What are the costs of website downtime (and how to prevent them)?

by Guest Author, on Jun 17, 2019 8:41:00 AM

Running an online business is not an easy task. Your success leans not only on the functionality of your store and effective product feed management strategies.

It’s also important to invest in your IT infrastructure and reliability of servers. This may initially seem a large investment of your time in the short-term. Yet in the long-term, it will give you more and more (satisfied!) customers: an ecommerce store that runs efficiently is a key to success.


What is website downtime?

Before we go deeper into this topic, we should understand what downtime actually means.

When your site is down it cannot be accessed by users at all - performing any primary tasks is not possible, and they are receiving HTTP response status codes. The period of time when this happens is called downtime.

404 redirect

The causes of downtime might be different every time. It could be a bad decision at the very beginning when you picked a faulty Web Host, which later turns out to be unreliable (but who would know at that time, right?).

Selecting a trustworthy service provider is a task we should be aware of. The errors might also occur from the code side of your site, DNS changes, data center problems or server overload.

But why should we care about investing in our site, so it will load faster and reduce its downtimes to a minimum?


What are the outcomes of downtime?

Large-scale downtime outages damages your brand image and reliability. Long loading times will not only frustrate your website visitors, it will mean that search engines like Google push you further down their rankings.

What's more, the chances of a visitor returning to a e-commerce store that doesn’t load well are next to nothing. In the age of social media and customer reviews, you can bet that word will spread about frequent downtime on your site.

abandonment load time

During Prime Day 2018, which is the biggest sale event of the year, Amazon had problems with their site's accessibility for one hour. Many customers threatened to cancel their Prime subscriptions as the news of the downtime spread.

Its cost was estimated between $72 000 000 to $99 000 000. And it was only one-hour-long downtime! No one wants their company to be associated with being untrustworthy.

According to Gremlin.com, the costs of downtime within the biggest players on the market nowadays starts at 200 thousand dollars, rising to 13 million dollars per hour! It doesn't matter if you’re running a much smaller business, the costs are still going to hurt your company!


Related article: Selecting a Backup Service for Wordpress Sites.


User Opinions

It takes less than a second for us to make an opinion about a website. When it loads slowly (or not at all!), it would take an enormous effort to change a user's opinion and make him double back. Every second of wait equals around a 16% drop in user experience quality. All the work you've put to prospecting and filling up a sales pipeline is wasted. Without having a satisfied customer there is no chance for success.

SEO experts would say that every downtime harms your visibility and ratings within Google algorithms as, among others, they measure response time. If your site history is full of ups and downs, it will definitely affect your score.

Basically, every time your site is down for a longer time period, your position on Google search drops significantly. That may be your nail in the coffin and conversion killer for a large clients base.

As a website is the main showcase of the company, it may even affect your HR department. When possible employees visit your site and face a slowness, there is a small chance that they won't think about you in a negative way.

If the first line of contact with the potential partner/client is failing, why would everything else work better? You cannot lose the opportunity for hiring top-notch experts when you're looking for them.


Is there are solution to avoiding the consequences of downtime?

Website downtime is, unfortunately, inevitable. There are many reasons why it might happen and sometimes there is very little we can do about it. The crucial step is tracking downtime data, to know when it has happened and take action as soon as possible.  

Monitoring your website availability and response time makes a lot of sense, especially in relation to the severe consequences of downtime and ease of use of website monitoring systems.

night_themeWith a free account on a tool like CULA.IO you can start monitoring up to 50 URLs within a 2 minute interval. It will send you an immediate alert whenever any downtime is discovered (via  email, Slack, Pushover or Discord).

This way, you can stay up-to-date on your website's availability and never lose clients and money again due to downtime!

Talk to us if you have any questions or want more info, otherwise check out our Resources section below, which gives you access to valuable ebooks, webinars and client cases.


Topics:tips & tricksEcommerce Strategies