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Does the website have to be available at all times?

How many times have you heard that one of the biggest advantages of an online store is that it always works and sells when you sleep? It sounds too perfect to be so, but it doesn’t mean it’s not possible. High availability of services, despite everything, does not provide us with a service always working. So what happens that websites sometimes don’t work?

Why doesn’t my website work?

There can be many reasons, from the obvious to the less obvious. Internet services may be unavailable for reasons of failure, scheduled work, migration or simply cybercrime attacks. Very often the size of the server does not match the traffic on the website, causing its inaccessibility.

No one can predict all possible failures – but you can be sure that you will feel each and every one of them on your own.

Murphy’s law

Let’s get to know the factors that influence the unavailability of the website.

Server failure

The most obvious reason for the unavailability of a service is the failure of the devices that maintain it. Various incidents happen according to Murphy’s laws. A computer failure is waiting patiently for the most inconvenient moment to attack mercilessly.

In addition to the server itself, which provides a given Internet service, we have routers, switches, load balancers and many other devices that are responsible for the operation of these services.

To prevent such failures, we can always buy equipment of higher quality, and if we have no influence on it, take care of its redundancy. Redundant number of servers helps to increase SLA, i.e. availability of the service on which they operate.

Failure of the website itself

The website itself also requires regular maintenance. If we fail to do so, we may cause downtime in online services until the errors have been corrected. The consequences of negligence may be:

  • outdated website software may stop working if the server-side software is regularly updated,
  • lack of update can also be a reason for hacking into the website,
  • pages without cyclical optimizations and corrections, they can work slower and slower over time or exhaust server limits, which causes interruptions in their operation

Update

Everyone felt the update of the operating system on their own skin. It always lasts a long time, requires a reboot of the computer. It is similar with servers. They also need to be updated. During this time, they are unavailable and do not serve websites. Most often, administrators do this type of work at night, so that it is as little inconvenience to server users as possible.

Information displayed during WordPress update.

The page itself also needs to be updated. With large and complex systems, it can take up to several hours. During this time, the creators of the site, most often display information boards about the work on the site.

Migration

Migration of the website or system to another place, changing the service provider, are other factors that may cause the inaccessibility of the service. Well-prepared migration may reduce the time of unavailability of services, but it is not always possible. In the case of large websites, such a migration – just like an update – may take several hours due to the complexity of the whole process.

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