Chances are that your website or app will go offline one way or another even when you are Google. In fact, just last week, Google Calendar was offline for both normal users and Enterprise or G-suite users. How you handle downtime incidents can make you lose or gain your customers’ trust and possibly revenue.
So what can you do when you have a downtime?
Don’t Panic, establish root cause
First don’t go on panic mode. It’s very easy to press the panic button when things go awry. Stay calm. Call your developer if you are not technical and explain the problem. The first course of action should be to have a vague understanding of the severity of the situation and the root cause. Did you get hacked? Is it a system resource issue like RAM or CPU or storage starvation? Has the SSL certificate expired? It is an expired domain? It is a DNS issue? Is it the hosting provider? You don’t need to know the full details at this point, just a rough idea of what’s going on. This will inform you about the severity of the issue and how quickly it can be solved.
Communicate with clients
While you are trying to put out the fires, keep your clients in the know. They gave your their money. They trusted you. They clearly have expectations one of which is 99% uptime. Clients barely want to know about your internal problems, although they would understand depending on how you handle the situation.
One option is to maintain an updated emailing list of your clients whom you email about downtimes. Also you can use your social media channels to make updates. Keep tweeting and respond to Facebook comments from your users.
Another good option is to setup a status page using one of external service providers such as statuspage.io. Here, your clients will get uptodate updates about the status of the situation. You’ll save yourself from a tone of emails, tweets and calls from angry clients. One of my favorite status pages are those from Github and Linode which you can take a look at for inspiration.
Restore services gracefully
Don’t take forever to be offline otherwise clients will lose trust in your service. Start to gracefully restore services while giving updates. For instance, if you are an e-commerce site, you can make users to browse items while they can’t make orders yet. For the case of Site Monki, we can restore the web admin dashboard while we restore the core monitoring engine. Work on bringing separate services discretely until all of them are back online.
Give a postmortem
Your customers deserve to know what happened. Once your website is back online, write a brief but concise explanation of the root cause, what you did about it and what measures you have put in place to ensure the event doesn’t reoccur. By this time, you probably have a good understanding of what happened. Users are quite forgiving when you communicate. Doing this will restore trust to your users.
The most important thing is to subscribe a website uptime monitoring service which will alert you of downtime incidents. Again, it’s one thing for your website to go offline, it’s another for you to know it’s down. Signup today for Free to start monitoring your website with Site Monki.