If you’re operating one of those traditional sales pages as a little side-hobby for some extra money, then having to live with some server downtime is nothing more than a little pain. If you’re a little more serious about your e-commerce business however and your entire online business operates online, even the slightest bit of down-time or any equivalent interruption to your service eats into your profits by the second. Perhaps you did everything in your power to make the shopping experience as smooth as possible for your customers. You may have optimized your payment gateways, stocked up on the necessary goods from Abound or similar wholesale suppliers so that no items run out, and you may have double-checked that the shipping company delivers the goods on time, among many other things. Even so, just a single second of downtime could turn away what could potentially have been a lifelong, big client or buyer who might perhaps have subsequently turned into a lifelong, big client of a competitor. That single second of downtime cannot be completely avoided, but it simply has to be timed properly with the correct “damage-control” measures in place to ensure the outcome isn’t a dire one, such as a potentially big client turning to a competitor. There are plenty of competitors for pretty much any business that operates in the online space and clone websites that may perhaps even offer the same product or service you’re offering cheaper can pop up within a matter of hours. This is why you have to make use of every advantage you can get and it all starts with managing your up-time and planning carefully for those inevitable, vital few seconds of down-time.
99.9% Network Up-Time
Look, this is as good as it gets by way of server up-time. Any web hosting service provider who offers you 100% server up-time should be avoided like the plague. They’re simply lying to you because 100% is just not possible. If they’re lying to you about up-time, what else are they lying to you about?
What Happens During Down-Time
I hate to come across as focussing on the negative stuff, but that’s just the way it is with businesses that depend on being online — it’s about what can go wrong as opposed to what could go right. So you have to have plans in place for those down-time moments — in other words what a visitor to your website sees when they happen to be visiting at the very moment your site may be down, for whatever reason. One thing you can do is make use of an integrated cloud service which displays an alternative message to the otherwise off-putting “server not found” message visitors will often see by default. You can be honest with the visitor, telling them that the site is currently down — something which is surprisingly handled very well by even the least savvy of internet users. They seem to know all about the remaining bit of the 99.9% up-time and will often just exercise a bit of patience and wait for your site to get back up so they can proceed with the regular business of the day.
DoS and DDoS Protection
A good web hosting provider will usually offer DDoS protection as part of their web hosting services, especially for their dedicated servers. A Denial of Service attack is when hackers maliciously send a lot of traffic to your websites, using many devices or IP addresses in the case of a DDoS attack (a Dos attack uses one device) to effectively “deny” other users of the service it offers. This is definitely not something someone operating an e-commerce website will want to have to deal with, especially if you don’t have technical programming and web security skills.