Shared hosting is great for small websites with low traffic volumes but once your needs or ambitions begin to grow, its limitations can hold you back. The next logical step, both in terms of capability and cost, is a virtual private server (VPS). Offering the same benefits as a mini dedicated server but significantly less …
Losing your website data can be catastrophic. It means you have no website, no content, no subscribers and no records of customer details or purchases. Yet, despite the fact that over 40% of the companies it happens to fold instantly, almost 60% of businesses do not have an effective backup solution. In this post, we’ll …
It appears the hacker group Lizard Squad made good on its threat to cause Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation big headaches for Christmas. The group left gamers unable to use new consoles received as gifts by orchestrating DDoS attacks on the sites. This comes after the group claimed credit for…
Everyone with a comprehensive website has experienced that nightmare moment when the server goes down on their website. If you operate an online business, having your website go down for even a few moments can completely ruin your sales, so it is important to make sure that you have a through plan of attack once you discover that you may be having website problems.
Check Your Internet Before Getting Started
This may sound obvious, but before getting into a major website reboot, check to make sure that it has actually gone down. If you were informed by a client that they were not able to reach your site, make sure to visit it yourself in order to confirm that it was not their home internet causing the problem. If you are experiencing the snag on your computer, try rebooting your system, refreshing the site, and even trying to view it on a completely different computer in order to confirm that it is not the internet in general causing you website problems. You can also try visiting a robust website or search engine, such as Google or Yahoo, to see if loading these sites causes you trouble as well. If they appear to be down in addition to your site, you are most likely experiencing a problem with your Internet, rather than your host.
Access Your Backup
Once you have confirmed that your Internet is definitely not the problem, you can proceed to begin accessing your backup. When selecting your host, hopefully you have confirmed that they utilize cPanel with full standard backups. For easy access, it is a good idea to always keep a recent copy of your cPanel backup on your desktop or in a remote server such as Amazon S3. That way, when you need to get your page up quickly, you are not stuck searching your system for your backup. When setting up your backups, make sure that the frequency is congruent with how frequently your data changes. If you update regularly, it is a good idea to ensure that your backups are running consistently so that you do not lose any information.
In this example, we will also be taking advantage of Cloudfare to get your website back up and running. When setting it up, make sure that it is set up directly through Cloudfare and not through the host’s cPanel. While many hosts utilize Cloudfare integration, this method to get your site back up and running takes advantage of the software independently.
Routing to the Backup
After you have gone through the preliminary steps to confirm your backup, here is how you can get your website back in minutes:
- If you do not have a secondary host, make sure to quickly purchase one. Two of the best options to get a fast response are SiteGround and WHGeeks.
- Restore your cPanel account by uploading the backup to your account. When you open a support ticket to request that your cPanel be restored to their server, make sure to express the urgency of your situation and confirm that your new host is able to get your website up quickly.
- As you are going through this process, do not alter your domain’s nameservers. Since you are taking advantage of Cloudfare, your nameservers should be pointing directly at it.
- Log into your Cloudfare account. In the DNS settings, change your IP address to that of your new server. When signing up with your new host, you should get an email with a temporary IP based URL that allows you to access your cPanel account. Use this IP address to update your server.
After you have re-routed your IP address to the new host, your website should be back up and running momentarily.
What to Do in the Future
Now that your website is fully functioning and ready to collect more views, there are a few things that you can do in order to make sure that your website is disaster-proof in the future.
- Create multiple back-ups of your website. In addition to using Cloudfare, you can also take advantage of extra back-ups on third party programs like NameCheap and Dropbox. This way, you can ensure that your site will always be up to date and can instantly access the latest backup.
- Have your backup host ready to go. In order to skip the process of finding and purchasing an additional host, having one at the ready with the IP address handy is a great way to get back up even faster.
- Conserve your emails. If your email is also connected to your web server, it is possible that they can potentially be lost in a hosting malfunction. To avoid this, sign up for Google Apps and set it up for business. This way, you will make sure that you won’t lose all of your email information and will be able to still send and receive mail while getting your site back online.
- Sign up with WPCurve. This third party system actively manages your WordPress sites and also handles other aspects of your website like plugins, site speed optimization, coding, and email form integration. If you have a WordPress site, make sure to take advantage of this handy tool.
- Clean up your website code. If you are noticing that it is very complicated and messy to get your website back up and running, look into potentially redesigning your site into a clean, easy to manage template.
- Become knowledgeable and backup savvy. In order to avoid panicking in the heat of the moment, gain control by becoming even more familiar with how your website works. Research further about how hosting, domains, and your FTP function and how each of them play a part in your website experience. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to backups.
