Common Causes of Website Downtime (and How to Prevent Them)

By  //  August 14, 2023

Website downtime occurs when a website becomes inaccessible online or doesn’t function properly, hindering users from completing tasks.

Despite technological advancements and measures to minimize downtime, unforeseen events can still trigger website outages.

How Can You Detect Website Downtime?

Identifying a website outage may take some time. Various factors contribute to website downtime, indicating potential issues with the site’s overall health. To check for downtime, manually visit your website by entering its web address directly into your browser and attempting to load the page. If the site loads, it’s up and running; if not, you may receive a message indicating maintenance or unavailability.

Try clearing your browser cache and reloading the page to see if the site loads correctly. Additionally, visit a different stable website to determine if the issue is specific to your site. If you continue experiencing difficulty accessing your website, consider using a website downtime checker. Such tools can provide clear insights into whether your site is functioning properly.

Basic Troubleshooting Steps

Begin by verifying your internet connection. If your company offers 24/7 support, determine whether the site is down for everyone or just within your network. Explore the possibility of device malfunction, web design programming errors, or DNS-related issues.

Next, assess the domain’s status. Whenever a website experiences downtime, you’ll likely encounter an error message indicating unavailability or maintenance. Reach out to your hosting provider to investigate potential problems, such as expired domains or server crashes.

Hosting platforms often examine website servers and may offer timely feedback. Some hosting companies automatically restore your website and bring it back online shortly after planned downtime.

When updating your website, ensure that your content management system is current and compatible with the latest operating systems and browsers. Additionally, verify that your network firewall correctly configures the URL.

In conclusion, understanding the common causes of website downtime empowers you to take proactive steps to prevent and address issues promptly. By conducting thorough checks and staying vigilant, you can ensure the optimal performance and availability of your website for users.

Top Causes of Website Downtime 

Enhancing the user experience on websites has become an imperative in today’s corporate landscape. Any disruption caused by technical glitches or natural disasters can result in significant reputational and financial losses. Here are some key factors contributing to website downtime:

Human Error 


System administrators often work with intricate hardware setups, including servers and networking equipment. Accidentally disconnecting a cable or mishandling hardware can lead to unplanned outages. Servers, with their delicate hardware and software components, are susceptible to damage from rough handling or accidental bumps.

Website developers play a vital role in verifying the code they create. Neglecting this process can result in issues like unindexed code. If new administrators install web functions without validating the code, the website’s performance might be compromised.

              Equipment Malfunction 

Hardware degradation and sudden equipment failures due to technical glitches are common causes of downtime. Proper hardware maintenance is crucial to minimize downtime caused by equipment failures.

                Malicious Attacks 

Malicious attacks pose a significant threat to businesses, as hackers exploit vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access and steal data. Outdated software leaves systems vulnerable to cyberattacks.

For instance, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks overwhelm web servers with an influx of requests, leading to a halt in service. DNS cache poisoning is another method hackers use to compromise websites, disrupting the secure mapping of domain names to IP addresses.

Malware attacks, which harm both hardware and software, can spread across a network and lead to extensive outages.

              DNS Challenges 

Domain Name System (DNS) issues occur when the translation of a website’s name into an IP address encounters problems. Network changes or software updates can corrupt DNS data, resulting in incorrect or intermittent website responses.

                Server Overload 

Server overload happens when high website traffic overwhelms the infrastructure’s capacity. This can lead to slow loading times or complete crashes. Multiple servers are often employed to manage high traffic volumes.

When one dedicated server becomes overloaded, it can adversely affect others and cause widespread site failure.

                  CMS Theme and Plugin Compatibility 

Issues with content management system (CMS) themes and on-site software can lead to downtime. Incompatible plugins or improperly installed third-party software can bring a website to a standstill. Loading errors, blank pages, or database issues may arise.

Installing plugins that don’t align well with a theme can lead to internal errors. Regularly backing up your website helps mitigate the impact of theme and plugin incompatibilities. This safeguards your site’s functionality and allows for quick restoration in case of issues.

In conclusion, understanding these common causes of website downtime empowers businesses to take proactive measures to prevent and address disruptions promptly. Vigilance and proactive strategies, such as regular backups and updates, contribute to maintaining a reliable and accessible website for users.

