7 Major Reasons That Websites Crash & What Can You Do To Prevent Them?
A Website crash means that your website either temporarily or permanently went down and wasn’t accessible to anyone trying to visit it. If your own website crashes, then you will incur a lot of financial damage in terms of getting the site back up, and secondly, in the loss of potential leads and conversions you could have got had the site not crashed.
Website crashes also have a very bad impact on your traffic as there is always a downturn in the amount of traffic you get after reviving your site. And this downturn in traffic doesn’t go away easily since the users got a very bad impression of your website.
What Kind Of Websites Are The Most Vulnerable To Crashes?
The probability of your website experiencing a crash depends a lot upon a number of different factors.
- Poor, low quality or no maintenance
- Inexperienced resources working on your website
- Not planning for scalability or for creating redundancy
- Acquiring problematic third-party plugins for your website
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What Impact Can A Website Crash Cause?
As explained earlier, website crashes lead to a bad impression of your business on users and cause a major loss in traffic due to the unplanned downtime.
However, there are other long-term impacts that continue to persist even after your site is back live. The foremost of this include the loss of your rankings on the SERPs. Google is known to penalize those sites heavily that are known to crash, so in such an event, it will automatically downgrade your rankings and they will continue to be there for a very long time, requiring a lot of hard work on your end to get things back to their previous state.
How To Check If My Website Has Crashed?
While the most automatic giveaway of a site having crashed is that it is no longer accessible on its domain name, there are also specialized tools available online through which you can confirm whether your site is live or if it has crashed.
You can use this tool to check this out: https://www.isitdownrightnow.com/
7 Major Reasons That Lead To Website Crashes:
The presence of one or a combination of the aforementioned factors is the primary reason that makes your site vulnerable to frequent crashes.
If you want to significantly lower your chances of experiencing such a catastrophic website crash, you need to know about the 7 major reasons that will most definitely result in a crash.
1. An Unprecedented Spike In Your Website’s Traffic:
Websites cannot accommodate user traffic beyond the amount that they capable to handle. If your website receives an abnormal amount of traffic in a very short span of time, then there will definitely be a crash.
To avoid this from happening, you need to acquire scalable resources from service providers that offer them. Most modern-day websites are now switching to cloud platforms like AWS to acquire this scalability and flexibility in resources. Acquiring scalability will probably increase costs as compared to getting a finite amount of resources to use, but this is a cost you should be willing to pay in order to prevent a crash from taking place.
2. An Issue With Your Hosting Provider:
A hosting provider is an entity that keeps your site online and many top hosting providers promise an excellent uptime, often in excess of 99%. But having said that, hosting providers can go down as well, taking your site down with them as well.
From bad weather conditions to a major malware attack, your hosting provider can experience a wide range of issues that can lead to an outage.
The best way to avoid this is to select a hosting provider based on the good they are at preventing such issues from affecting them. For e.g. a hosting provider that has a large data center will not have any issues in the case of bad weather conditions or malware attacks, since they can cordon off their affected resources and shift websites to other servers that were in place just for this task.
3. Broken Code Lines:
Programming code is the language that makes your website and all of its features work. It’s basically the building block of your website, so if there is an error or an issue with your code, then your website can crash quite easily.
To prevent this, ensure that your website code is either placed on a micro-services architecture so that if one part if being worked on and it does get affected, others can continue on unabated, or only have a skilled developer work on your website’s code at all.
Otherwise, if the code gets broken, it can take hours for you to find out and fix the issue to get your site back live.
A pro tip here, manage website maintenance, especially when it involves working on code, during times when your traffic is at its lowest during the day. This way, even if a crash does occur, you can fix it in time to avoid any major loss during peak hours.
4. Domain Name Expiry:
If you don’t have auto-renewal on for your domain name and it expires, then your website will crash. The domain name is a unique address through which users and search engines reach your site on the web and if it’s no longer active, your website won’t stay alive at all.
If such a thing does occur, immediately head over to your domain name provider and renew your account along with the payment details to get your domain name back up live.
However, this is an issue that’s perhaps the easiest to prevent, because all if takes from you is setting up a reminder through WHOIS to let you know around 3 weeks in advance before your domain name registry gets redundant and expires.
5. Hacker or Malware Attacks:
Websites that do not take care of their security or take very few preventative measures to protect their site are highly vulnerable to hacker attacks or even malware attacks. If the hacker finds a way in, either they will start siphoning data from your website or either get the website to crash all of a sudden.
The same happens in the form of a ransomware attack, where the hacker prevents you from accessing your site unless you pay them. The Wannacry ransomware attack caused hundreds of major websites to crash ranging from the USA to the UK to India, inflicting millions of dollars in damage.
To save yourself from this kind of issue, partner with a WordPress maintenance service provider who can do everything to prevent security loopholes like updating plugins, taking care of security updates, etc. and also revive the website through a specialized back in case of a crash.
6. Unsafe Plugins:
If you are using WordPress to run your site, then you must know about the importance of plugins. Plugins allow a wide range of functionalities to be added to your site including allowing you to do SEO, prevent spam emails, add contact forms, and optimize your site for E-commerce transactions among others.
However, there are a lot of third-party plugins out there that are not secure or stable enough to be added to sites. If you do use them, then the risk of them either damaging or making your site crash increases exponentially.
Secondly, even if you have secure plugins in place, not updating them regularly or properly can also result in crashes.
To ensure that you don’t face such an issue, don’t opt for unstable plugins in the first place and continuously update your secure plugins either yourself or by hiring a third-party WordPress maintenance service provider.
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7. Google Blacklisting Your Site:
While this is not technically a crash in the sense that your website will still be accessible on the internet, but a Google blacklist notice placed before anyone visits your site can have the same kind of detrimental impact on your site as a crash.
This Google blacklist notice appears in the case that the website either has harmful malware or is considered unsafe for users to visit.
If you want your website to stay free from such notices, then consistently monitor your site for malware or any other undue tinkering with your files. If you don’t have a high amount of technical knowledge to conduct such audits, then let a professional website auditor handle this.
The Best Way To Prevent Website Crashes:
A dedicated and experienced team of developers, backend experts, website managers and security professionals working to keep your site secure on a constant basis will most definitely prevent any website crash from taking place.
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If you have an in-house team consisting of all such professionals, then you don’t need to worry much but if you don’t have the capacity to build such a team in-house, then outsourcing website management to a professional maintenance agency can do the same job, probably even at a lesser cost and a better place.
Writing in Days, watching Barca play at nights. Made out of Sarcasm, Vine, and Everything Nice. Sufian is a Content and Inbound Marketing Specialist currently working for WP-Pals. He specializes in search engine marketing and online reputation management, having managed online marketing campaigns for clients from large enterprises to small businesses.