Website availability and how to maintain it properly

While ignoring website accessibility as a core element of user experience is a surefire way to scare off visitors, before asking for absolute accessibility, you need to understand what that means and how to calculate it. You will also need to consider what factors could negatively impact your website’s accessibility. And not just the ones you can plan for, but the ones that might come when you least expect them. Thus, you need to quickly and properly understand how website availability is measured, how it works and how to maintain it properly. As well as to understand and master what website monitoring is and how to deal with it.

What is website accessibility and how it works

Website availability and accessibility usually refers to the “uptime” of a website, which is often directly related to the uptime of the web servers that host your site. In general terms, accessibility means that a user can access a website by entering the website’s URL in their browser. Or by clicking on a link that leads to your site. And as a result, the user will be able to see all the content of the website available. So, it literally means that any visitor can easily enter the site and access the content he or she has permission to access. 

Thus, the main indicator of the availability of any website, as well as any web resource in general, is an aforementioned uptime. And it is expressed as a percentage between the lifetime of a web resource and its uptime. And every website owner wants uptime to be as close to 100% as possible. Though it will always be no more than 99,99% due to the need for web server updates and maintenance. Because those are also included in the downtime and those procedures are unavoidable anyways.

At the same time, in addition to uptime, many systems also consider an important measure of website availability, depending on what counts as a loaded page. It might be a full content loading or partial content loading. And in both cases, it is also important to take into account such things as loading speed, including cache loading and loading of heavy files. It is, actually, more about performance of the website. But at the same time the amount of loading content as well as its stability are a part of availability too. Because you can literally make your website faster and more easily accessible if you adjust some of the options.

How to properly monitor website accessibility

Measuring your site’s availability gives you insight into uptime and downtime, and whether they were planned or unplanned. By understanding what affects downtime and identifying common causes, you can improve the areas where you’re short on time and ultimately maximize your website’s availability. It will be a big help for novice webmasters to understand and master those things as early as possible.

All modern systems measure the availability of the website as a percentage. Webmasters and monitoring systems always calculate this figure by dividing the uptime by the total time period you are analyzing. A service report will say, for example, “this month’s site was 99.98% available. The missing 0.02% is the roughly 20 minutes that visitors were unable to get to the site this month. This is what is often referred to as downtime.

Depending on the type of your hosting service or provider, you may need to check availability yourself. Or you can let your hosting service partner be responsible for optimizing your website’s availability. Usually the latter comes with an addition of various support services provided by the hosting provider. This usually includes security measures, additional web server resources and performance monitoring as well as maintenance.

There are many tools on the market that can help you with calculating this uptime percentage and keep it in check. Some of those tools can provide simple details. Other tools can give you a detailed report. There are also some toolkits on the Internet which will provide additional services to a webmaster. But one of the best options to deal with availability monitoring is to check website availability using platform. Because it provides the most detailed and complex diagnostics available nowadays.

Best tool to monitor your website’s availability

Many experienced website owners and webmasters use specialized platforms to automatically monitor websites instead of simply monitoring availability. While many large companies tend to use hardware solutions, there is at least one web-based counterpart for them.  This is a HostTracker website monitoring platform. It allows webmasters a lot of things from simple one-time website checks on and up to advanced automated routines. This monitoring service can perform many procedures at once:

  • Checking of the availability of a web site via the HTTP protocol.
  • Testing of the availability of the website using ICMP request (ping).
  • Checking of the availability of standard ports and ports selected by the user.
  • Detection of presence or absence of specified keywords on website pages.
  • Verification of the response time of a website to specific queries.
  • Running a DNSBL listing to verify the domain or IP address of a web site,
  • Diagnosing the state of the website’s databases.
  • Verifying the network infrastructure of a website using SNMP.
  • Diagnosing of the server status and CPU, RAM, disk, or file system usage, and even port or SQL server connection times.
  • Checking the expiration date of the domain name registration or SSL certificate of the website.

In this way, you can find out not only when the site has stopped working, but also why. For almost all types of checks, you can select the points from which the system will perform them. There are more than 140 locations in Russia, Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, and Australia.

In addition, this service has a built-in instant notification system. In case of a problem, the system immediately sends a message to the webmaster via email, Skype, Hangouts, Viber, and other messengers. And if the webmaster is unavailable, the system notifies him by SMS or phone call.

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