Uh-oh. Wake up in the morning, down a cup of coffee and sit down for business. The only problem is that your website won’t load. What do you do?
Downtime can lead to lost sales, bewildered audiences that will look for reliable sources of web-based information, and a host other problems (including your own sense of frustration!). In this article, we’ll take a look at what you should do when your WordPress-based website won’t load.
What Was the Last Change You Made?
One of the easiest ways to fix a problem is to simply think about the last change that you made to your website. Often, an incompatible plug-in is the cause for a WordPress error. Other times, the plug-in itself may need to be updated to adapt to a global change in WordPress’ infrastructure. If this fixes the problem, make sure to fully understand why the error occurs. There’s nothing worse than repeatedly facing downtime for something that should’ve been handled once.
If you think it is related to your last change, you may be able to use a previously-working version. This version-control can get your website back online with a simple click, which beats rooting out the problem (especially if you’re not tech-savvy). Online tutorials offer a good way to find out the source of your problem, especially considering that you’re probably not the only one who has a website that won’t load.
Last, if you want direct interaction with industry professionals, you may want to visit the Stack Overflow forums. The forum allows you to pose WordPress-related questions and get opinions and solutions to your problems. It should be noted that anyone can answer your questions, but verified users have scores based on their useful help. This can be a quick, interactive fix for those that have nuanced answer that also can serve as a way of finding competent individuals that you may want to hire to be your web admins.
Check Your Template
WordPress is a pretty rocksteady CMS platform, but it isn’t infallible. The team behind WordPress, one of the world’s most-used website builders (75+ million users as of 2017), has its work cut out for it when it comes to handling security, compatibility, and staying on top of the newest digital trends.
That being said, they do offer a wealth of templates that function efficiently for those who only want basic functionality. Still, WordPress drops the ball from time to time and you may find your website unable to load properly (or display incorrectly). WordPress’ basic templates, especially older ones that may lose support, can be the source of your website’s downtime. In other instances, newer templates can be the source of issues. To rectify this, you may want to do a quick search based on your template’s name on Google. If you’re experiencing problems, chances are that others are, too. The best place to start is WordPress’ forums, where other webmasters are seeking answers.
Sometimes, using free templates from private companies can cause your WordPress template to crash, especially if they aren’t regularly updated or move unexpectedly to a pay-only model. This can pull the rug out from under your website
Check for WordPress Updates
WordPress frequently updates its information to keep up with the aforementioned updates and hackers that are looking to exploit it. Therefore, you should check to see if you have the updated version of WordPress. If not, simply install it and see if it changes your website’s status. Sometimes the easiest fix is the right fix.
Check Your Web Traffic
Have you been getting spikes in web traffic based on posting your content on social media and various web sites? If so, you should know that heavily-trafficked web pages can bring down your website and make it inaccessible until the traffic subsides. Overwhelming web traffic is such a common problem on websites like Reddit that it’s been referred to the “hug of death,” where your content is so loved that it suffocates it.
The reason is that free web hosts don’t devote much storage and bandwidth to those who aren’t their paid customers. And while it may be mission critical for your online business, those freemium web hosts don’t directly profit from your traffic but pay for the usage. For those who use free web hosts, you may not have an option to boost your storage capacity to bring your website back online until you find a legitimate hosting or upgrade your service.
Similarly, if you use a dedicated web host and experience a spike in web traffic, it may be time for an upgrade. After all, it’s a web marketer’s dream to get a huge influx of traffic; it’s conversely a web marketer’s nightmare to see a window of opportunity slam shut because you decided to go with the cheapest plan.
Check Your Web Host
Okay, if you’ve checked that the fault is not on your end, it’s now time to consult your hosting company. Technically, you could have started with this method of deduction, as a good web host makes their online tech support available for just these types of emergencies. The trade-off is that you may have to take additional time speaking with your web host, where a simple fix may have rectified it.
After all, this instance is why your web host’s tech support is crucial to getting your WordPress-based website back online. Choosing the best web hosting for WordPress is critical for these circumstances. Imagine if you decided to choose a web host that doesn’t offer unlimited customer service or charges for in-depth service—you’d certainly be kicking yourself when it came to get your website back online.
If you haven’t sought out hosting, you may be at the mercy of the free web host’s changes. Normally, they’ll inform you of any scheduled downtime ahead of time, even if it’s a brief email or a direct message on your WordPress dashboard. However, you may have your hands tied behind your back, so to speak, when it comes to getting your website back online. This may be a crossroads for you business, where you should start to consider paid options to ensure that your business spends critical time staying online and not confined to a digital purgatory.
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