Help! My website is down

Help! My website is down.  There is no need to panic.  Here's what you need to know to get through this....At some point most website owners experience panic mode. Your website is down! What’s wrong?

Is it a hosting issue?
Did you forget to renew your domain name?
Is there an outdated WordPress plugin?
Is WordPress stuck in Maintenance mode?
Have you been hacked!?

Don’t Panic

Web servers are quite often momentarily inaccessible due to maintenance and backups. If there isn’t any error message and you haven’t just made an update and you know for a fact that you’ve renewed your domain name then… just wait fifteen minutes and try again.

Take a deep breath and go make a cuppa tea.

Check the Host

Check out the host company’s run-time blog where they list any known issues that might impact your site. If your server isn’t listed with a known error and your site has been down for an hour, contact the host company’s support.

Last week we talked about Owning your own Website and having all your website documentation at your finger tips by creating a Website Essentials document that you keep in a dropbox folder. Knowing how to contact the host company and what your account login credentials are will lessen your stress when your website is down.

Your host support team should be able to identify the problem. They will be able to tell if you failed to renew the domain name, if the problem is coming from a code error on your site or if your site has been hacked.

Check the Domain

If you didn’t renew your domain name on time your site will be taken down, but there’s no need to panic. There is a grace period. If the time between when you noticed your site is down and when your domain should have been renewed is not too long, your domain will be on hold allowing you time to renew. Once your domain is renewed your site will be restored.

Check for Updates

  • Check for any plugins that have an update notice and update them. Some plugins may become outdated and no longer work with a newer version of WordPress.
  • If you update a WordPress plugin that breaks your site, access the /wp-content/plugins directory on your server via FTP. Rename or delete the broken plugin and your site will be restored.
  • If your site went down when updating the WordPress core files by automatic upgrade, try a manual WordPress update.

Check for Malware

There are a number of WordPress plugins that you can use to scan your for Malware. If you find evidence that your site has been hacked contact your host company. They will want to clean any nefarious code from their servers as much as you do. Your host should be able to restore your site to a previous version, hopefully prior to the injection of code.

Reliable Hosting Matters

We highly recommend WPEngine for hosting (read my story here). How much is your site, and the time to restore it, worth to you? The cost of WordPress managed hosting won’t seem like much compared to that. WPEngine sets nightly restore points….knowing that you have regular backups will give you peace of mind if anything ever goes wrong with your site.

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