The web is a powerful resource on the internet, consisting of over 1.7 billion websites and growing.

While useful, websites can be quite complex to run behind the scenes and are something which most of us take for granted.

As such, sometimes not everything goes to plan and websites can sometimes suffer downtime or loss of availability. This can happen for a number of reasons but today I’ll be sharing the most common causes I’ve seen for a website disturbance.

#1: Maintenance

At the end of the day, websites are usually just files containing data which are rendered by your web browser in a certain way.

These files live on and are hosted by a server, which is just a powerful, streamlined computer.

Computers are machines and just like any machine, they need to be maintained to keep them running and secure.

Sometimes these computers need to be temporarily switched off or disconnected from the internet to perform the work needed on them.

Luckily, this is usually done in a swift manor and usually only disrupts a website for a short period of time.

#2: Security Attacks

Attacks to a website are quite rare and usually only targeted at large companies, but they can also be targeted at a smaller website as well.

The reasons for this are usually either revenge or to distribute spam or advertising, either by email or injected into the website itself.

I’ve talked a little about how WordPress can sometimes be vulnerable to attacks, if not properly maintained, since it runs on a CMS (Content Management System).

CMSes pull a website’s data from a database and rely on dynamic server-side code to process this data.

If the database is accessed by an attacker or the code is misconfigured to allow an attacker to gain a point of entry, this could allow them to disrupt a website.

#3: Expired Domain Names or SSL/HTTPS Certificates

I’ve talked about domain names before, but essentially they are an address to a website, like an address to a building.

These addresses are rented from a domain registrar on an annual basis and if they are not renewed on time, they will no longer point to a website’s server and cause disruption.

Similarly to domain names, SSL or HTTPS certificates (also talked about on this blog) need to be renewed on a regular basis.

If misconfigured or not renewed on time, they could either cause a “Site Not Secure” warning or disrupt a website entirely.

I hope this has been insightful.

Please feel free to share with me any other reasons you feel are quite common for a website to go down, I’d love to hear them!