Why is my website down?

Welcome to nginx! or Why is My Website Down?

This is not what you expect to see when you, or your customers, visit your website.

We recently had a former website client email us because this is what she saw when she went to her website. She wanted to know why and how to fix it. Did I mention this was a former website client who moved her website to GoDaddy and now this is what appears when you go to her website?

GoDaddy’s answer was to send her an email with a link to a website explaining why she was seeing “Welcome to nginx!”.

The Welcome to nginx! page is the default web page that is presented when a website operator has installed the NGINX web server software on a computer on the Internet, and either the NGINX configuration is not yet complete or a problem at the website itself is preventing the correct content from appearing.

Why Am I Seeing This Page?

When you see the Welcome to nginx! page, the most likely reason is that there is a configuration or other problem at the website. About all you can do is wait for the problem to be fixed by the website administrator. In this case, our former client IS the website administrator. The bigger issue is that she has no experience or knowledge of how to manage her website and the hosting company wants to charge her to help.

What could be causing the issue?

Could be any number of issues from a plugin that got corrupted when updating, an outdated plugin that let in a virus, a cache problem or a configuration problem at the server.

On average 30,000 new websites are hacked every day.

What to do now?

If you are in charge of your website, you have to keep asking questions of the hosting company. “You get what you pay for” when you choose an inexpensive hosting company and need some customer service. Cheap hosting companies have less-skilled employees at the entry point of support. You will have to push and push to get the issue raised to a more experienced support technician or you may have to pay to get the support you need.

Still cannot resolve the issue?

Most hosting companies have backups. You may have to have the site reinstalled from a recent or older backup. Most likely they will charge you to restore the website. Inexpensive hosting companies cannot afford to give away free support.

How to prevent this from happening

Have your website created, managed, and hosted by a website firm that has years of experience. Egeland Wood & Zuber monitors your website and keeps plugins and software updated to prevent the site from being compromised. We have security software that monitors the site and reports when there are problems. We have the most up-to-date security software running on all computers accessing the website so that no virus can be sent to your server.

We have our own virtual private server (VPS) that keeps your website separate from any other website on the server. Think of a VPS as an apartment house. Each occupant has his own resources like a kitchen and bathrooms. Large corporations can afford to have expensive private servers. A private server would be comparable to owning a single-family house. They are significantly more expensive than renting an apartment. A virtual private server (VPS) is like an apartment building and each website has its own set of resources that are not shared between websites. A VPS is more affordable so most small to medium businesses use a virtual private server for their websites. Egeland Wood & Zuber, Inc. clients are on our personal VPS.

So what do you get at low-cost web hosting companies like GoDaddy?

Low-cost web hosting companies put thousands of websites on one shared server with no real protection. This hosting method splits resources between sites to get as many sites as possible on a single server, which limits the resources of every website on the server. Think of low-cost web hosting as like being in a fraternity house. Everyone in the frat house shares resources like kitchens and bathrooms. Get a few slobs in there and the frat house quickly goes downhill fast. Low-cost means shared resources when it comes to web hosting. Remember that everyone is sharing the same CPU, memory, and disk space; installing or running applications may cause your site to slow down and overload the server. A slow website can affect your SEO and how high your site ranks in search engines like Google and Bing.

Shared server hosting ultimately means that if the server goes down due to one of the sites, all the sites in the server will go down with it. Cheap hosts often lack the proper security measures. Because you’re sharing a server, you also open yourself up to security risks…

If one site gets infected with a virus and the webserver is affected, you might get the “Welcome to nginx!” screen. At best, memory is limited, and the speed is affected by the number of other sites accessing the same server at the same time. Low-cost hosting companies cram as many sites onto one server as possible. Many spammers create hundreds of spam sites, then run them using cheap hosts. Once these sites are identified as spamming sites, an IP ban is placed on that server to take down the spammers. Your website shares the same IP, so, your site and all others on that server are impacted. If your website server has a banned IP address, your site will be banned from the search engines' databases. Google and Bing are not going to send users to a site that has a banned IP address. It will be like you don't exist. Canceled. Also, your email may not get to your recipients, as it too gets marked as coming from a spammer.

“You get what you pay for”

The hosting company does offer support, but that may be support by chat or by sending you emails with links to things you can try to fix the site. There is often no phone support or long wait times if phone support is offered. The hosting company may or may not have backups and may or may not restore your site for free. All good things to think about when choosing who is hosting your website.

Closed for business sign

 

While your website is down it is like your store is closed. Customers don’t know if you are out of business and may go elsewhere never to return. So, it is critical that you get your website up as quickly as possible.

Being your own “WebMaster”

When you buy hosting from a company like GoDaddy, they offer you a place to park your website’s files. You are responsible for building and maintaining the website. This means keeping software up-to-date and doing backups. Outdated themes, plugins, and WordPress versions are the number one way hackers gain access to your site (besides brute force hacks of your login). If you don't do this, your site can be hacked.

When you have a problem, it is good to know a nerd.

Egeland Wood & Zuber is the nerd that our clients can count on. We will immediately figure out what is wrong and fix it. If we can’t fix it, we have backups that are done daily and stored on secure encrypted servers. We keep backups for as long as a client is a client. Our VPS hosting company runs security software on the server. We have security software on our clients’ websites and we have security on any computer accessing your website. If there is any kind of problem, our clients turn it over to us to fix. We can restore a website in a few hours or sometimes fix a plugin error in minutes. Your website’s problems are our problems to fix. That is what we promise with our Total Security & Maintenance package. Where your website is hosted can make, or break, your success online. You need speed, security, and reliable support - Egeland Wood & Zuber offers all three.

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