          The Impact of  Website Hosting

The performance of a website hinges on the hosting company’s ability to swiftly handle incoming traffic and requests. Website hosting companies offer varying levels of service, with top-tier providers even offering full uptime guarantees.

One of the major culprits behind site downtime is inadequate website hosting. What’s even more concerning is that hosting companies often don’t disclose the extent of unplanned downtime your website experiences each month, leaving you unaware of the true extent of the outages.

In the face of poor website hosting, website monitoring becomes imperative. Uptime monitoring allows you to measure the downtime your website is encountering and make informed decisions about whether switching hosting providers is necessary to reduce it to a manageable level.

   Tips to Steer Clear of Website Downtime

Preventing downtime from occurring in the first place is the most straightforward approach to mitigating its negative impacts on search engine rankings and user engagement. Here are some strategies to avoid website downtime and the resulting disruptions in service:

Opt for a Dependable Hosting Provider

When selecting a hosting provider, prioritize those that offer reliable services. Trustworthy hosting providers shield your website from unexpected outages and help prevent website downtime. When making your choice, consider the provider’s track record of reliability, their uptime guarantee, and the accessibility of their support team so you can reach them if your website experiences downtime.

Online reviews are a useful resource for gauging a hosting company’s credibility. Unsatisfied clients often share their experiences, which can provide insights to help you prevent similar issues for your own website.

Keep Tabs on Your Website’s Uptime

It’s your responsibility to determine whether your server meets its minimum uptime guarantee. Fortunately, uptime monitors offer availability statistics for your hosting provider. Implement a website uptime monitor to receive real-time notifications of potential downtime. Most uptime monitors can be configured to send email alerts when the server goes offline.

Experience Real-Time Server Monitoring with provides you with the ability to monitor critical server metrics in real-time, encompassing CPU performance, RAM usage, Disk status, and Database Load. By utilizing this uptime monitoring solution, you can gain valuable insights and take proactive steps to ensure optimal performance for both your website and server infrastructure. Their comprehensive solution offers a detailed overview of your server’s performance, allowing you to effectively track essential metrics such as CPU usage, RAM utilization, IO-Load, and available disk space. This proactive approach empowers you to enhance performance and prevent potential downtime.

Ensure Timely Renewal of Your Domain Name Registration

It’s essential to stay on top of your responsibilities regarding your website’s domain name registration, typically on an annual basis or even less frequently. Renewing your domain name registration plays a crucial role in preventing your website from experiencing downtime.

Consider setting up automatic renewal by default to simplify the process of renewing your domain name. By enabling automatic renewal, your domain provider will automatically extend your website’s registration at the end of each term. This ensures that your domain name remains active without interruption, immediately entering a new period of registration.

Choose Plugins and Themes Thoughtfully

Carefully selecting plugins and themes is essential to prevent web application errors and potential website downtime. Prioritize compatibility with your content management system when choosing plugins and themes. You can identify plugin compatibility issues through user reviews or insights from developers.

Opt for updated plugins and themes, as older ones are more prone to containing code conflicts with modern counterparts. Additionally, certain plugins and themes may require specific PHP versions to ensure proper functionality.

Utilize an uptime monitoring plugin to keep track of your website’s operational status. This plugin will automatically generate reports and send email notifications in case of downtime. Furthermore, it often offers diagnostic capabilities to promptly address any issues that arise.

Enhance Security

Security plays a significant role in maintaining overall website uptime. Hackers may attempt to compromise your website’s availability to gain access to sensitive data.

Minimize potential entry points that hackers could exploit to compromise your website’s security. Boost your website’s security by installing security plugins and following best practices for website security. Your hosting provider can also contribute to securing your website by correctly assigning and fortifying permissions.

Monitor Site Speed and Optimize

Sluggish website speed could indicate an impending crash. Visitors are more likely to leave a site if pages take too long to load.

Improve website speed through tactics like caching plugins and files, reducing CSS and HTML queries, increasing bandwidth, and considering server switches. Ensuring smooth operation for the volume of files and users your website handles reduces the risk of sudden downtime.