times within 2500 ms or 2.5 seconds
  • Server maintenance, which you should be notified of in advance by your provider
  • Your server has to make too many connections, and one of those connections is down or overloaded
  • Your site is too “heavy” with files, making it hard to load the request

File Errors or Plugin Issues Can Cause Site Crash

Your website is full of lines of code, so if anything goes wrong - even on a tiny scale - it can cause your website to crash or load improperly. This is especially common when people build sites themselves using prebuilt themes and plugins.

Reasons this happens:

  • You haven’t updated to the newest version of your theme or hosting site
  • You’re using too many or old plugins
  • Image or style folders start overloading your site
  • You’ve inserted new code somewhere recently

You’ve Been Hacked

Unfortunately, hacking does happen. But it can happen in a variety of ways, rather than the total hijacking most of us think it is. Hackers can:

  • Change small bits of content (including links or parts of your blog)
  • Overload your network with traffic to make a whole system of websites crash (called a Denial of Service attack or DoS)
  • Record information from malware attacks from downloaded materials on your computer

Knowing When Your Website Goes Down

Of course, when your website crashes, the first question you have is “How did this happen?” But the real question you should be asking is “When did this happen?” You hurt your reputation with visitors and with search engines when your website isn’t working, and that only gets worse as time goes on.

That’s why the best way to prevent your site from going down is to start monitoring it. A website monitoring service will track things like load speed, keywords, and percent changes (hacks) on your site every 15 to 60 minutes - all day, every day. And if you don’t have the time or know how to fix the issues that arise, a great webmaster will make sure that your site doesn’t go down anymore!