Ever faced a website downtime issue? Maybe your site is running slower than usual? Or maybe it is not reachable at all? How can you troubleshoot such common issues? More importantly, where does the problem lie? Is it the server or your site that is facing the problem?
This article will answer all of the above questions.
Website is Down? Here Are Some Troubleshooting Ideas!
It is rather common for even the best of websites to go down. Such downtimes may arise due to a vast multitude of reasons. It can be a server issue or a problem with your website in particular. There are some steps that you can take to better troubleshoot such problems as and when they arise.
Can You Access cPanel?
Whenever your website goes down, the first thing that you should check is if you can access your cPanel account.
- If your website is not working but cPanel seems to be working fine, it means the server is not down. The problem lies somewhere in your website.
- If both your website as well as cPanel are down, there are good chances that the server is having a downtime.
If the server your site is hosted on is down, it might be a good idea to contact your web hosting provider and check for an update. However, if cPanel is working and is accessible, it is time to troubleshoot your website.
Troubleshooting Your Site
So, if cPanel is accessible, it clearly means the server your site is hosted on is not down. Now, since we know the problem lies somewhere with the website itself, it is time to figure out what exactly is going wrong.
In cPanel, under the Metrics section, you would find the Errors icon. If you click on that, you would be shown the last 300 errors that your website might have encountered.
Some such errors can be rather mundane and not harmful for your site. However, look for the most recent ones, especially those that happened around the same time your site went down.
By following the error message, you can locate the problem with your site. For example, if the error call was generated in the wp_content folder, the problem probably lies with one of your WordPress plugins or themes.
Often, websites become unreachable because they consume more than the allotted quota of resources. CloudLinux throttles websites and accounts that hit memory or resource usage limits. This “throttling” basically means that your site’s data is safe. However, due to overuse of resources, the said resources are being limited. This can make your site operate slow or even become temporarily not accessible. In other words, overuse of account resource can cause website downtime.
To learn more about your website’s resource usage, click the Resource Usage icon in Metrics. You would find detailed analysis as well as charts related to your site’s resources. See if any of the memory or CPU resources were throttled recently. This will explain why your site is experiencing downtime.
At times, a faulty WordPress theme or plugin might cause your website to become slow or, even worse, not reachable at all. Such downtime can be hard to detect because you will not find a direct error message on your site. You may see a white screen, or your browser may just fail to load the page entirely.
A good strategy here is to first deactivate all your plugins and then reactivate them one at a time. Now, it might be possible that some plugins delete their data upon deactivation. To prevent this, you can simply rename the plugins’ folders in wp-content and then change back the names to the original ones, one at a time. This way, the minute you activate the faulty plugin, you will be able to notice a change in performance.
Similarly, you can repeat the process for themes. Try changing to the WordPress default theme and see if the problem goes away. Once again, you can simply rename the theme’s folder to something else.
Poorly coded themes or plugins can indeed cause website downtime. The reason for this is that a poorly coded plugin or theme can call functions in an incorrect manner. This will in turn consume more memory and your website may run out of memory resources. Throttled by CloundLinux, your site will not work properly — all of this, just because of a faulty plugin!
As a result, it is a sensible strategy to check your plugins and themes for any issues.
As you can see, website downtime does not always equate to server downtime. It is a good idea to keep going through your account’s error logs every once in a while to keep yourself updated with things that might be causing major or minor issues. Similarly, you should try deactivating and then reactivating the plugins one at a time to figure out which one is causing problems on your WP site.
There is no reason why a well-optimized website will not run well even on a shared hosting account. By properly optimizing your site, you can avoid memory and resource overuse issues as well. For WordPress users, some plugin-related optimization tips can be found here.