What to do when my website is down?

There are several things that should be taken into consideration:

Is the website accessible from other locations?

Executing a traceroute and ping towards your domain will allow you to determine if your requests are reaching the server housing your site. If the commands return too many timeouts in their output, you should consider testing the connection to your website from a different location (different IP). For this purpose, you can use a proxy service such as:

https://kproxy.com/

In an event that your website is accessible using the proxy service, however, it is not reachable from your computer - you should consider the possibility that your IP has been blocked by the hosting provider.

In the event of a blocked IP, your hosting provider will be able to track the exact reason and unblock the IP for you.

SiteGround may impose a temporary block on a given IP if it is proved to be sending malicious (such as too many failed login attempts).

Is the website showing an error message? If yes - what kind of an error is this?

If you encounter an error message on your website, you should determine the possible cause. To learn how to interpret HTTP status codes, you can review:

https://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec10.html

The most common error messages you might encounter on your website are:

  • 403 Forbidden - this error suggests that there is a problem with the ownership or permissions of the files/folders of your website or a limitation imposed in the .htaccess file of your website.
  • 404 Not Found - this error suggests that the file/directory you are trying to access through your website does not exist on the server.
  • 500 Internal Server Error - this error means that the server was not able to process your request due to the server or website configuration
  • 504 Gateway Timeout - the error means that your request took too long to be executed, exceeding the Web Server's globally defined timeout value

Usually, the status codes defined above will be recorded by the web server's error logs. The Error Logs tool in cPanel will keep the last 300 entries recorded in the web server's error logs. It will help with interpreting the meaning of the observed status code. More information on the log tools in cPanel can be found in our:

cPanel Logs Section

Have you made recent changes/modifications that might have resulted with this issue?

The work that have recently been performed over the website could have resulted with unforeseen problems with it's performance.

This is important for platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, and Magento where you can be facing a plugin/theme compatibility issues. This often brakes the functionality or certain sections of your website, and sometimes brings the entire site down.

A proper course of action would be to:

  • Revise the work that was done over the website
  • Determine the exact changes that were done
  • Try to backtrack the modifications in an attempt to resolve the problem

For example, you have recently installed a new plugin on your WordPress website. Immediately or shortly afterwards, you start observing issues on your website that lead to more serious problems. To resolve this issue, you can start deactivating the installed plugins one-by-one so that you can determine the culprit.

The official  WordPress Troubleshooting Codex will be of use when facing issues with this application.

The same approach of backtracking the recently performed modifications is applicable for other applications such as Joomla, Magento, and all other platforms.

Is there work being done on the website at the moment?

When performing modifications on your live website, it is expected that you will observe changes on your site. This is why drastic changes over your live site are not recommended. Instead you can create a development environment of your website where you can test the functionality of the website prior and after the modifications that need to occur.

For WordPress and Joomla websites, you can consider our SiteGround Staging tool.

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