Why Does My Website Keep Crashing?

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    Imagine if users were in the middle of browsing your website or shopping your e-commerce site, and it froze and stopped. They would most likely lose patience, and you would lose a sale or lead. Online businesses can’t weather an unreliable, slow, or broken website.

    That first impression is crucial.
    Your website represents your brand. Downtime affects not only productivity but also your reputation and your website optimization. A down website increases your bounce rate and costs you revenue. Any website is subject to breaking down, but it is critical to prevent downtime and limit the duration when it does occur. You must keep your website functioning without repeated outages.
    Old websites are likely to break down over time. Here the GlobalSpex team shares common reasons that websites break down, so you can keep your website running at all costs. You’ll be prepared to leverage several solutions, perform simple tasks, and employ tools to keep downtime to a minimum.

    Website crashing

    Why Do Websites Crash?

    1. Broken, Outdated, or Infected Code

    This issue happens regularly on websites that aren’t routinely maintained. And every website will face this issue eventually as programming languages are constantly evolving, leaving something obsolete in its wake. Outdated code can cause errors due to deprecated code and code incompatibilities.
    PHP is regularly updated, and WordPress websites are updated along with them. Most of these updates address a known PHP issue on top of new features, security patches, and other improvements. PHP errors include memory, processing, or fatal errors.
    This can often be fixed on WordPress websites by replacing the deprecated or broken feature, plugin, theme, or WordPress core update. Old JavaScript code can cause issues. Some errors prevent pages from loading. Others can cause critical elements of the design or functionality of a website not to work correctly. It’s essential to keep JavaScript code up to date to avoid conflicts and vulnerabilities.

    Server error page of code 500 on computer monitor

    2. Browser Switches

    Internet browsers often share updates to improve their products. While these updates usually enhance your experience and security, failing to perform updates can cause your website to crash.

    3. Coding Errors

    As happened with the Great Amazon Web Service Outage of 2017, errors in code can cause website crashes. Websites operate with thousands of lines of code. When even one character is misplaced, the error can wreak havoc.

    4. Traffic Swells

    All business owners would love to have traffic flood into their websites. But if your website is not built to manage the sudden surge, you can crash your website. Together we can decide on the best website hosting plan that meets such needs.

    5. Software Updates, Plugins, and PHP Upgrades

    With all of the plugins, software, and PHP code most websites use for various functionalities, frequent updates can slow it down. We use our expertise to keep your website up-to-date and reduce downtime.

    6. Cyberattacks and Infections

    When your website is not encrypted and secured, hackers invade and leave behind malware that slows your website’s performance or shuts it down completely. Infected websites will go down due to excessive traffic. These infections are often coded with poorly written JavaScript that causes conflicts with existing code. Infections can also lead to PHP errors, including running out of memory and resources.

    7. Service Provider Disruptions

    Web service providers can have issues that will cause your website to go down. This can be due to things like technical problems and inclement weather. But there are usually IT professionals on the case immediately when this happens.

    8. Domain DNS Error

    Miss your domain renewal, and your website could crash. Other issues can affect DNS, including improper configuration, DDOS attacks, high latency, and network failures. When GlobalSpex maintains your website, we will be on the lookout for these errors and resolve these issues quickly.

    9. DDoS Attacks

    Distributed Denial of Service attacks occur when bad actors flood a website with an enormous amount of traffic, leading to overload.

    10. Overloaded Server

    Surges on one website can cause other websites on the same server may go down. This could be to protect the integrity of other websites. Or the rush in traffic could cause other websites to crash.

    11. Mishandled Maintenance

    When your website isn’t regularly maintained, problems and downtime occur. Updates often provide needed upgrades in security.

    12. CMS Theme Incompatibility

    You have more control over your website when using WordPress, but theme updates can go wrong. Each new theme installed must be compatible with the version of WordPress that you are using.

    CSS Source Code for the Error 404 Page

    Issues Specific to WordPress Websites 

    WordPress is an open-source, free content management system operating under the GPLv2 license. Open-source means everyone is free to utilize or modify the platform’s software, and you’ll pay absolutely nothing for this. 