Having your website go down can instill panic into even the bravest of hearts. Make sure that you are continuing to back up your site regularly in order to prevent disaster down the road.
Most importantly, take a few deep breaths and stay calm as you are getting your site up and running. When your website goes down, feel confident and know that you are able to solve the problem yourself without relying on your original host server to go back up and fix itself.
Top image ©GL Stock Images
When it comes to networking capabilities, knowledge truly is power. Those companies that rely heavily on their networks for the storing and sharing of business information know that without a strong working knowledge of their IT infrastructures, they risk encountering significant obstacles in recovering whenever those networks experience issues. Yet not every company has the knowledge needed to establish their own servers with enough bandwidth to meet their online needs, nor do they have the resources needed to bring on personnel to create and manage such a server for them. This leaves many smaller companies unable to compete with larger competitors who employ in-house support staffs.
Help Through Managed Hosting
Fortunately, these companies have other resources that they can turn to in order to meet their server demands. Data colocation providers allow them the opportunity to establish their own reliable server networks without having to maintain those networks themselves. Instead, their servers are housed in a dedicated colocation center, where they have immediate access to power reserves and support staffs to help avoid network downtime, as well as the bandwidth needed to support their online traffic. Whether they’re storing their own server within a center or simply renting space on an existing server, this managed hosting service allows these companies to enjoy the same level of network reliability as their competitors.
Yet that’s not to say that there aren’t drawbacks in working with a colocation provider. The glaring concern that those who rely on data centers typically have is network availability. With one’s entire infrastructure routed through a single server at a single location, concerns about the server environment are inevitable. The center itself can knock a server out and make it unavailable until those issues are resolved, and while colocation providers have safeguards in place to deal with such issues, try as they might, no provider can guarantee 100% operational efficiency.
Such concerns have led many to turn to the newest craze in server technology: the cloud. Cloud providers establish a virtual server network through a single host server, meaning that the space clients are renting is in a virtual space as opposed to a physical one. These virtual servers offer a number of advantages over their physical counterparts, namely:
- Scalability: A physical server can only offer so much server space. That means that if a client’s server space hits capacity during peak times, he or she can no longer handle any more traffic. In the cloud, extra server resources can be allotted to a client whenever they’re needed, meaning that his or her network can accommodate any level of traffic volume.
- Costs: In order to protect themselves from constantly stressing their server capacity, many colocation provider clients will aim high in determining how much space they need to rent. While this protects them against crashes during high-volume periods, it also means that they’re often paying for space that’s not being used. In contrast, cloud server clients only pay for what they use. When any of the aforementioned additional resources are needed to support heavy online traffic, the client pays extra for them. Yet once that traffic dies down, he or she is back to paying only for the space currently being used. This also holds true for periods of low traffic volumes.
- Set-up: Setting up a space on a cloud server is essentially like enrolling in a subscription service. Because the space itself is virtual, there’s no need to wait and see if a provider has physical space on which they can place one’s server. Thus, set-up is often as easy as applying for space with a provider and immediately being given a fully-functioning IP address.
- Availability: When issues at a data center affect server performance, clients often have to wait until those issues are resolved to have their network access restored. Those issues are nearly eliminated in the virtual environment. Because a cloud service provider has so many servers at his or her disposal, he or she can route an individual client’s resources to another server should any issues arise.
For all of the benefits that cloud servers offer, they also have their disadvantages. Cloud services often offer little extended monitoring, meaning that clients typically are only notified of issues happening on their own host server. Thus, they only learn of issues on the server network when their own servers go down. Network security in the virtual space is also a concern, as the lack of physical monitoring of cloud networks makes them prone to attack.
Can Cloud and Colocation Coexist?
Many of the more-established cloud service providers have developed methods to combat these issues. For those providers on the rise, they’re left with the difficult decision of having to either use their competitor’s services or risk exposing themselves to problems. Recently, however, many of these new providers have come up with a third option: a return to managed hosting. That’s right; many cloud providers themselves have recently chosen to follow the colocation model in establishing their host servers. While bucking the trend established by their predecessors, these providers are discovering that working with managed hosting services offers a number of benefits. These include:
- Server management: The task of maintaining production workloads across multiple virtual networks falls to the colocation provider, who also assumes the job of monitoring the cloud environment.
- Security: Colocation providers use the same security methods to protect their virtual servers as they do with their physical ones, namely:
- Hybridization: Some applications can’t meet their performance needs on the virtual server and thus need the bandwidth available from a physical one. A hybridized model allows these new cloud providers to offer their clients many of the best benefits of both the cloud and colocation worlds.
