A Complete Guide to Avoiding Server Downtime

Posted on by Lucas Stanley | Updated:
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Server downtime is defined as any time your server is unavailable or unresponsive. Various factors, including hardware failures, power outages, network problems, and software issues, can cause this.

Downtime can be an absolute nightmare for your business, causing lost revenue, frustrated customers, and a damaged reputation. For example, if you run an e-commerce store, every minute your site is down, you're losing out on potential sales. If your site is down often, customers may start to view your business as unreliable. Likewise, if you're a SaaS company, downtime can cause customers to lose faith in your service and cancel their subscriptions.

This guide will help you learn how to avoid server downtime.

Quantifying the impact of downtime

The impact of server downtime is hard to overstate. According to TechChannel.com, 91% of organizations reported that 60 minutes of downtime of a mission-critical server will result in more than $300,000 in unforeseen business expenditures on average. From lost business, customer dissatisfaction, and the cost of fixing the problem, the losses add up quickly.

If this number seems extravagant, think again. Servers are no longer only about websites or marketing campaigns. Disruption of a server can take an entire business offline for hours, days, or - in extreme situations - even weeks.

Common Causes of Server Downtime

So what leads to a server going offline or being inaccessible? While there are several reasons a server may go offline, there are a handful of more common issues that may arise. Some of the most common include:

Network outages

Network outages are one of the more common causes of server downtime. A network outage can occur for various reasons, such as a power outage or hardware/software issues. When your network is down, it can prevent your server from accessing the internet, leading to downtime.

There are several ways to reduce the risk of network outages, including using redundant networking equipment and having an adequate backup plan in place. Taking these precautions can help ensure that your server remains online, even during a network outage.

Human Error

Human error is one of the most common causes of server downtime. This can include mistakes made by employees, incorrect configuration settings, and improper coding that causes software glitches.

To help reduce the risk of human error, it's essential to have procedures in place that minimize the chances of mistakes being made. This means training anyone with access to network devices, infrastructure, and applications on exactly how to use these items and the potential consequences of making a mistake. Your IT team (or IT partner) should be the primary administrator of all servers and devices.

Another way to help prevent human error is by using monitoring and logging tools. These tools can help you track what changes are being made to your server and identify any errors that may occur. This can help you quickly identify and fix any problems that may cause downtime.

Corrupted Backups

It is essential to protect your data from accidental loss or corruption. Aside from the obvious costs of lost data, the entire server will likely go offline if a corrupted backup is used to restore a server.

If your backups are corrupted, restoring your data can be difficult or even impossible. This can cause significant downtime while you try to locate a backup that is not corrupted. In some cases, you may even need to start over and rebuild your server.

To help prevent corruption, it's important to use reliable backup software and test your backups regularly. You should also keep multiple copies of your backups in different locations. This will help ensure that you can still access your data even if one or more copies are corrupted.

Software Issues

Server issues can be a major cause of server downtime. A variety of factors, including software glitches, corrupted files, and incorrect configuration settings can cause this.

To help prevent server issues from causing downtime, it's important to ensure that your server is properly configured and that you have a backup plan in place. 

Hardware Issues

Hardware issues include hard drives that fail or power supplies that stop working properly. A fan that doesn't cool effectively can cause a server to overheat and go offline. A power cord that gets unplugged can take an entire rack of servers offline. 

Cyber Attacks

Cyberattacks are becoming an increasingly common cause of server downtime. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including malware infections, ransomware attacks, and DDoS attacks.

To help protect your server from cyberattacks, it's important to have a robust security plan in place. This should include firewalls, anti-virus software, and intrusion detection systems. You should also ensure that your employees are properly trained on how to identify and respond to a cyberattack.

Another way to help protect your server from cyberattacks is by using cloud-based security solutions. These solutions can help you quickly detect and respond to any attacks that occur.

Cost of downtime

Best Practices for Preventing Server Downtime

Preventing server downtime is critical. Every application and website plays a key role in business stability and growth. As a result, it is imperative that uptime and resiliency are not left to chance. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to prevent server downtime. Some of the most important include:

Regularly Test Backups

It is important to regularly test your backups to make sure they are working correctly. This will help ensure that you can still access your data even if your server goes down. One way to test your backups is by restoring them to a separate server or environment. This will help you ensure that the backups are usable in case of a server failure.

Monitor Sites and Applications to Prevent Server Downtime

Another great way to prevent server downtime is by monitoring your sites and applications. This will give you a better understanding of how the server is performing, help identify and fix any problems that may cause downtime, and can minimize the impact of any downtime that does occur.

Overall, monitoring is an essential tool for preventing server downtime. By using it effectively, you can help keep your server running smoothly and avoid any costly outages.

Make Sure Your Infrastructure Matches Your Needs

It's also important to make sure your infrastructure matches your needs. This will help ensure that your server is properly configured and that you are not using more resources than you need. For example, if your servers do not include the right memory, processing power, or storage space, then you may be in trouble. 

A server without the right resources will perform poorly. Even worse, if the number of visitors or storage requirements greatly exceeds what the server can provide, then the entire server may go offline.

Choose a Reliable Hosting Provider

Finally, it's important to choose a reliable hosting provider. This will help ensure that your server is always up and running. A reliable hosting provider will help ensure that your server is always up and running.

Some of the advantages of choosing a reliable hosting provider include:

  • Support so you can get help anytime you need it.
  • A redundant network that helps ensure uptime and reliability.
  • A high-quality data center that is designed to meet your specific needs.
  • A wide range of services includes managed, cloud, and colocation services.

When it comes to choosing a reliable hosting provider, there are a number of factors you should consider. Some of the most important of these factors include:

  • The types of services they offer.
  • The quality of their data center.
  • Customer service and support.
  • Pricing.

By taking the time to choose a reliable hosting provider, you can help ensure that your server is always up and running.

Avoid Server Downtime with Liquid Web

Liquid Web is a reliable web hosting provider that offers a variety of services, including cloud-based solutions, dedicated servers, and VMware Private Cloud. Liquid Web is the perfect solution for businesses that are looking for reliable and secure hosting.

Their VPS hosting or cloud dedicated servers are perfect for businesses that need the flexibility to scale their infrastructure up or down as needed. Likewise, their dedicated servers are perfect for businesses that require a lot of power and performance. With Liquid Web, your business can be confident that applications and websites will be online and performing as they should at all times.

For 25 years, the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting have helped businesses of all sizes by designing and deploying the infrastructure necessary to reach their business goals. Contact Liquid Web now to learn more about how Liquid Web can prevent costly server downtime.

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About the Author

Lucas Stanley

Lucas is a Linux Support Technician with Nexcess.

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