a young PSG at tandy trs-80 circ mid-1980s

how not to panic (if your site goes down)

Among technology disasters that can plague your business, having your website unavailable can create high stress. It’s easy to move into panic and crisis mode unless you have a plan. Here are steps you can take today to help lower your stress and limit downtime and disruption to your customers.


Do you have backups of your website? When did you last test them? If you are using WordPress for your website, in addition to backing up the database, I recommend keeping a copy of wp-config, .htaccess (if it’s customized), theme, a list of plugins, and the wp-content/uploads folder. I like to keep daily database backups of the past week and the rest of the files are updated on a less frequent schedule.


I cannot overstate the importance of keeping your websites up-to-date. All the websites on your account. I’ve been cleaning accounts for clients who either forgot about websites when those projects ended or that they had installed some website software years ago and hadn’t used it in a while.


Create checklists of what to do for different types of disruptions to your site. Some examples include: You loose access to your site due to a network outage at your office or home. Maybe your webhost experienced a system wide outage. Perhaps an update failed and the site isn’t displaying properly. Or maybe despite your best efforts, the site is suddenly infected with malware.

While it’s not beneficial to constantly dwell on the disasters that can afflict your website and business it is healthy to think through some common scenarios of what might go wrong and make a plan.

I also think it’s perfectly acceptable to run drills. They will help you be prepared and able to keep calm during the crisis. Know who you need to contact to report issues and request fixes. Do you need to communicate with your customers? You may not tweet regularly, but they may look there to see if you posted when they discover your site isn’t reachable.

If you would like assistance creating a custom plan to help you prevent panic for your website, please contact me.