    Due to this open license, WordPress has become the most popular tool for creating your blog or website

    The platform powers more than 43 percent of sites on the web, meaning that it likely powers at least one in every four websites you visit. It’s popular among small and established entities, bloggers, and Fortune 500 companies from all corners of the globe. Each WordPress website has a standardized set of components that constitute its fundamental building blocks. These components can affect the functionality of your website. 

    1. Posts: This crucial WordPress component allows you to create different content types. Website owners mostly use them for blogs, but you can still use them for regular or timely content like image galleries and news articles. WooCommerce uses posts for each product entry. The more complex your post setup with custom fields and post types, the more opportunities for issues upgrading.
    2. Pages – These work like posits in many ways. However, their main objective is to hold static, more ageless content with a lower likelihood of changing regularly. Like posts, pages can get customized with various levels of features like pulling and displaying data from the database, which requires custom code. If you are using Javascript or special queries, any updates can possibly be a problem or contribute to a website crashing.
    3. Media Library: You must supplement content beyond the text for an engaging site. Images are some of the most common additional media, but you can also upload audio, video, or documents. If you have a tendency to upload very large media files like videos or full-size photos that might be over 1-2 megabytes, this can cause display issues or rendering issues.

    Issues that Plague Old WordPress Websites 

    As popular and useful as WordPress has become, it is also the target of many hackers, and since so many people use it, if mismanaged, it can show some serious security and performance issues. This might give it a bad reputation.

    Let’s go through some of these problems:

    Time and Technology.

    No matter how great you manage your website, over the years, it can break down due to technology’s desire to constantly change and improve.

    As you continue to use your website, build it out, add functionality, and upload hundreds of images, this can degrade your website. 

    Consider an example of a Mercedes S Class purchased in 2000. During its first years, the machine was cool and hip with a brand-new engine, tires, and lovely new car smell. 

    Twenty years and 150,000 miles later, it will begin to have problems. Hinges will break, the engine will deteriorate, electronics like your CD player will be outdated, and you’ll be left to choose between investing in repairs or replacing the car. 

    Like a vehicle, a website breaking down is possible even if you’ve meticulously maintained it with the proper care. 

    You can keep up with the maintenance, but you’ll have to replace components over time. Things will be too hard to repair as technology improves, and you’ll need to consider whether it’s worth it to continue investing your resources on the site or create a new one. 

    Internet Dependencies

    Dependencies arise where one segment of your application requires another corresponding one to function. When one feature of your website can’t function unless the other works correctly, this will be a dependency situation. A real-world example of a dependency is your home requiring electric power and your refrigerator needing that power to function. When there is a blackout, your refrigerator stops working, and your food spoils. 

    As we discussed earlier, your website is essentially software designed, deployed, and coded, serving use cases like any other software. But several dependencies will affect how it performs, starting with the broader internet network, web servers, your website’s software, your internet connection, your computer, and then your browser. Right off the shelf, your website is packed with thousands of these dependencies. 

    The first of these dependencies is the internet network. This collection of computers and servers is the backbone feeding into individual web servers. To connect to your site, your web users rely on a complex series of networks. This is the first thing your provider will check whenever there is a load problem or outage. 

    The second dependency is the website server – a computer or PC. You can configure the device to function as a web server while the operating system powers this dependency layer. Significant examples include Oracle, CentOS, and RedHat. The operating system encompasses thousands of unique dependencies. 

    The third dependency is the actual software powering your website. We describe this as the tech stack or technology infrastructure. The stack could include IIS for Microsoft or open-source web server software. It also implies a LAMP, where the operating system is Linux, Apache working as the web server will be Apache, and MySQL as the database. The scripting language, on the other hand, is usually PHP. 

    The fourth dependency is your computer, and your choice of browser is the next dependency, with your browser affecting how your website displays and functions. The older the browser, the worse it will be. 

    These combinations must work together to power your website and bring it out to the public. But there is more to consider. 

    WordPress Themes

    Themes refer to the different appearance aspects of your WordPress website design. Consider themes in the skin of your platform as they determine how content will display on the front end. Updates to these themes aren’t just inevitable but necessary. 

