Most people have seen that annoying “server error” pop up from time to time, and you may have even blamed the website itself. That was before you knew a thing or two about servers and how they impact a website. Unfortunately, servers sometimes go down and sometimes it’s a planned downtime for maintenance. With planned maintenance, website owners know in advance and can warn their customers—but a surprise downtime can destroy a small business and put a serious kink in the revenues of big businesses.
There have been some major server issues on some of the most popular sites in recent years, and they’re all doozies. Remember when the Academy Awards decided to “break Twitter” by posting that celeb-filled selfie during the 2014 Oscars? Twitter got overloaded and indeed “broke” from the rampant activity. While uptime matters all the time, it can be especially important during peak seasons like Cyber Monday for e-tailers.
Check out some of the biggest server issues of all time, and how these companies survived it:
On September 23, 2010, Facebook went down for over two hours, impacting “millions of users” according to the social media giant. That was a tough time for Facebook addicts, but obviously it wasn’t enough to take down Facebook for good. All the FB spokespeople ever said about the incident is that it was an “automated system for verifying configuration” glitch, and most people have forgotten about it. However, if this kind of “incident” happens to your website on a regular basis, you might want to think about dumping your web host for good.
The app that’s changing how people communicate (and possible making texting moot in coming years) isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Last February, it was down for 210 minutes, making it impossible to send poems to your paramour for Valentine’s Day. Having WhatsApp down is the equivalent of not being able to text for many people (especially those in the Middle East where WhatsApp has taken over texting).
Google has had its own issues, but when you’re the search engine that’s trying to overtake the current king, you can’t be down. On April 24, 2012, Bing was down for the count—and that means several of its users headed directly to Google for their queries. To make matters worse, in addition to being down, a “useless error message” was also popping up which made Bing look unprofessional on top of unable to handle traffic.
Gmail has been down numerous times, and that can be detrimental to businesses. When you can’t access Gmail or Google Drive, which many businesses of all sizes depend on to keep things running smoothly, everything comes to a standstill. Even a few minutes of inaccessibility can mean you don’t send a deadline piece in time, you can’t make that important change to a document before the CEO reads it, and you can’t reply to any of your pressing emails.
Consider these “server errors” as a reminder of why uptime is so important. Don’t be down and out more often than necessary—otherwise, you risk losing customers, business and profits.