Getting a call that your website is down or broken can turn a good day bad, really quickly. A site crash during high-traffic hours can impact your business in many ways: you lose traffic, your customers may seek out other competitive services, ecommerce sites won’t be able to convert visits into sales, and your company will appear less professional to your target audience! But with a little work and a little foresight, you can avoid emergency website repair.
Just keep these things in mind:
1. Your site will age. If you want advanced functionality, you’re probably using third-party software solutions and plugins, and they aren’t ever-fresh. Technology changes, bugs are fixed, security holes are found and patched, and reliable companies push out updates to their services to keep you protected. If you’re not getting these updates, or if you’re using solutions that have become deprecated, even a website which was working perfectly yesterday can go belly-up tomorrow. If you’re running any kind of ecommerce site, keeping your plugins updated is doubly important: many important patches and bugfixes are pushed out to solve vulnerabilities against hackers. You don’t want to be the next news story about customer data being stolen.
2. Servers go down. Whether due to natural disaster, scheduled maintenance, or just the quirks of computers, the servers that host your website may not have 100% uptime. Sometimes, the cause is more malicious: hacking, hijacking, and DDOS attacks against your website or server hosting company. Whatever the cause, it can be a good plan to have a server failover solution – or, at the least, a backup page letting customers know that the site is down, and giving them a different way to get in touch with you while you conduct emergency website repair.
3. Security is complicated! Depending on how you set up your site, you may have a lot of user accounts floating around – both public-facing and internal administrative access. If you don’t have proper security, a rigorous password policy, and a role-based permissions system, you may have people getting into systems they’re not supposed to access. Once that happens, you don’t need malice to bring things down: ignorance of the systems and innocent accidents can do just as much damage. Watch out to make sure that plugins you install aren’t getting more permissions than they need, and that user accounts only access what they’re supposed to.
4. Bureaucracy causes blunders. If youv’e forgotten to renew a domain or hosting, that’s human error at its finest – when the problem exists between the keyboard and chair. And what happens when the one person on your team who knows the login information for your server hosting leaves the company? Even worse, what happens if that domain information was tied to a personal, not a company, email? Securely document login information and have a policy for employee changeover, or some of your emergency website repair may just be cleaning up after your own absentmindedness!
Server monitoring tools, like Google Webmaster, can keep an eye on your site and let you know if anything seems wrong. You should also make sure your team is knowledgable about what goes into your site, and how to keep everything updated and running. And if you do face emergency website repairs, don’t panic – but do take note of what went wrong, so that maybe you can avoid it in the future.