There are some who feel as though by relying on the colocation model, these new cloud providers may be pushing clients back to it altogether. If many of the benefits thought to be unique to the cloud are supported by managed hosting, what’s to stop clients from devaluing those benefits in favor of the safety and stability offered in the managed environment?
Can cloud service providers survive relying on managed hosting services? Only time and client response to their services will tell. In the meantime, those up-and-coming cloud providers looking to gain a firm foothold in the virtual space may find that outsourcing their management to a colocation provider will make it easier for them deliver the security and stability needed to lure in those potential clients who are looking for such benefits in the cloud environment.
Top image ©GL Stock Images
Your web hosting customers have more ways than ever to let everyone know exactly what they think of your services. While getting a good review can make you feel as though you’re on top of the digital world, all it takes is a single bad review to bring your web hosting business crashing down. Your current and future customers might be hesitant to trust you with their website, money and time after reading a bad review. Knowing how to handle a bad review and how to make your business stronger from it is just as vital as learning how to accept a genuine compliment.
Are Bad Reviews Signs You Need to Fix Your Business?
No matter how fantastic your web hosting services are, sooner or later there is bound to be at least one person who has something to complain about. While these complaints and bad reviews aren’t necessarily a sign that you need to tear your business down and completely start over, they are a sign that you may want to at least tweak your business model. Look at bad reviews and complaints as an opportunity to improve your business and learn more about exactly what it is that your customers want and expect from you.
One thing to keep in mind whenever you’re repairing bad hosting reviews is that you’re only human, and so are the people who’ve helped to build your web hosting service. No matter how closely you keep an eye on things, something is bound to slip through the cracks sooner or later.
What is the Best Way to First Address Complaints?
The first thing that you need to do whenever you receive a bad review or a complaint is keep a cool head. While you need to address the issue as soon as possible, you may not want to go with your initial reaction. You’ve put a lot of work into creating your web hosting firm, and when someone bashes what you’ve built your initial reaction is to probably lash out at them.
It’s best that you take a few minutes to cool down and read over the review again to get to the root of the problem. What specifically is it that the customer has a problem with? Whatever response you make should be truly helpful and pleasant. Make sure your reply has a human touch and that it doesn’t seem as though it was written by a robot or automated response system. Let the customer know that you value their input as well as the opportunity to make your web hosting services better.
Another good idea is to highlight things that you’ve done well in the past to get your customers to see how committed you’ve been to excellence and quality service. Are there any awards that your company has won? Have you been in business for a long period of time? Do you get a high number of customers every week? You don’t want to make it sound as though you’re bragging, but you also don’t want to look as inept as a reviewer might make you feel.
Is it Better to Accept Blame and Show Reviewers That You’ve Fixed the Problems?
Even if you feel that the blame lies with the customer, it’s usually best to take responsibility for any problems they bring up. Think of how many of your current customers as well as potential future customers you could lose if you make it seem as though it’s the customer that’s the problem and not you. Don’t think about your ego when it comes to complaints and bad reviews, think about what’s best for your business.
If you can, reach out personally to the unsatisfied customer and build a one-on-one rapport with them rather than respond to them directly on the review site or their social media profile. This shows that you are concerned enough that you’re willing to go to any lengths to find out how to get in touch with that individual and do what you can to keep their business. It’s always best that you step in before the customer has a chance to take their complaint elsewhere. Tame the fire before it spreads through the forest.
Once you’ve reached out to the customer, the next thing that you’ll want to do is get started on a solution as soon as possible. The longer you wait the angrier the customer becomes. Do what you can to go above and beyond what they’re expecting you to do. Show them how serious you are about taking the absolute best care of your customers.
After you’ve addressed the bad review and made amends, you’ve got to restore confidence in your hosting firm. Remember that you’re doing this for your current customers, loyal customers and future customers as well. While releasing a public statement addressing common complaints or bad reviews is a good idea, you have to remember that actions speak louder than words. Take a close look at how your web hosting firm operates and see if there are any areas that you can improve on to deliver better service. There could very well be a genuine issue with your business design if there is a common thread in the bad reviews or complaints that you receive.
Reach out to your customers to see what kind of changes and improvements they’d like to see with your web hosting business. They’re the ones using it, which means that they’re the best qualified to tell you how to make your firm even better than before. If customers feel as though they are being treated more like business partners and less like customers or numbers, then they are more likely to remain with you through thick and thin. Not only that, but they’re also more likely to recommend your hosting services to other people. Word of mouth marketing is one of the absolute best forms of marketing there is.
Rather than waiting to react to a bad review, create an effective and well-thought out contingency plan for repairing bad hosting reviews. Having a plan will allow you to handle the situation the right way the first time and is sure to fully satisfy your current and future customers.
Top image ©GL Stock Images