Once in a blue moon, the unimaginable happens, Facebook goes down. That’s a reality check. The message is clear. Even Facebook can’t save itself from a downtime. If that is so, the only thing left for you to do is plan to minimize the damage when a downtime occurs.
There is no web hosting company that will guarantee 100 percent uptime simply because it can’t. No matter how sophisticated or big the company may be, it is still at the mercy of power companies. When the power is out, no technology that relies on electricity will work. And no matter how advance a country may be where the host is physically located, power outage happens.
This is the first thing you need to understand. From here you will be able to put a strong plan in place that may not avoid downtime but, at least, minimize the damage it may cause your business.
Know how much you will lose
Know your financials:
- How much are you making per hour or per minute
- Approximate traffic volume daily
- Sources of traffic
- Days of the week or month where there are more visitors
- Most visited pages
When you know these things, you will be able to plan faster and more efficiently what you can do to curb your losses when your site is down. For example:
- You’d know how much you will lose per minute your site is down
- You may set up an ebay or Amazon store if your most visited pages are your product pages
- You may set up social network sties as an alternative to your contact page
In other words, knowing how your business runs will allow you to plan for back up systems
These alternatives are important, especially if you are competing with bigger and more established sites with more money who can afford to host their own sites and have multiple sites.
It’s all about the Web host
The first step is to find a good web host. The most popular is GoDaddy and HostGator but neither provides personal service. That means you are left at the mercy of “available” customer service representatives and email tickets that will be answered in 48 hours.
If you have customers visiting your site for the first time and your site is down and has nowhere to go, they’ll click on your competition’s site.
You need to find a web host that will provide you:
- Immediate support when there are problems with your site
- Anticipate problems and set up solutions even before the problem strikes
- Have more than one layer of preventive measures
What are your options?
As mentioned, you need to find a host that will work with you in preventing downtimes or minimizing the business impact of downtimes. As a general rule, look for sites that:
- Have a great personal customer service, one that actually answers calls and has a less than an hour of response time for downtime concerns
- Have redundancy on their system
- Provide complete assistance, from hosting to web development
When your web host offers all those, you can be rest assured that they have a sophisticated service. On your end, there are some more things you can do to ensure you will minimize the damage on your business when there downtimes.
Backups should be done every day and your data must be stored in multiple servers including a server that’s completely outside the main servers.
You should test your hosting company’s backup capacity. You can do this by asking them to do a back up today and then ask them to upload it tomorrow. That way, you will see just how their system can manage and will adjust in case your data get erased.
You can also do a backup of all your files. Use a free service like Filezilla to store everything.
As previously mentioned, you need to know your online business. You can ask for static pages whenever there is a downtime informing customers where to go or what to do when the page is unavailable. That’s better than the standard error message.
You may also reroute certain pages to alternative sites. For example, setting up your own ebay and amazon store might prove useful when you are down and someone wants to buy from your.
You may also offer a reward for people who want to do something on your site but couldn’t because it is down. Entice them to come back by offering something if they do.
Know all hosting providers but don’t rely on image, test them.
GoDaddy and Hostgator may be the most popular but there are so many important things the company does not provide that are essential for any kind of business especially for those who rely on the internet.
Prestige Technologies is known for providing personal technical assistance and redundant back up systems.
You should also check out other hosting providers and ask for a test run before making a purchase.
At the far end of the hosting spectrum would be a dedicated physical server, which is necessary for high-volume sites receiving 1 million hits or more daily. Leasing a dedicated server may cost you $300 or more monthly.
You should be informed of what you need
Your hosting company must be able to provide accurate and efficient advice to the kind of hosting you need and other technical requirements. There are different kinds of hosting. There is shared hosting, dedicated and others. Your hosting company must be able to look at your business and know what exactly you need.
Not many hosting companies offer that level of personalization.
In gist, you need to look for a hosting company that will give your personal services. GoDaddy and Hostgator have been efficient but they are not the kind of company that will give you a call or talk with your lengthily when you have a problem. Their default is to point you to their site, their FAQs and their email form.
Look for a hosting company that will go beyond that.