    No matter how well-coded a website is, it will develop vulnerabilities in time. When this happens, the theme developers will quickly release a patch as an update. Typically, when you enter a WordPress dashboard, you see an alert of any outdated plugins and themes. 

    You can update the theme from here, but you should only do this once you have backed up your website and, more importantly, created a child theme. The child theme allows you to change minor aspects of your site’s appearance while preserving your theme’s look and functionality. 

    One primary concern with themes is that each year themes are abandoned, with no patch left behind to fix problems. This makes it more challenging to maintain. As other dependent areas change and upgrade, like the web server, it can break if your theme doesn’t keep pace. When it comes to themes, there is another consideration – theme functions. 

    Each theme has its own set of functions, and the functions.php file uses PHP code to add or change default features on a WordPress site. Editing the functions.php file using custom codes allows you to add types, taxonomies, shortcodes, and more to improve your website. 

    Plugins and Widgets

    These software pieces allow for adding extra functionality and capabilities to your website. Changing functionality can be achieved in just a few clicks without having technical knowledge. Third-party plugins also help you achieve an enhanced user experience. 

    Plugins offer updated features like e-commerce, calendars, memberships, and more. But as with browser and computer software updates, these plugins like WooCommerce or Membership plugins regularly push feature updates, enhance security, and fix the code. While these essential updates sometimes boost your site’s functionality, more importantly, they fix security holes that hackers find and attempt to exploit. These updates that plugin owners push will fix or fill these holes. Widgets refer to the content added to the site’s specific locations called widget areas. 

    Why Downtime is So Detrimental To Your Business

    Downtime threatens businesses as it causes customer dissatisfaction, a damaged brand image, lower search engine ranking, and a loss of business and revenue. Since your website is often the first thing your users encounter, it is the most valuable tool in attracting customers. As such, it should always be available 24/7. Repeated outages can have considerable ramifications for your business, especially for online businesses. Eventually, existing customers will switch to your competitors. 

    What Can You Do If Your Website Starts Crashing?

    Crashes will happen at some point, so having a dependable website maintenance company on your team will get it up and running quickly. GlobalSpex takes pride in diligently caring for our client’s site maintenance, including malware monitoring. 

    To repair a website crash:

    If your website continues to break down, you have two options – continue to repair it or rebuild and redesign it. You can choose to continue to repair your website as you would your beloved twenty-year-old Mercedes. But eventually, it will completely break down, become a security risk, or become extremely expensive to maintain. When you consider this and how an old website can age your company, sometimes the best option is to rebuild and redesign the website completely

    Businessman having trouble with computer. Application failed message

    Key Takeaway 

    Outages happen, but regular occurrences are not. With these common causes of downtime, you should be able to take steps to prevent it from happening repeatedly. Websites wear out over time, and yours is no different. 

    Your website, like your business, has its complexities. This is why you must keep your WordPress website updated, including themes and plugins. Every missed update is a potential security threat. 

    The longer the interval between updates, the more vulnerable your website becomes. Despite this, you must continue presenting all the moving parts in a compelling, engaging, and attractive format. But balancing this task while trying to win new customers and improve services is no easy feat. Fortunately, you can count on GlobalSpex Internet Marketing for your website, hosting, and maintenance needs. We offer custom web design, website support, WordPress services, branding, eCommerce, and SEO. Reach out to discuss expert SEM services. Contact us today to ensure you get the most out of your WordPress website.

    Why Does My Website Keep Crashing?

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    Christina Hawkins

    Since 1999, Christina has been designing and building exceptional websites partnering with small businesses to help them grow and increase revenue. With many years of experience in creating thousands of websites, she understands the need for continuing education in her field and, therefore, is constantly learning and teaching others about internet marketing and digital processes. In addition to her ability as a digital marketer, Christina serves as a coach and mentor with Agency Mavericks to other digital marketing freelancers, helping them grow their businesses. She is a sponsor and co-leader of Houston's WordPress Meetup. Recently, she spearheaded the next Houston WordCamp 2020 as its coordinator after a 10 year hiatus. She is currently President of the Houston Interactive Marketing Association.

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