website-maintenance-tipsPerforming routine maintenance is an important part of owning a website. Whether it’s to fix a problem with the site or perform a simple upgrade, you’ll need to take your site offline for at least a few minutes at some point or another. This year, North American companies will experience an average of 27 hours of network downtime per month, costing an estimated $700 billion in lost revenue. So how do you limit downtime while performing necessary maintenance on your website? Here are a few ways to minimize the impact of scheduled maintenance and upgrades.

Keep Maintenance to a Minimum

To avoid disrupting traffic, scheduled upgrades and maintenance tasks should be kept to a minimum. A website appears to frequently be down for maintenance turns off visitors and negatively affects your rank in search engines.

Proper planning is the key to minimizing the impact of scheduled downtime. This means having the right systems and procedures in place to make routine maintenance as seamless as possible, as well as ensuring upgrades are implemented efficiently. Consider a service like AS400 server to reduce downtime when upgrading your operating system.

Back Up Your Website

There is always the chance of data loss during an upgrade. According to a recent survey, the most common causes of extensive downtime are hardware problems (55 percent), human error (22 percent), software issues (18 percent), and natural disasters (5 percent). The average website recovery time, according to the same study, is approximately 30 hours.

Be prepared for this possibility by backing up your website and all related data before your scheduled downtime. This way, you can revert to a the most recent version of your website if something goes wrong during maintenance or upgrades.

Perform Regular Updates

Whether you’re publishing new blog entries, updating product pages, changing the design of your website, or even migrating to a new server, you’ll inevitably need to make changes to your website. Decide how frequently you want to update your site.

With regular, scheduled updates, you might be able to limit downtime to a few minutes now and then rather than several hours at a time. You’ll also need to consider the types of upgrades that need to be performed. Some updates will require extensive downtime, even with proper planning, while others may involve little or no downtime at all.

Updating your website regularly not only reduces your downtime, but it also minimizes the impact of your downtime. If your downtime is brief, customers and search engine bots may not even notice your website is down. By scheduling your downtime during low-traffic periods, you maintain your website’s availability to both search engines and visitors.

Every website requires maintenance from time to time. Ideally, you won’t experience unexpected downtime due to natural disasters, power outages, or web hosting issues. Preparing for and scheduling your downtime is the best way to minimize the impact of website downtime. The above tips should help you plan for necessary updates and ensure your site gets back online as soon as possible.


Jade Harvey is very knowledgeable in keeping websites up and running. She has had her own e-commerce site for close to 15 years and has also been recruited as webmaster for many other smaller sites. She hopes her articles will teach small business owners how to do basic, and more involved, tasks themselves.