"Why do websites crash?” In today's article we will get to know what is meant by a website crash, why does it happen and what to do to prevent it.
If we attempt to open a website that won't open, you can see how negatively it impacts the user experience. And what affects your user experience, affects everything. It also affects your business, your revenue and your search engine ranking.
We know that if a website crashes, it is a bad thing. But have you thought about the reason why this happens? And what measures we can take to avoid this situation?
If your website has crashed, don't waste time any more. Here are some of the reasons of websites getting crashed. After knowing these reasons, you can recover your website.
7 Major Reasons Of Website To Crash
Why do websites crash? The answer to this common question is in the reasons given below:
- Broken Code
- Server Error
- Traffic Spike
- Expired Domains
- Wrong Hosting
- Malicious Attack
- Update Issue
Let's dive deep into these reasons.
1۔ Broken Code
Your website is built with coding. With the help of your code, you make the website perform the way you want. If you make a change to the code just before the site crashes, it definitely is due the reason that something has gone wrong to the code which we call broken code.
Code can gets broken easily. One slight mistake or a typo can cause your site to crash. Each and every line of your code is responsible for your site to perform accurately. Therefore, it is necessary that each line of your code is free from errors. Because we know that, a small mistake can turn things upside down.
Following are the ways that indicate your site is crashed due to the broken code:
- You or your developer updated the code of your site or performed some maintenance work.
- If some parts of your website start showing lines of code, its obvious that your code is broken and the site is crashed.
What To Do To Avoid This Situation?
Be very watchful while making changes to your code. If you are not sure about what you are doing, then it is better to hire a professional.
Use of a staging environment is a best idea. It is a complete replica of your site, and is used for testing purposes. Here, you can make changes to your code easily and see if any problem arises after the change was made.
Staging environment helps us catch any possible errors before publishing the code live. This will help us remove the errors so they do not show up in live environment.
2۔ Server Error
The hosting provider companies host your website on a server. If these servers go down, so do your websites. The more frustrating thing in this situation is that you can't do much about it as it is from server side.
Each year, the servers of the hosting providers become unavailable, this is called Down Time. During this down time, your websites are also down and become unavailable. This is unrealistic that a server never goes down. But your site should be least affected during this time.
Following are the things which tell you that servers are the reasons for your website to crash:
- First, go to the website forum of the hosting provider company and check if others are also asking the same thing.
- Look at the errors showing on your site. Error messages 502 and 503 indicate that there's something wrong with your server.
- Check your server's uptime. Uptime is the time for which your server remains online. An ideal server should have an uptime of more than 99.97%.
How To Avoid The Issues From Server?
If your website is going down over and again due to your server going down, it is better to think about having an alternative hosting plan which has a better uptime.
Usually the up time of an ideal server is never more than 3 hours per year. So choose a server that has uptime more than 99.97%.
3۔ Wrong Hosting
Servers with bad uptime are not the only reason why your website crashes. Wrong hosting can definitely be one of the reasons. May be you just miscalculated the hosting needs of your website and selected a wrong plan.
There are several types of hosting. Few important types are as follows:
- Shared Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- WordPress Hosting
All these types of hosting have different plans and and packages. If you are facing problems even after choosing a good hosting, you probably need to revisit the plan you have selected.
So many people, in the start, go for shared hosting. The reason for that is pretty obvious that is easy to work with and is very cheap. However, it is very limited and the need for resources grows so rapidly.
If your site is running on shared hosting and needs more resources than your selected plan is offering, chances are high that your site will crash. The bigger the site grows, the more traffic will come to your site, and the more resources like memory, bandwidth and storage will be required.
How Do We Know That Wrong Hosting Is The Reason Of Website Crash?
- If you haven't updated your hosting plan for a while, this may create problems.
- If your site has grown in size after you selected a particular plan, this can crash your website
- If you have run out of your bandwidth and storage limit, this will be a reason for your site to crash
How To Prevent Website Crash Due To Hosting?
The easiest solution is to upgrade your hosting plan as soon as you realized that you selected a wrong plan.
Reassess your hosting needs and check if your plan is providing you enough resources that you need? This is important, specially when you haven't upgraded your hosting plan for a while.
First of all, check that whether your hosting plan is providing you enough storage and bandwidth according to your needs.
Overall, we won't recommend shared hosting plan and to stick with it for a longer period of time. This is because it is limited. One server is also shared by other websites and there is every possibility that one site is consuming most of the resources, causing your site to crash.
On the other hand, VPS hosting is expensive though, it is more reliable as well.
4۔ Update Issue
You make an update to your site and it crashes, such issues mostly occur WordPress and other CMS. This is because WordPress updates frequently to run the platform smoothly. If you don't keep up with these updates, your website will become outdated which brings the vulnerabilities of attacks along with crashing.
Normally, the problem arises when we only update a specific component of our site, and not the whole site. If you don't update your site completely, this may create compatibility issues in the components of your site which results in the malfunctioning of the outdated components.
So, whenever you decide to update your site, make sure you update complete site.
How To Tell If Your Site Is Crashed Due To Update Issues?
- The first possible reason is that your site is running on WordPress or another CMS. Because such issues arise the most with these CMS
- If you recently updated a part of your website. This may cause your site to crash
- One reason could also be that you haven't updated your site in a long time
- Your site may have the automatic update option turned off
- Having outdated plugins on your site may be one of the reasons to crash
What To Do To Avoid This Issue?
