Whether you’re operating a small blog or a large scale website, chances are that you’ve experienced some downtime at one point or another. For most website owners, this is incredibly frustrating because during this time, visitors aren’t able to access your site, and that can be a big problem. Even regular readers to your blog can become frustrated and never come back again. Even with that said, the biggest frustration above anything else may be that it’s often hard to identify the causes of why a website is down. Anything from malicious hackers to server issues can cause a website to go dark, and for an unknown amount of time too. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons why a website might go down.

To start with, unreliable hosting is without a doubt one of the most frequent causes of website downtime. There are many budget hosting companies that advertise low rates, but that comes at a price—and that is the availability of your website. Although they often advertise 99% uptime, budget hosts frequently struggle to meet even 70% uptime. This is not to say that expensive hosts don’t have issues too, but they are more frequently seen in budget hosts because they “oversell” the space on their servers hoping that not all websites will need the resources at once. Their estimates are frequently wrong, and then you’re left with a website that isn’t consistently up. One reason that people don’t often notice this with budget web hosts is because they don’t have a system in place to monitor uptime and downtime. There are a number of third-party solutions available for a reasonable rate that can help you get a handle on this problem, and even approach a web host about a refund or discount when their uptime falls below the specific number in their service-level agreement.

Another reason that websites are sometimes down is because of outside threats like hackers. Whether it’s to take control of your email server, or to manipulate other aspects of your site, malicious tampering can cause a lot of database errors and other problems with the way your website communicates with the server. Sometimes an extremely slow connection from the server to the DNS can be a cause of your site being down as well. In order to make sure this isn’t the problem, it’s sometimes a good idea to run a web site speedtest if you are suspect that connectivity issues might be part of the problem.

Sometimes a site can go down because of other reasons, such as a plugin conflict in WordPress, a sudden surge in traffic, or even an error by the website owner where they’ve made a coding error that causing a conflict with the site’s files. Hopefully now you have a good idea of some of the basic and most common causes of website downtime. Check back soon as we’ll be authoring a number of other posts on this blog that can help to educate you on more performance-based issues! Stay tuned!