If your site went down for what felt like an eternity yesterday (but was only a few hours, in reality) then you probably host your site with Bluehost, HostMonster or HostGator. It just so happens that all three are owned by the same company, Endurance International Group. They certainly failed to live up to their name this week.
I don’t blame you for being frugal with your hosting, these three are popular, relatively reliable options. This very site sits on a Bluehost server as does my writing related site laurievarga.com. Thankfully, I was busy working on client projects all day then met a good friend for tea so I didn’t notice until I checked my stats. Well, that and my husband sent me an e-mail to let me know. Otherwise, I would have thought everyone was out enjoying a beautiful summer day instead of reading my online ramblings.
We’ve come to expect non-stop web connectivity. When your internet connection goes down it’s like you’ve lost a limb. When your website goes down it’s like you’ve lost your shirt – you might actually be losing sales. If nobody visits your site then you have nothing to worry about, but if you just launched a marketing campaign on Wednesday and your site goes down on Friday you might be sweating bullets.
All is not lost, however. There are a few things to remember when it comes to keeping your sanity and keeping your customers happy:
- If your site is sales-heavy and you rely on daily traffic to put bread on the table then get damn good hosting. No one can guarantee 100% up-time but reliability and good customer service come at a price. And that price is not $5/month.
- Keep yourself informed of outages by checking out what’s trending on Twitter if you are having trouble with your site and it lasts for more than an hour. Tech sites are typically better resources than trying to call your host. Many people mentioned they were unable to get through to their hosting provider during the outage.
- Expect downtime. Have a contingency plan like a good book to read if you can’t work on your website. That’s (sort of) a joke but there’s really nothing you can do except reroute your URL to an information page hosted somewhere else. Set up the page with another host and keep it for emergencies to let your devoted fans know what’s going on.
- If you do go down, keep your cool and use it as an opportunity to reach out to your clients and customers by offering a We’re sorry promotion when you’re back online. This can help repair any hard feelings, bring in new sales from people who weren’t even paying attention and make up for lost revenue.
I hope that offers a small dose of consolation. As for me, I’m not selling anything outright so I don’t think my revenue took a hit. There are no hard numbers that I’ve found but this outage affected thousands of websites so if yours was one of them you’re not alone.