First thing you need to do is to take back up of your site before updating your site. Its better to be cautious than to feel sorry afterwards. Keep an eye out for new updates to make sure your site is running on the latest version.
For example, if your website is running on WordPress, keep track of what is the latest version of WordPress so your site can run on the latest version of the CMS.
Another common issue is that users often update only the version of WordPress, leaving out the themes and plugins on the older versions. Some hosting providers gives you the facility of automatic update of themes and plugins, while most of the hosting providers don't provide this facility.
So if your hosting does not provide the automatic update feature, make sure you update all themes and plugins manually, whenever you are prompted. To do this go to Dashboard > Update.
If you are using a plugin that has not released any update for a while, it is better to find an alternate plugin which is more active than the existing plugin.
5۔ Traffic Spike
Any website has a certain amount of bandwidth, which refers to how much traffic your website can handle at one time. If there is a sudden increase in traffic to your website and your bandwidth limit is unable to provide the resources required to handle such a large number of visitors, your site may crash.
Normally, your bandwidth limit depends on your hosting plan. The better the hosting plan, the better will be the bandwidth limit and the more number of visitors will be handled easily by your website.
How To Tell That Surge In Traffic Is The Reason Of Website To Crash?
- One possibility can be that you're having an online sale, offering a special discount, or hosting a special event.
- One possible reason could be that your website is very busy (usually even big stores crash during Black Friday sales).
- Your website analytics can also show you the day when you had the most traffic, which led to the site's crash.
- Basic shared plan can also be a reason for that. In this situation, if your site receives large number of visitors, it may crash.
How To Avoid This?
Upgrade Your Hosting Plan
It's time to update your hosting package if your website is getting more and more visitors and is unable to handle them. As we have discussed earlier that cheap hosting plans usually have low bandwidth limit which causes such issues.
Use Cloud Hosting
Suppose you run a sale or discount at your store, and the number of visitors to your website suddenly increases, that's when you should think about cloud hosting.
It is a hosting that is flexible and hosts your website on multiple servers so that a single server is not overloaded. Some cloud hosting providers allow you to increase bandwidth by upgrading your plan before starting any major promotion.
Use CDN (Content Delivery Network)
A CDN copies your website to different servers around the world, so that when a user accesses your website from anywhere in the world, they get it from the server closest to them.
This means that your main server not get overloaded and the site will load faster.
6۔ Expired Domain
Did you forget to update your domain name? If this is the case, then this might be the reason of your website going down. Domain name is the address with which the users access your website. Every website has a domain which if expires, your website will crash.
Or, there might be a problem with your domain setting. For example, you tried to point your website to a new website and it encountered some error.
How To Tell If Expiration Of Domain Is A Reason Of Website Crash?
- If you haven't renewed your domain, it will expire and the site will crash.
- If you have recently made changes to your domain settings and the site has crashed, then this definitely will be the reason for this.
- If you try to access a site and it gives the error message "This site can't be reached", then this means your site has crashed due to domain expiration.۔
How To Avoid This?
Renew your domain! This is the first thing to do. It is better to turn on the auto renewal option for your domain. Turning on this option would help you renew the domain automatically and you won't need to do it manually. The domain gets re-register for the same period of time.
We also suggest you to note a date one month before the expiry date so you don't forget to renew the domain. If you don't renew your domain, someone else can register it as soon as it expires. This clearly demonstrates that if you don't renew your domain, you lose it.
7۔ Malicious Attack
It is unfortunately fact that many people in the world can hack any website just to steal information or just to down it. There can be many types of attacks on a website, but the most common attack is called Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS).
DDoS is an attack in which a hacker brings a lot of traffic to your server from various sources, overloading the server and causing your site to crash.
These attacks give us another reason to buy good hosting to be able to counter these attacks. It is very difficult to tell whether your website is down due to a traffic spike or a DDoS attack.
Following reasons can easily indicate that the site is crashed due to malicious attacks:
- If your website suddenly experiences an inexplicable increase in traffic, assume that the site has crashed as a result of an attack. Because so much traffic cannot come for no reason.
- If the increase in traffic persists for more than a certain period of time, it is clear that your website has been attacked. Because if the increase in traffic is real, it only lasts for a short time.
What To Do To Avoid Such Attacks?
Here again, the thing we will recommend at first is a good and secure hosting. This is one of the best ways to secure your website. A secured hosting has following features:
- Better protection against DDoS
- Scanning for viruses and removing them
- Protection from Brute Force Attack
- Server Hardening
- 24/7 Security Monitoring
- Two-Factor authentication
DDoS attacks are usually automatic and can be attacked on any website at random. There's not much you can do after an attack, which means you need good, secure hosting right from the start.
Now you know why websites crash. And more importantly, you know the signs of a crash and understand the steps to take to avoid a crash.
It's annoying if your website crashes, but there's no need to panic. You're not the only one this happened to. Even big websites like Amazon have faced such problems at times.
You can remember to renew your domain, but avoiding attacks like DDoS is not that easy because we don't know where the attack might come from. Therefore, preparing in advance to avoid such problems is not so easy.