When your website goes down

It happens. You have your website up and running, maybe it’s a commerce site and you just added new products, sent emails to let your customers know about what’s new, and your site goes down. Or maybe you just posted a new article, sent out notifications of your new article on Facebook and Twitter, and your site goes down. So what now?

Contact Support

Whether you’re hosting your website with Godaddy.com or using another hosting company, you’re going to have to contact them and let them know there’s a problem. Here’s some tips on contacting your provider:

  • Have your domain account information available. This may sound like I’m stating the obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked with folks who can’t find their web hosting account information. You may know your domain, but if you’re hosting with a big hosting provider, you may need information like an account ID, username or password for the account as well as possibly having to verify a security question. Have all of this information readily available for when the need arises. Also…
  • Be sure to include any error messages you may have received. You should also include the URL (http://yourwebsite.com) where the error message occurred.
  • Detail what steps you took when you received the error message. If it was just going to your home page, then specify that. The key is to explain as much as possible.
  • Have your complete contact information ready. If you’re entire website is down, and you have email accounts tied to the domain, you may have to use an alternative email address (like gmail or hotmail) to get information regarding the status of your support ticket and website.
  • Ask for an estimated time for completion or resolution. Depending on the extent of the issue, your website hosting company may not be able to give you an estimate on how long it will be down. It’s still good to ask.

Support tickets.

Some website hosts only offer their customers the ability to submit support tickets. If this is the case for you, include as much as you can from the above list. If the ticket system allows uploading images, you may want to take a screenshot of your site to show them what’s going on.

After submitting the support ticket, keep track of your ticket confirmation or ticket ID. This is your lifeline to your request.

Live chat.

This is offered by some web hosting companies and has been a good addition. Have all of the information from the bulleted list above ready for the chat. If the company you use has a support ticket system and live chat, you may want to submit a support ticket first. If you don’t hear back, get on the live chat. You can always use the live chat, but before you go offline, it might be a good idea to copy the chat and paste it in a document.

If the live chat function allows you to send an email to yourself of the chat, do that. Also, before you disconnect from live support, ask if there’s a support ticket number or ID that you can refer to as the issue is resolved.

Phone support.

If your web host company offers phone support, that’s great. Please be aware that this can be pretty time consuming as some phone support lines can have a bit of a wait/queue before you get to talk to someone in technical support. Once you’re on the phone with technical support go over your bulleted list. Before you hang up ask if there’s a ticket number or reference ID associated with your support call.

Keep in touch with those that are using your website.

If your website goes down, do what you can to keep in touch with your site visitors. If you have a Twitter that you use with your website, tweet your followers that you’re having some website issues, but will keep them in the loop as to when the site will be back up. Same thing if you have a Facebook page.

Finally, having a plan for website interruptions will help you get back up and running.