We’ve all been there. We type a URL into the search bar or select a website on Google only to find we can’t access it. It’s pretty frustrating and can ultimately put us off visiting that website again or picking that business to buy from.
Now, consider a potential customer finding the same when they visit your website – it’s worrying, right?
However, if you’re contacted by a customer telling you that they can’t access your website, it can be quite tricky to know whether:
- Your site is actually down, or
- There is an issue with the device or platform your customer is using to try and access your site
In this article, we’ll walk you through how to tell if your website is down using three of the best tools out there.
IsItDownRightNow is a great tool for quickly checking the status of your own, or any other, website. All you need to do to use it is:
- Visit the website: https://www.isitdownrightnow.com/
- Type the URL of your site into the text box provided
- Click ‘Check’
- Receive information on your website
IsItDownRightNow will provide you with a host of useful information, including:
- Whether your website is up or down
- Your website response time
- The last time it was down
This is very useful if customers have contacted you about not being able to visit your site, as you’ll be able to see whether the site has previously been down and when this was.
Another popular tool for checking the status of your website is Host Tracker. Again, this is a simple-to-use platform. Just follow these steps:
- Visit the website: https://www.host-tracker.com/
- Click ‘Instant Check Your Website’
- Select the ‘Ping’ tab
- Type your URL in the search box, click ‘Check’
- Wait for your results to load
This tool will show you the results of a ‘ping’ sent from 158 agents from across the world. In more simple terms, this checks whether your website is working from 158 different locations across the globe, helping you understand if there are any general or localized issues with accessing your site.
If you are interested in a specific region of the globe, you can also pick to just ping from agents specifically in:
- East Europe
- North America
- South America
- West Europe
This functionality is especially helpful if you are receiving reports from customers located in one place.
Host Tracker also comes with a ‘host’ of other helpful tools. For example, it also allows you to run reports on:
The most helpful tool offered by Host Tracker is the ability to set up notifications for when your site goes down. This is incredibly valuable to help you quickly identify issues with your site and remedy them as quickly as possible. However, you do need to pay a small monthly or annual fee to receive this service which starts from just $14 a month.
The final tool we’ll be reviewing and recommending is Uptrends. This site works in a similar way to Host Tracker’s Ping search, as it allows you to identify any issues with accessing your website from various locations across the globe.
However, the results are a little easier to read and also include an average load time for each location, making it clear where an issue may be occurring.
To use Uptrends simply:
- Visit the website: https://www.uptrends.com/tools/is-my-website-down
- Type your URL into the ‘I want to test’ box
- Select ‘all checkpoint’ or a specific location of your choosing
- Click ‘Start Test’
- Check out your results
Uptrends also offer a notification service much like Host Tracker so you can keep on top of changes to your website.
We’ve covered some helpful and quick ways that you can check the status of your website. But what if the worst happens and you find that it’s down? The first thing you need to work out is why. Below we’ve listed seven of the most common reasons a website might be down:
- Errors with your code. Just a small change in your website code can lead to your site crashing. Even something as simple as a typo can have a catastrophic impact.
- Plugin issues. Many websites use plugins to add functionality, ranging from stock control to SEO. These plugins are really helpful, but if you forget to update them then they can lead to website crashes. Most plugins are safe to use, but some are less reliable – check reviews before installing third-party plugins to avoid accidentally introducing bugs to your website.
- Your domain has expired. This one is pretty simple to understand – if you don’t renew your domain, then your website will go down.
- Hosting or server issues. Your website is likely hosted on an external server. For example, many websites are hosted by Bluehost. Sometimes servers face issues such as severe weather, which can lead to your website going down.
- An overload of site traffic. Of course, you want lots of traffic to your website. However, if your site isn’t prepared for spikes in traffic then too many visitors at once can drastically slow your site down, eventually causing it to crash.
- DNS errors. The Domain Name Server (DNS) is important in helping people easily access your website. However, there are occasionally issues with DNS, such as attacks on DNS providers, which can lead to your website crashing.
- An attack on your website. Website attacks are probably more common than you might think. Attacks can be launched for any number of reasons – from politically or socially motivated attacks to hackers seeking out financial gain. A lot of attacks are totally random, which is why it’s important to secure your website the best you can.
Knowing why your site is down can take a little detective work. Ultimately, you may need to reach out to an IT professional or company to help you work out why your site is down and what you can do about it.
We’ve walked you through the three best tools and explained how to check if your website is down with each one. We’ve also covered some common reasons why this might be – but what should you actually do if you find that your website is down? Follow our steps below:
- Check that your site is actually down using one of the tools we highlight above
- Determine the cause by working through the list of possible reasons why your website has crashed
- Contact your IT department or hosting company and ask for their support
- Communicate issues with customers and visitors through channels such as email and social media
- Keep going. Sometimes it takes a little grit and determination to get to the bottom of the problem and solve it
- Remain calm. Even the biggest companies experience website outages – the key is to just keep working on getting it resolved
Ultimately, taking steps to secure your website before it goes down is going to save you a lot of time, effort, and stress in the long run. Here are four simple steps you can take to limit the chances of your website going down:
- Set up auto renew or a reminder when your domain is about to expire
- Invest in a DNS backup service
- Use website status update services such as those we’ve talked about in this guide
- Have a detailed plan in place so everyone knows what to do if your website goes down
Most of us don’t lay awake every night worrying about our website going down. That is, until it does go down, and then it’s all we can think about!
Knowing what to do when your website goes down will help you to remain calm and take quick, positive action towards fixing any issues.
The three tools we’ve shown you in this guide will help you to identify any issues with your website and act on them straight away. It’s worth trying them all out now, before your site crashes, so you can decide which one you find most useful while the pressure is off.