In 2013, Amazon’s site, the largest online retailer, became unavailable for approximately 30 minutes due to unspecified technical issues. During the downtime, users are unable to make transactions with the largest online retail company because an error message said: “Oops! We’re very sorry, but we’re having trouble doing what you just asked us to do. Please give us another chance–click the Back button on your browser and try your request again. Or start from the beginning on our homepage”. The outage causes Amazon to lose $66,240 per minute. (Source: Forbes)
This only shows that downtime happens, even to the giant tech companies. However, some website downtime causes can be prevented. This makes website uptime monitoring a very vital mission of any company’s IT team. By now, you might be considering investing in your website monitoring service. Here are useful and important points to look through in getting the right website monitoring stack for your business in order to get the most of your website uptime monitoring.
1. Get the best server performance software to health check your system aka internal monitoring.
When you get a clear picture of the health of your internal system, you can keep a record of the statistics related to your server’s performance. Through this, you can look ahead and detect the issues that might arise in your website before they actually happen. A good internal website monitoring software can help you check the health of your system by giving you an assessment report on whether the slowing down or site downtime is caused by an issue with your network, coding error, disk space problems, or any other technical failures. Internal monitoring does a thorough check within your firewall to detect the origin of the problem that causes and might cause slow load time or worse the website downtime.
2. Outsource the best external monitoring service to take care of everything outside your firewall aka external monitoring.
In the tech industry, this is tagged as your safety net. An external website monitoring service does a check outside of your corporate firewall and comes to the rescue in cases, you cannot perform internal monitoring due to a down server. The greatest drawback of internal monitoring is that monitoring is only good when everything within your internal network works together. When your server is down, you lose the capability to perform monitoring.
The services offered by outsourced external monitoring are more comprehensive than internal monitoring as they include a wide range of checking and testing the operational integrity of various ports along with the network, URL content, response times, and behavioral patterns. And it keeps working even when your server goes down. It continues to detect problems and diagnoses causes of site interruptions regardless of server status. The service also runs and monitors your site performance 24/7. It also includes a reporting system that sends you information of any issues and notifies your team of your site uptime and downtime through a variety of channels that you can arrange with the provider and a method of communication that best works for your company. It can be through an SMS, a phone call, an email, an internal workspace channel, or all of the above.
3. Be prepared for any outage and reduce its cost on your business with an effective disaster recovery plan.
In this digital world, where the way we do business has changed, having a backup plan is a must-have for any organization, big and small. A good downtime damage control does not end at backing up all your data but also involves backup planning. Even a company’s routine backup operations do not make them fully covered in the event of a sudden downtime. Remember, website downtime is inevitable. However, some outages can be fixed without interrupting the usual transactions of your customers within your website. This means, even during an outage it can still be ‘business as usual’ to your company while the key players of your IT department are working to fix the technical issues.
Every downtime recovery plan is different from company to company. However, all good disaster recovery plans should include the following essential information that your working staff needs to recover from a website downtime:
- Risk analysis
- Recovery time objective
- Recovery point objective
- Service legal agreement
- An established approach to achieve these objectives
- The how-tos in addressing common downtime causes
Common causes of website downtime include data loss, power outages, server failure, ransomware, flooding, site-wide outages, and natural disasters.
4. Create a directory of your IT team and include their roles and responsibilities in case a website downtime happens.
It is important that your team members understand their roles in the disaster recovery plan to fully achieve business continuity. Vital details of your directory should include who, how, and when to notify whom when issues that cause the website outage occur. Equip each member with the appropriate passwords and access levels to meet their responsibilities in fulfilling the recovery plan. A notification system is critical to your website monitoring program. This is why most website monitoring providers offer multiple alerting channels to choose from like, an SMS, a phone call, an email alert, or an internal workspace channel like slack. Choose the communication method that best works for your company.
5. An escalation protocol is a smarter way to delegate issues according to difficulty.
We all have known how every minute your site is down can impact a business. By establishing an escalation policy as part of your website monitoring, you can set different roles and responsibilities of your team members in tiers.
For example, simple and common issues can be assessed and resolved by the members in tier 1. But, if downtime continues and tier 1 members could not resolve it, this is where the next tier comes in. Simply put, a good escalation policy determines who gets what notifications at what part of the downtime.
Nowadays, we have a very vast online market where products and services are made available. For businesses that make use of their company websites for revenue and lead generations, business reliability, and customer trust depend on your website availability. A stable business website means accessible, fast, and easy to navigate. There is no such thing as 100% website availability but getting the most of your website monitoring stack means striving to achieve the closest possible number to one hundred.