One of the most appealing aspects of online businesses is that they are always on, always are connected and are always ready to serve the needs of their customers. Or at least that is the expectation that users have, but the reality is that a lot of websites don’t always have infinite uptime.
Websites can and do experience downtime, which is the equivalent of your favorite store, restaurant or bakery being closed when you need it most. This can be extremely frustrating for the end user visiting your website and can damage your brand’s reputation and credibility.
As a business and website owner, you may not always be aware or know why your website experiences a crash. And how can you when you’re busy running your empire and doing all the other things to keep things going? Your plate is full. There is no reason you should be worried about whether or not your site is indeed online. Instead of doing routine manual checks, you can utilize uptime monitoring tools to do it for you, with services available to you through your hosting provider and hosting plan.
What does this all mean exactly? Well in this article we’re going to outline what Uptime is, the best methods to avoiding downtime, how to use automated monitoring tools from your hosting provider to ensure your website remains online, and a rundown of the best hosting packages that include the best uptimes.
Let’s dive right in.
What is Uptime?
Website uptime or availability is characterized by the length of time that your website is online and functioning properly. Ideally, your website should experience 100% uptime for optimal success. Customers are drawn to online shopping because they can do it from the comforts of their homes at any hour of the night, morning, or day. Commuters enjoy browsing online catalogues to pass the time and most online shopping is done on mobile devices.
Therefore, having close to perfect uptime is crucial to ensuring your bottom-line remains intact and your conversions are high. Great website uptime also aids in bolstering the confidence your customers have in your brand. “A great website is constantly available, 24/7/365.”
The Downside of Website Downtime
Naturally, website downtime is exactly what you don’t want as a business owner. No matter how you slice it, downtime negatively affects your business. Downtime is characterized as your website’s unavailability to users.
There is a myriad of reasons why websites experience downtime or go offline. For example, your server may become overloaded or receive heavy spikes in traffic, or you could have a hardware malfunction. Perhaps you might experience data center problems, or you might have forgotten to renew your domain name registration if it’s not automated for renewal. Sometimes your website goes down because of problems connected to scheduled maintenance, or you could be the unfortunate victim of a hacker or cybercriminal. Regardless of the cause, you need to resolve the problem quickly or better yet have it monitored to prevent it.
But while it is evident that downtime has only downsides, just how exactly does it impact your website and business?
It will lower your SEO
Search engines will notice when your site is inaccessible, and while an infrequent occurrence won’t damage SEO as much, constant downtime will be detrimental to your SEO ranking. If your site isn’t reliable and unable to stay online then search engines will lower your ranking severely.
User Experience (UX) will suffer
We’ve mentioned how website downtime can be frustrating for your users not to mention it can lower your repeat customers. Imagine spending and investing into your website’s design and functionality, in creating compelling content, having beautiful product photos and descriptions only to find that your website isn’t available to customers 99.99% of the time and therefore your traffic takes a nosedive. Your customers will simply head over to the competition that has a much more reliable site.
Your brand will lose credibility
Customers and new visitors to your site will associate downtime with the unreliability of the brand and it will negatively impact your business’s reputation. A website that experiences next to perfect uptime will be reliable in the eyes of their customers and that reliability will transfer to the brand-boosting the overall credibility.
Lowered traffic flow
Naturally, with all the aforementioned being a side effect of website downtime, you will experience major traffic flow issues to your website. In most cases, customers will visit a site for the first time and if the site is down they won’t return. And once downtime impacts SEO then new visitors won’t find your site on search engines because it simply won’t be indexed. You can see a significant drop in traffic when it comes to constant downtime.
With all the other factors of downtime, the most major is definitely profit loss. When everything is compounded your business will suffer greatly in terms of revenue if its main base of operation is unavailable. Your website is your direct line to your customers and if they are unable to connect with your brand, every minute your website is experiencing downtime you are missing an opportunity to build a relationship and convert that customer into revenue. Downtime can cost you greatly. According to a 2014 IDC report, unplanned outages and downtime cost Fortune 1,000 companies between $1.25 billion and $2.5 billion each year.
That is why website monitoring is pivotal for the health of your site and your brand’s credibility is hedged on uptime.
Automated Website Monitoring and Why It’s Important
Website Monitoring involves automated testing, checking and verifying that your website is experiencing excellent uptime or availability, while also tracking server or network performance, track page load times to ensure a fast loading website, and much more.
When a monitoring solution detects an error or failure, it will typically send alerts by email, text, or chat, and that is the beauty of automation. These notifications frequently include diagnostic information that enables administrators to troubleshoot the issue faster. Your website’s data history is compiled into various reports including graphs that help you assess your site’s performance. The information can even hold your hosting provider accountable if it falls short of its uptime guarantee or service level agreement.
Internal website monitoring is services you most commonly see with hosting providers, involves tracking important metrics that give an overall picture of your server health and performance: disk space, memory usage, CPU load, and response times.
External monitoring differs however in checking performance issues across the entire internet and, often, all the way to end users of your site.
The best option to ensure site performance stays at the bar of quality is to sign up for a monitoring service with your hosting provider.
Web Hosting Solutions with the Best Uptimes
If you want a smart hosting solution that guarantees 99.99% uptime with monitoring, then your best bet is going with virtual private servers. VPS hosting offered by reliable hosting providers such as Hosting.co.uk packs a mad punch when it comes to hosting solutions. You get the use of your own virtualized private server within a shared environment ensuring that the costs are kept low while the benefits are high. Some of those benefits include a fast website because all of the server resources are dedicated to running it so lightening speeds are a great side effect. Your website will be optimized to handle high traffic flows and uptime is just about perfect.
Protecting the longevity of your business and its brand is completely hinged on your website’s uptime and the quality of the monitoring tool you employ. Our advice is to make the switch toward a smart hosting solution like VPS hosting which guarantees the gold standard in uptime percentage, and to keep tabs on your website. There is no need to call IT every 5 minutes since using a monitoring service helps to track the overall performance of your site at all times. With a business, time is money! So, don’t let your website lose time or money when it comes to availability.