Maximize Uptime On A Personally Hosted Website
For those of us who host our own websites, we know how much of an ungrateful task it can be. Nobody says anything when the site is up and running just fine, but the second it experiences a problem, we all know where to look for the complaints (i.e.: your inbox). It ends up resulting in lost customers/viewers and a decreased sense of reliability by those who consistently view your website. If you want to take action to prevent some of the biggest issues from arising and wreaking havoc, then please consider the following tips that will help you maximize your website’s uptime and prevent unnecessary crashes.
Remove the Troublemakers
Two of the biggest problems for individuals hosting their own websites are email and DNS services. These services are (sometimes) integral to your site’s success and can be easy to setup and get running, but to keep them up and manage them effectively may cause recurring problems for the server they’re on and hence, your website. By outsourcing these tasks to another server, you can eliminate the chance of these services interfering with your site’s performance and uptime. Rackspace works wonders for email hosting and sites like Verisign and easyDNS will give you help with your DNS needs.
Monitor the Status
One of the biggest contributors to downtime on many websites is the lack of being aware of the situation. There are plenty of programs that can be setup on your server that will send out alerts to your email whenever an outage occurs, which will help minimize the amount of time your website is offline. If you have part of your site hosted on your own server and other parts through a hosting company (as suggested above), there may be tools available on the hosting company’s end that will automatically alert you at no extra cost.
Hire An Expert
If you manage multiple sites and need constant, professional monitoring and service, then you may want to consider contracting with a professional to make sure that uptime is maximized. Even if you are notified of an outage, if you are nowhere near a computer or applicable device, you will not be able to do anything about it. You can hire someone who will maintain your site in times of outages for a very small fee and have peace of mind in the process. Always be sure to verify beforehand whether or not the company in question is worth the price. There are many review sites and forums on the web that will help you determine this.
When There’s an Outage
Often times, we can tell what specifically is causing the problem by examining the affected ports on the server. Pingler offers a tool known as the Website Status Checker that will tell you which specific ports are responding, giving you the knowledge to figure out what services are currently down on your website. It scans all of the types of ports that you typically check during a site outage (HTTP, FTP, POP3, Secure Shell, DNS, WHOIS), and many more. It’s free to use and makes figuring out what’s going on a lot easier.