10 Things to do while your Website is Down

Screen Shot of Digg Website Down

Once upon a time I hosted a blog on a server with a company who shall remain nameless. One morning I woke up, grabbed that essential first cup of coffee, and flicked on the PC to make sure my time-stamped blog entry had posted over night. Imagine my surprise – my panic – and my subsequent shock when I saw the dreaded 404 error page staring back at me. It was screaming, “Your server is down! Your server is down!” Meanwhile, I could feel my stomach sinking, my hands getting sweaty – the anger levels boiling under the surface.

I emailed customer service, but they wouldn’t have answered quickly enough. So I picked up the phone to call customer service and spent 45 minutes on hold – while at the same time clicking the refresh button on the browser every 30 seconds in the hopes that my baby would reappear. It didn’t, and the poor girl on the other end of the line could only say, “I’m sorry – we’re working on it. It’s on our end, and we’re doing the best we can.”

“Will all of my information still be in tact when it comes back up?” I managed to spit out? “Yes, it will be there. We don’t anticipate any problems.” I asked how long it would take. She didn’t know.

Needless to say, I didn’t believe her. I continued in my hypervigilant state, refreshing the browser more times than I could count and futilely attempting to log into an administration page I knew would never load. If only I had known there were more productive things I could have been doing with my time while waiting for the server to grace me with its functionality.

So your website is down. What now?

10. Follow up with your Hosting Provider

Because, really, you’re site should be very important to them and they’re going to jump through hoops to make you happy. Or not. Fixing the problem is your host’s responsibility. Holding your host accountable for statuses is yours. Someone with a less important problem might just take their attention away. And, ah, you’ll feel so much better.

9. Search for Hosting Reviews

This isn’t the first time you’ve had trouble with your server and it probably won’t be the last. There just may be a few better and even cheaper hosts out there. Of course, when your server comes back up you’ll decide that moving your blog isn’t worth the effort, but at least it’ll give you a point of reference to compare just in case.

8. Create New Content to Publish when your Site comes back.

Open up good old Microsoft Word or whatever on your desktop and get busy writing blog entries, web content pages or fire up your favorite graphics editor. This way you’ll be able to post them when your server comes back up. Better yet, write a blog entry about the trauma you experience when your server went down. Your readers will love it!

7. Write a Guest Post for a Friend’s Blog

Writing a guest post for another blog is great for a couple of reasons. First, you’re helping out a friend by providing valuable content. Second, you’ll draw attention to your name and your own website, creating interest, backlinks, and hopefully traffic.

6. Troubleshoot the outage.

It’s possible that there isn’t really a server outage. Perhaps you did something before you shut down the night before that caused your website to malfunction. Use your favorite network tool to troubleshoot the outage and determine if there is something you can fix to get your site back up and running a little quicker.

5. Go to one of those other hosts and start a second site.

A minisite can help support your labor of love site when you get it back and you’ll have something to work on if the server ever goes down again. Of course, you might want to work on it in the meantime as well. It’s up to you, though – and it will help you kill the time you’re wasting today.

4. Work on some of your other projects.

I know it’s tough to work when your children are sick, but leaving it all sit until your site gets better isn’t going to help. Focus on the others so that they don’t suffer from neglect in the meantime.

3. Work on your social networking campaign.

Visit other blogs, catch up on your forum posting, and socialize on other websites. Just ignore the fact that the link you leave to your blog won’t work if it’s clicked on today. A little venting won’t hurt.

2. Suspend your PPC campaigns.

This is actually very important. You’re still going to have to pay for clicks If you are running a PPC campaign that is supposed to send traffic to your site, even if your site is down. Log into your account and suspend the campaign until the site is back to normal.

1. Forget about it.

Obsessing about outages produces zero results. You weren’t actually meant to get anything done today. Turn the computer off and find something else to do – take a walk, read a book, go back to bed. It’s not going to happen. Try again tomorrow.

The odds of your lame host permanently losing your website content somewhere on the vast internet are slim to none. When the server comes back up, your site will most likely be there and you can resume life as usual. Until then, you might as well take a break and relax. You’ll have your work cut out for you when the host comes back to life.

JennG

JennG writes about online business, social media and websites.

1 comment

  1. This is an awesome post. One too many times I’ve been working on a site then it goes down. I usually give the host 20 minutes before contacting them to get an ETA.

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