Leading causes of a broken website:
As with everything else we own, one of the possible problems with having a website is that it can break. Just like files on your pc or mac can become unstable or corrupted, websites can also become corrupted or completely broken. This is where a preventative website maintenance plan becomes a necessity to avoid a broken website.
Before we however talk about website maintenance, let’s have a look at possible causes for websites to go “down”.
There is a plethora of reasons why websites breaks or simply goes offline. In this article we will have a look at common as well as lesser common reasons why websites do break.
This list is not exhaustive but is intended to give you an overview of what can go wrong with your website.
Many websites need plugins to give it added functionality. Some plugins are simply better than others. Outdated plugins, poorly coded plugins and plugins which are incompatible with other plugins and your website’s core code is one of the best known culprits for causing a broken website or a website to “crash”. Some plugins uses huge amount of your server’s resources (which your server may not be able to handle) or your website may have simply too much plugins.
Your website’s hosting plan (server) may not be the best out there. Some Hosting Companies are known for poor server capabilities whilst others are the go-to choices. We are not going to compare Hosting Companies with one another though WebScripto do have specific preferences.
There are a wide range of choices when shopping for a hosting plan. Different hosting plans offers different resources both in size and efficiency. If one of a website’s core requirements is to do continuous computing such as a stock trading or crypto trading website you may soon find that your hosting server will not be able to handle all these queries to and from your website’s database. Sometimes a website simply outgrows a specific hosting plan and a upgrade is needed to prevent a broken website.
Too much traffic:
We do not often hear people complaining that their websites have too much visitors. It is however, as with point 2 and 3 above not uncommon for a smaller hosting server to not be able to cope with a lot of traffic. The server will often just shut down if its resources is stretched beyond its limits. This problem is most often found with shared hosting servers where the accumulative demands from the websites is too much for the shared server to manage.
When you or someone else who has access to your website inadvertently break the code your website will break or lose some of its functionality. In practice this happens quite often.
Although your website’s name is arguably the smallest part of getting your website up and running this candidate deserves to be mentioned here. If you forgot to renew your domain your website will simply disappear from view. Although it will still be on your server the url will not be active. Another domain error may be that a Dynamic Name Server (DNS – this is like the yellow pages where you search for webscripto.co.za which then look up your website’s computer url such as 22.214.171.124) may be down. This will normally be restored by the DNS staff.
This does not only happen in Hollywood movies. Hacking is real and many South African websites, irrespective of their size or content, have fallen prey to this. An unprotected website will always be open and a soft target for hackers.
Website attacks are done by hackers as well. The process is however different and with a different intention. By using DoS (Denial of Service) or DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) hackers will try to deliberately overload your website’s server or a network temporarily. This is done by creating code that send continuous instructions to your website by means of bots. Although you may not be the intended target your website will also go down with the rest if a server collapses.
This form of attack needs no introduction. It is the ultimate attack on a website and can be done by people with malicious intent such as accessing your website. The recent ransom attacks on various global companies is still fresh in everybody’s mind. A lot of viruses are also carried around the internet by bots which only function is to attack websites
Lack of Website Maintenance:
Lack of website maintenance refers to both a website and the server on which it is hosted. Technology, as we know, is always being improved upon. Most servers uses Apache, PHP, PERL, RUBY and MySQL or Maria Database to make websites and databases work. If either the website or server is not updated a website may become incompatible with its server’s software. We recently made a website for a client in Angola. When we wanted to transfer the website to their server we realised that the website was incompatible due to the extremely old PHP version they were running on their servers. Although some hosting companies offer limited website maintenance in the background relying on a hosting server for your website maintenance is not recommended.
Websites, as you will certainly know are all hosted on servers. Servers are basically huge computers on which our websites are hosted and visited by our clients. Whether you have a shared server hosting plan or a dedicated server the risk of hardware failure is always there. Although a website owner as a end user do not have control over the hardware’s physical quality, using trusted hosting companies will always be the best position to avoid a broken website.
Having shared the above, we must point out that all is not just doom and gloom. The above problems can be managed and often some of the risks can be removed completely. Kindly see our next article in which we explain WebScripto’s approach to dealing with these risks causing a broken website.