What is Downtime?
Downtime is also called outage. It is the period of time when the system is failing or malfunctioning.
In the blogosphere, when bloggers mentioned “downtimes” they usually refer to the time when their blogs are inaccessible due to an unexpected problem in the blogs itself or of the server hosting the blogs.
Since the start of the month of April 2009, you always find this blog, SELaplana, not accessible. There were times that the browser told you that there was an error accessing the server. There were times that the error is in the connection to the database used by the blog. All those times that you failed to open this blog, those were called downtimes.
Causes of Blog’s Downtimes
I know that you hate to see that your own blog is down. Every time it happens, you lost visitors who supposedly visited your blog during that particular time. And while you lost visitors, you also lost money, especially if your blog’s income is fully dependent to your blog’s traffic.
But what really are the causes of the downtimes of your blog?
There are actually many reasons why your blog is down. But I categorized them into two:
1) Server Problems
These problems include the following:
The limitations set by the server on the bandwidth, resources, diskspace and database resources. Your blog is allowed to eat up resources, diskspace, and database resources only up to the maximum limit and beyond that point your blog or your account will be automatically suspended temporarily.
There are also servers that do not have the ability to automatically suspend accounts that go beyond the limitations. But everytime its resources are eaten up by the websites and blogs being hosted, they automatically stop responding not because they are programmed to act like that but because they simply fail.
Another cause of the server’s downtime is its failure to connect to the internet or to the datacenter. I couldn’t explain well how the servers are related to the datacenter because I am not really knowledgeable about them. But if the server hosting your blog failed to connect into the internet, we’re sure that your blog will be inaccessible too.
There are also times that the webhost needs to perform a maintenance to the server. During that time, they intentionally switch off the server. Once the server hosting your blog is taken down by the webhost, then for sure, your blog is down too.
There are actually other reasons why the server hosting your blog is down. You might know some of them. Please feel free to share your knowledge to us by dropping your thoughts into our comment section.
2) Blog Setup Problems
I think, all of you who have self-hosted blogs are using the WordPress software in running your own blog. So far, WordPress is the best blogging platform that I knew.
Installing the WordPress into your webhosting account is just simple. Adding plugins and installing blog’s theme are also easy. But if you miss something, then that will be the start of your headache.
Mostly the problems on your blog started in the plugins and themes you installed into your blog’s system. Plugins and themes that contain bugs will most likely bring your blog into trouble, thus resulted into downtimes.
But there are also cases that a problem started when you wrote something into your blog’s “.htaccess” file. Like for example when you tried to clean up URL with duplicate contents, or redirecting few of your blogposts into the other external pages, most like you edit the content of the “.htaccess” file.
However, even if you’re too careful in using WordPress plugins and Blog’s Themes, and in editing some files in your blog’s directory, your blog will also fail if someone infiltrated your webhosting account, placed something there and or destroyed some parts of your blog’s system. I am actually talking about the hackers.
To let you know, in early days of this month, April 2009, I always called up the attention of the owner of the webhosting company previously hosting all my blogs under my reseller account because of downtimes. Downtimes happened almost everyday. And most of these downtimes happened around 8:00PM to 12:00MN (Philippine Time).
Worried of what’s happening to the server, they investigated the server and the accounts under that server. Then they found out that a certain script was found in one of my accounts.
They immediately told me about it. But since, I don’t have a tool to use to investigate how did my account get that malicious script, I just used the backup files I downloaded from the server.
From that I found out that the script is called “PHP Offender” or “PHP Konsole” or “PHP Shell”. It’s a kind of backdoor which hackers usually used to infiltrate a server.
My further investigation lead me to realize that this kind of script was already there in the server even before December 2008 because the backup files of my blogs I downloaded from the server last December 2008 contain this script already. That script have spread in all the “images” directory of all my accounts hosted by that server.
In other words, hacker who infiltrated the server hosting my accounts might be the cause of the constant downtimes that my blogs had experienced.
Now, how could we avoid the blog’s downtime?
We already have identified the possible causes of the downtime of your blog. So, to avoid this downtime, you should have to anticipate what might happen.
- If the traffic of your blog is increasing to the point that your account might reached the limit, then shared server will not be good for your blog. Getting VPS (Virtual Private Server) or Dedicate Server will be the best thing to do.
- If you want to use a certain WordPress plugin or Blog’s Theme, try to read first how to implement it into your blog. It will be better if you will read the review of the other bloggers using that particular plugin or theme.
- Try using plugins that could help your blog in minimizing the consumption of the server’s resources.
- Be careful and responsible.
Before I’ll end up this article, I want to tell you that downtimes of your blog should be considered as challenge to you. Don’t be embarrassed if your blog sometimes experienced downtime. Just stay calm and be patient, especially in dealing with your webhost, and try to think of ways on how to resolve the problem.
This kind of challenge will lead you to the higher stage of your success…. that is if you handled it wisely.