If you’ll you lose customers when your website is slow, you’ll certainly lose customers if your website is down. It’s not just the momentary inconvenience, it’s a matter of trust. Since so many financial transactions occur online, the consumer is always wary of anything “off” in their preferred shopping websites. It’s quite easy to just click on someone else’s website that’s up and running.

If your website design is strong and built on a sturdy server, you shouldn’t normally have to think about its reliability. However, after a big PR push or lots of attention, an increased volume can wreak havoc on server set-ups that are geared toward a much less trafficked site.

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Your expectation from your website host should be an uptime of 99.95%. This means the maximum downtime you should expect is 43 seconds a day. And unless you are Amazon or FunnyCatVideos.com, your users likely won’t notice.

This is the industry standard that most websites should be aiming for.

There’s never a 100% guarantee that your website will remain up and running (there is no way to predict natural disasters like floods and tornadoes that can take down a server hub) but there are a few key things you should ask your web developer/web host about to ensure that your website is as stable as possible.


1. Zero downtime deployment
Traditionally, when you launched a new website or service, there’d be downtime with it. But now with continuous integration and deployment, you can achieve zero-downtime deploys.

The goal is to establish a consistent and automated way to build, package, and test applications. With consistency in the integration process in place, teams are more likely to commit code changes more frequently, which leads to better collaboration and fewer crashes.

2. Release management and testing
Websites can crash because of someone going in and tinkering with the code. Meticulously testing new versions of the website after they’ve been updated should be a part of your developer’s creed.

3. Scalable infrastructure
Along with building applications so that they can scale, they also need to make sure that the infrastructure of the website can deal with spikes in traffic. With auto-scaling, you can scale up or scale out PaaS infrastructure, ensuring additional resources. These increases are based on agreed thresholds or CPU usage or memory. This means you only pay for this additional resource when it is required.

4. Monitoring
Proactive and continuous monitoring is needed to allow for quick action when something unexpected happens such as a hacker attack or other kind of emergency.

Uptime monitoring means constantly pinging the server, and if it doesn’t get a response within a certain threshold (a few seconds), the website is down and can instantly alert everyone.

if there’s an error with an application, you’ll want to receive a notification immediately detailing the stack trace and source of the issue.

If memory usage exceeds its threshold, you’ll want an alert.

You must check the software that powers your website. Older versions could have bugs which eventually lead to website crashes.

Another important thing that you need to do is to check the performance of your website, especially when it’s under high traffic.

The test results could help in deciding what needs to be improved upon, and if you need to increase your server’s capacity.

5. Keep it up-to-date
When your website crashes, it may be because it could not cope anymore (and it might be outdated). Regular updates are critical.

6. Run website tests
Website scalability is always a mystery, and many businesses are learning the hard way; more so, when their websites could not handle the massive surge of traffic. Today, there are a lot of cloud testing tools that allow you to create multiple connections on your website all at once.

Furthermore, there are also free app testing tools for businesses that sell products through an app.

You could run tests beforehand each year to ensure that your web host is providing you with the load handling you received in the previous years.

7. Regional redundancy
Cloud infrastructure is globally distributed into regions. It’s rare, but potentially an entire region could go down, particularly in the event of a disaster. In order to prevent your website from going down with it, you can build in regional redundancy or failover to another region.

8. Caching policies
Another important failsafe to have in place in the event of extreme or unexpected increases in traffic are “caching” policies.

Dynamic website acceleration can cache the entire front-end/rendered mark-up of a website. This means that, rather than requests hitting the actual application’s infrastructure, they hit a cache service instead. This ensures that you can handle incredibly high volumes of traffic without the website crashing.


Most of us take it for granted that our go-to websites and apps will work when we want them to, but there’s a considerable amount of effort that goes on behind the scenes to make that happen.

And while it may seem excessive to some, it costs a lot more to scramble to get something into place in the event of an emergency, than it does to have it as part of your foundation and processes from the beginning.

Not to mention the costs of losing potential sales and trust when a loyal customer can’t access a crucial service when they need it.

Do it right from the start and maintain it along the way.

A global team of digerati with offices in Washington, D.C. and Southern California, we provide digital strategy, digital marketing, web design, and creative for brands you know and nonprofits you love.

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