It happens to almost every company at one time or another – either the website is down or the email system has difficulty. What’s the best way to get help quickly? Here are a few easy check points:
Website Is Down
- First, check to make sure your domain has not expired. Go to https://whois.icann.org/en and enter your domain. In the resulting data page, you will be able to see the expiration date. If expired, renew immediately. Most registrars hold a domain for 14-30 days before releasing it to be purchased by anyone else. The sooner you act, the better.
- Check with your web hosting provider. Sometimes web hosts will update their server software, causing hosted websites to go down temporarily. This is to be expected, usually lasts 15 minutes or less, and is most often performed late at night or early in the morning to have as little effect on business as possible. If it is a scheduled maintenance, your hosting provider will typically let you know ahead of time. However, such emails sometimes get lost in spam or junk folders and are easily missed.
- Check for malware or a virus on the server. The web hosting provider can help you here, as well. Also check that the website itself hasn’t been hacked. Ask the hosting provider about outdated software that is no longer compliant with new browser versions or other potential issues.
- If your website is down due to an issue with the website itself (lack of being properly updated, an admin user update allowed malware to infect the site, etc.), and your website host is not your web master or website administrator, contact your web master to trouble shoot the issue. Again, note that there are dozens of reasons a website could be down, so it may take time to determine the exact cause.
Patience is key here. Allow your web master to research and fix the issue. If you’ve selected a web master whom you trust, he or she will identify the problem and work quickly toward a solution, updating you along the way. Continuous calling or e-mailing to determine how much longer is only taking your expert away from the important task at hand.
Keep in mind that in almost all cases, trouble shooting and fixing a downed website will not be included in your standard hosting or web maintenance agreement, and could incur additional costs. Note also that any time a website is down, it has the potential to hurt your SEO efforts.
E-mail Not Working
There are LOTS of possible reasons for email not to work as expected. Many of these reasons are device/app related (not set up properly). In most cases, your e-mail host isn’t responsible for fixing this unless you have a monthly retainer for email connectivity and performance maintenance.
The best way to check whether or not your device setup is the issue: log into your main webmail account through a web browser on a desktop computer. If you are able to log in and send and receive e-mails there, then the issue is most likely not with your e-mail system, but rather with your local email program/setup. Always check for device issues first. If you don’t find anything wrong, check with your e-mail hosting provider. This is not necessarily the same person as your website host or web master. Have a list of these experts in case of an emergency or service outage.
Sometimes email problems can be a result of your IP address or domain being blocked for potentially spamming other email addresses/domains. Your e-mail provider should be able to make this determination, and either move your email services to a different IP address or take steps to remove the offending IP address from the spam lists. This process can take days or weeks to resolve, so a temporary solution may be necessary until it gets fully resolved.