Even the best web hosting service provider out there cannot ensure 100% uptime. So there is always a chance that your website can go down. However, it isn’t just the web host that is always the underlying reason for why your website is down.
There are almost endless reasons why a website can go down and how you can fix it.
Most content management system such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal. Or other website building platform including Squarespace, Wix etc require updates for better features, add on’s and security so often not all these updates work well together. In the case with WordPress themes and plugins can clash with each other and cause website errors or even worse your website to crash.
If you are doing plugin updates and you get an error like this “Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in /home/websitename/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pluginname1/modules/plugins/nameofplugin2.php on line 32 or Fatal error: require(): Failed opening required ‘/var/www/vhosts/websitename/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/pluginname/functions_include.php on line 66 etc.
You can normally see 1 or 2 plugin names within it and these are the plugins that are causing the issue. The best way to check this is to access your websites control panel or FTP and disable the plugin (s) that are causing the issue.
To disable the plugin you can rename your plugin folder located in wp-content/plugins/nameofplugin. Just add the text disable or old at the end of the plugin name. This will disable the plugin and you should be able to get back into the WordPress dashboard. You can then test this plugin with other plugins by disabling them one by one to see where the conflict is and then contact the plugin developer for help.
If the issue occurs after a theme update then you can revert your theme to a standard theme like twenty 17 to check if the error is from the theme and then contact your theme developer for help.
Hacked Account & Malware Attacks
Occasionally websites go down because they are victims of malware or hacking attacks. Such attacks may have originated from local computer systems used to manage your website or from the internet. It is recommended to update your security programs regularly on your computer and not to use public computer systems to access your accounts.
If your website is showing weird ad’s or text then you may need to clean all your website files to remove all malware. Tightening up your website security and regularly maintaining this can help prevent it.
One time I had a client come to me to say they had text on their lasted blog post saying “I am the white horse hacker, you may want to check your website security so contact us at ……) We checked all the files and everything was clear, obviously, some person trying to get business by hacking websites with low security and weak passwords. We contacted them and they responded with…. yes we can clean your website, we removed the text, changed the passwords, updated all the plugins, theme and WordPress version and tighten up their website security to fix the issue and prevent it from happening again.
Your hosting provider may also send you an email saying something like this “During a recent SiteLock security scan of your Bluehost website, malware was detected which is likely evidence of a security compromise.” or ” Hello, While monitoring the server your account is hosted on, your account was found to have been compromised and is being used as a spam source. We have disabled the malicious script/s detailed below and leveraged temporary mail restrictions on your account. We understand that this can be concerning, though please accept this report as advanced notice that action is needed on your account.”
You can contact your hosting provider or developer to help you remove these file.
Changes to DNS
It is likely that you may have purchased your domain name from a third-party service such as crazy domains or site ground. Your website can go down if your domain name has expired or there have been DNS changes. Sometimes the third-party provider may update the IP address. So if your site goes down and you cannot determine what the reason is, you should contact your DNS provider (Domain name).
Issues with the Server
Server overload is the most common issue that is related to a website. This depends on many factors including the web hosting plan you have chosen, server quality, and the resources available to your website. If there is a sudden surge in traffic on the server, it may no longer be able to support all the traffic.
Normally before your website goes down you should get a notification about your bandwidth limit is reached so you can contact your hosting provider about upgrading your hosting service before your website goes offline.
The server hardware malfunctioning is another type of issue. The hardware can have different types of issues that may prevent your website from working. There may be a problem with the circuits or the cooling system. Power failure or natural calamities at your data-centers may also affect your website’s status. Contact your hosting provider.
Maintenance on the Server
All web hosts will have server maintenance downtimes. So if your site is down, this can be the underlying reason. Maintenance is required for a wide range of purposes, including upgrades to hardware, repairs, and updates to software. Most of the time, the hosting service providers notify this type of downtime in advance.
Usually, such maintenance is carried out at off-business-hours, but emergency updates may be carried out during any time of the day. Normally your hosting provider should contact you about this beforehand.
Blocked IP Address
Sometimes internet provider can block your website for unknown reasons. I have had a few clients in the past inform me their website was down and when I checked it was working as usual and this was because their internet provider had blocked them. So make sure it’s not just you that can’t see your website as it may be your internet provider and not your actual website.
So if you are facing a problem with opening your website, these could be the most common reasons. The moment your site goes down without any reason, you should contact your web hosting service or a website tech/ developer.