Having my business website crash (bad) recently was one of the toughest few days since becoming a Founder. My former hosting company experienced a major server issue. A planned re-boot caused a couple of fatal errors which resulted in our biz being off-line for 4 days.
As our business exists exclusively in virtual space, this was incredibly frustrating.
I communicated our status via Twitter, but then made the mistake of broadcasting "all's well" after a few hours, only to have the site go down again! This was my first experience with major down time for our site, and I was reliant on outside services to fix it.
It took transferring to a more code compatible hosting service for our platform, but after a few days we were back on-line. All the data was backed up, so nothing was lost except time and potential new sign ups. Things have been very stable since.
Do you have established protocol for an internet site crash of your biz? After initially notifying your customers, when do you give the green light and via what social media tool?
Thanks in advance for the great advice.
For a major crash like this I would:
I know you might be scared to put it in the open that you had these issues, but I think openness and transparency outweighs the negatives of the downtime.
It might also be a good time to make sure your users know where to look for status updates. Perhaps include that information in an email to them all, and also include it in your support documents.
Richard.. you may already know this... but whatever hosts you have will not have 100% up time (even Rackspace don't and they guarantee it).
If you site is that critical make sure you have a hosting set-up with redundancy, so if one server goes down, and other is there in it's place (I'm no expert on this).
99.9% uptime = 8 hours down a year. No SLA in the world will cover you for your lost business.. just maybe what you paid for the hosting.
I'd only add to what Joel said by saying why not add SMS messages into the mix... If I was relying on your services, I'd rather be told it's down than have to find out myself. (SMS would of course depend on how many users you do have and what they do on the site).