Ensuring a high website uptime is essential for any website owner looking to provide a reliable and seamless experience for their visitors. Downtime or slow website performance can lead to a negative user experience, loss of revenue, and a damaged reputation. Therefore, it is crucial to take proactive measures to ensure your website is up and running smoothly.
Alright, in this article, I will explore ways to help you ensure a high website uptime for your website.
1. Choose a reliable web hosting provider
A reliable web hosting provider is the foundation of high website uptime. Look for a provider with a proven track record of providing reliable hosting services and strong uptime guarantees. Bluehost, SiteGround, DreamHost, Liquid Web, WP Engine, and Hostinger are some of the top web hosting companies today. However, you can also choose to self-host your website. In this case, you need to rent a Virtual Private Server(VPS) from providers such as Linode(now Akamai), Digital Ocean, or bigger cloud providers like Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Sitemonki.com blog is currently hosted by Linode and they have so far proven to be reliable.
2. Monitor website uptime
Regularly monitoring website uptime is critical to quickly identifying and resolving issues. Consider using a website monitoring service that can alert you of any downtime or performance issues. There are a number of uptime monitoring services such as Uptime Robot, Pingdom, Site24x7, StatusCake, FreshPing, SolarWinds, and of course our very own Sitemonki.com. We do check your website every 1 minute to check on its status. We then alert you via email if your website is down. Beyond website monitoring, Sitemonki also provides SSL and Domain name expiry monitoring. Best of all, you can sign up completely free.
3. Use a reliable content management system (CMS)
A reliable CMS can provide a strong foundation for high website uptime. There are several options out there, so choose a CMS with a proven track record of providing reliable and secure website hosting services. Some of the top CMS include WordPress, Ghost, Drupal, and Joomla. These CMS allow you to download them and customize them to your own liking. These are great for hosting blogs, personal websites, corporate websites, and news websites. If you run an e-commerce store, you can consider using Magento, Shopify, or Bigcommerce. You can choose between self-hosted options in which case you have the liberty to run the software on your own server, or managed/hosted option where the software is managed on your behalf. As Sitemonki, we are using WordPress.
4. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN can significantly improve website performance by distributing website content across a network of servers located in different geographic locations. When a user requests a webpage, the CDN delivers the content from the server that is located closest to the user, reducing the distance and time required for the content to travel. This results in faster page load times, improved website responsiveness, and a better user experience. You should use a CDN if you are serious about website performance. Some of the best CDNs include Cloudflare, Akamai, Amazon Cloudfront, Fastly, StackPath, KeyCDN, Google Cloud CDN, Microsoft Azure, and Limelight Networks among others. As of writing this article, I have not yet implemented CDN on Sitemonki blog, but I intend to very soon.
5. Use a reliable domain name system (DNS) provider
DNS translates human reliable names such as sitemonki.com to IP addresses that computers understand. Therefore a reliable DNS provider can ensure that your website’s domain name is always resolving to the correct IP address. Your web hosting company or domain registrar most likely already provides DNS services for your website. However, there are dedicated reputable DNS providers with strong uptime guarantees and they include; Cloudflare, Google Cloud DNS, Amazon Route 53, Dyn, UltraDNS, DNS Made Easy, NS1, Namecheap, and Name.com among others. I am currently using name.com.
6. Optimize your website Images
Optimizing images is a crucial step in improving website performance, as images can often be a significant contributor to slow page load times. Optimizing images means reducing the file size of each image without compromising its quality, resulting in faster load times and improved website performance. There are several ways to optimize images, including compressing images, reducing the resolution, and choosing the appropriate file format for each image. Additionally, using responsive images that adjust to different screen sizes can help to reduce the amount of data transferred and improve website performance on mobile devices. If you want to resize your images, I suggest you use photo editors such as Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Canva, Pixlr or PicMonkey, Squoosh which is my favorite actually.
7. Set up a caching system
Caching can significantly improve website performance by storing frequently accessed content on the user’s device or on a server closer to the user’s location. By using caching, a website can reduce the number of requests made to the server, resulting in faster page load times and improved website performance. If you have already set up a CDN as already discussed, then you have a form of caching. Now consider two more kinds of caching; server-side and browser/client-side caching. Server caching stores website data on the server, allowing the server to quickly deliver website content to users without generating new HTML pages. Browser caching stores website data on the user’s device, allowing the browser to quickly retrieve and display website content without making new requests to the server.
8. Minimize the use of third-party scripts
Third-party [javacript] scripts, such as social media widgets, chatbots, analytics tools, and advertising platforms, can significantly impact website performance. Each additional script adds an additional request to the server, which can increase page load times and negatively impact user experience. Therefore, it is essential to carefully evaluate and minimize the use of third-party scripts to optimize website performance. Use only those scripts you really must have. For instance, if you run an e-commerce site, a chatbot might be essential. If you monetize your website via Ads, then those scripts are essential. Some strategies for minimizing the use of third-party scripts include reducing the number of scripts used, prioritizing scripts based on their impact on website performance, and using asynchronous loading to prevent scripts from blocking other page elements.
9. Back up your website regularly
Backing up your website regularly is crucial in case of any data loss or website downtime. Having a backup also means that you can quickly recover from a data loss incident quickly. If your website has been hacked, you can restore your website from a backup. It’s absolutely essential that you back up your website. I recommend daily, weekly or monthly backups depending on how busy your website is. Consider automating website backups to ensure that you always have the latest version of your website. Personally, I back up every day. If you run on WordPress, consider these backup services; Jetpack Backup, UPdraftPlus, BlogVault, WP Time Capsule, BackupBuddy, WP Database Backup among others.
10. Regularly update website software and plugins
Outdated software and plugins can be vulnerable to security threats and may negatively impact website performance. Regularly update your website software and plugins to ensure that your website is running the latest version. Updating software has several levels; from the server operating system to its packages, to the Content Management System(CMS) such as WordPress to the plugins. Make sure the entire Tech stack is updated.
Those are my top 10 tips on how to maintain high website uptime. But to add some bonus points;
- Consider using a firewall to protect your website from potential security threats.
- Use a load balancer to distribute traffic across multiple servers if you run a high-traffic site.
- Implementing a well-documented disaster recovery plan helps you quickly respond to website downtime.
- Have a website developer on retainer to help you with downtime incidents.