Lessons learned in 10 years of uptime monitoring

This is what I’ve learned in 10 years of running an uptime monitoring business detecting over 2 million outages for over 4k users around the world…

Lessons learned in 10 years of uptime monitoring
  1. Hosted websites go down for an average of 6 hours each month - I had huge campaigns reaching out to hosting companies to offer their customers external monitoring; none of them wanted their customers to find out about their outages from a 3rd party;
  2. Use serverless technologies whenever possible - if you have a presentation website, use a static site generator instead of Wordpress;
  3. If you have a publication and really need WordPress, use Gatsby to pull the content from WordPress and generate a static website;
  4. I cannot stress how much using static websites will improve your uptime, performance, marketing efforts, and SEO; we’re running both our client web app and our presentation website as static websites, just HTML, CSS, and JS; and there is no limitation on what you can do with that; and much fewer vulnerabilities, less prone to hacking and even more resilience against DDoS attacks;
  5. You’re not safe if you’re hosted on Amazon, Google, Heroku, or Netlify - Human error takes down sites in an instant; We’ve taken down our website more often by human error than technical failure.
  6. All sites go down more often than you think - having your website up when you check it is not enough, there are automated backups and maintenance that break your site even every night, when you’re sleeping, and when your visitors might not;
  7. Don’t buy cheap SSL certificates - You might be using a modern browser that can work with any SSL certificate issuer, but that might make half your users get a nasty Warning “This site is not secure” message.
  8. Don’t use cheap hosting - If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Cheap hosting has poor support, poor networking hardware, and poor uptime. Your site will go down at random times for completely unknown reasons and you won’t get any answers.
  9. Hosted websites need maintenance - If you’re not using a managed hosting, have an ops person run maintenance tasks, upgrade packages, check out logs for errors, investigate load issues. A website is not a one-time job, it requires nurturing and long-term care.
  10. Don’t build your long-term website on a proprietary service - Wix, Weebly, GoDaddy, Squarespace have one purpose: to make money, not to take your business to the next level. They’re very good to get you started but the website that comes out is mediocre at best. And the bigger your site gets, the harder it will be to migrate it to another solution - and they know this.
  11. If your homepage is up, it doesn’t mean your website isn’t broken - Always ensure your shop listing, cart pages, check-out pages are working at all times; nothing sends a potential customer away faster than a broken purchasing process.

I hope this helped, I know that you cannot apply everything from day one, but it’s critical to your success to keep this in mind for medium and long-term planning of your online presence.

I wish you sunny days and a stellar uptime.

–Photo by JOHN TOWNER on Unsplash