Few things can be more frustrating when dealing with your website than finding out it is not working properly. Having a website down means your customers cannot access information about your business. As a company who services websites ever day, nothing is more important to us. But, when you get an error, is the website really down or something else at work?
It is important to note that the internet can produce lots of different kinds of errors, and most of them have nothing to do with your website or your hosting. For example, some common errors include:
- Connectivity issues
- Network outages
- Domain name problems
- Security mitigation and attacks
- Server problems
- Website and database errors
On that list, only the last two are related specifically to your hosting or website. In fact, even server problems that take your website down aren’t always something that can be resolved quickly. DDoS attacks and network outages have been known to take down websites and hosting companies entire regions of the country. In most cases, it can be difficult to tell what is actually the root of your problem.
As a result, diagnosing problems can be a nightmare. But, there are a few simple tests you can try before contacting your hosting provider or your website maintenance company.
Step 1: Check other websites.
One of the first things to test is your connection to the internet. This may sound overly simplistic, but it happens. Go to Google.com or some other website unlikely to be down. If you can get there, at least you know your internet connectivity is ok. If not, probably time to call IT.
Step 2: Check the type of error.
There are lots of different errors you will encounter online including a few of these:
If you can reach the website but get an error that reads 500, 404 or something similar to Error Establishing a Database Connection, that is likely the website or the server. If it is one of the others, it could be a number of things, which might include the hosting server, but perhaps not. Most importantly, you’ll have information to give to your hosting provider or website maintenance support.
Step 3: Check your website using a different network.
One of the most common problems we see is people who are unable to access their own website on an internal office network only to discover that it works fine for everyone else. This is typically due to a change to how the domain name is handled on your network, sometimes because of a change in security by your IT support staff. The easiest way to get off your network is by using your phone and disconnecting it from the wi-fi in your office or home. That will allow you to test the website on a completely different network.
Step 4: Try this website.
As the name implies, you input your website domain name and it checks to see if you have a website down problem or if it is just your network. It’s a remarkably handy service and provides additional information for you and your host or website maintenance provider.
Step 5: Contact your provider.
When in doubt, call or email your website hosting or website maintenance provider. Give them all the information you have gathered through steps 1 through 4. Believe me, they will appreciate it. From there, they can diagnose the problem and find out what has happened to take your website down and get you back up and running quickly.
Armed with a little bit of knowledge, you can make your own job and the jobs of your vendors much easier and keep your website running smoothly.
Did you know that Site Mender provides hosting and website maintenance services for businesses in Houston, Texas and across the country? Our customers love our reliable server network, fast response time and friendly customer service.