No Unscheduled Website Downtime
I was recently hired to redesign a website. The client asked me “How long will the site be down?” This kind of amused me. I don’t bring this point up when discussing with a project with a client. Why? Because downtime is not an option when I work on your project. If it is technically unavoidable, my planned downtime is always scheduled during off hours, usually on the weekend or before 6 am E.ST. (I am located on the coast of Virginia)
First, let me explain what I mean by website downtime.
Why is my website down?
A website is defined as “down” if it is currently not accessible through a web browser on the Internet. There could be lots of unintentional reasons for this to happen. These can be lumped into a few high level categories:
- web hosting issues
- DNS (domain name) issues
- website code problems
Downtime is bad for a lot of reasons. If you are a business owner downtime can cause you to:
- lose sales
- lose customers
- lose search engine rankings
- effect your company’s professional reputation
People hire me all the time to fix website problems when their website is down already.
I am not talking about this type of downtime though. I am talking about a site being offline specifically due to the inexperience of the web developer or designer that you hired.
Any professional web developer will never unintentionally cause your site to be down.
There is no good reason for your website to ever be offline if you are moving to a new host.
There is no good reason for your website to ever be offline if you are redesigning a website.
The only reason for this to happen is due to inexperience. If someone tells you the site will be down while they are working on it, hire another web developer.
Why Do I Say This?
If you understand the relationship of what’s going on between a web host and DNS there is no reason for the site to be down at all when moving to a new web host.
When you redesign a website, it should never be done on the live domain. There is no need for an “under maintenance” or “under construction” landing page. A website redesign is never applied to a live site.
I quoted a job to convert a site to WordPress for a web hosting client of mine. My proposal was not in line with his budget, so he hired someone much less experienced (and cheaper) than what I offered. The value and quality of work was comparing apples to oranges. The existing website was taken down immediately with a default install of WordPress replacing it. After 2 weeks, the same default installation of WordPress was showing with no work done. For 2 weeks, every customer and potential customer saw this when trying to access his website. Not too professional. During this time, the person that was hired, actually contacted me to ask me how to do things. Needless to say, the old website was finally put back and no changes were made.
No one wants to deal with issues like this. If you are hiring a web developer, you want to work with someone that has the knowledge and experience to do things the right way.
I have a process in place that I follow for moving websites or rebuilding them. Following this process, there is no downtime. No need to discuss how long your website will be down when I am providing a website quote, since its not part of the equation for me.
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