On Tuesday 26th February, from 12 midnight, our website was, unexpectedly, offline!
The problem was that the database server that hosts our databases, and to which our website connects to in order to run, was denying access to our own databases.
We suspect that it was 1&1 performing some maintenance upon the database server, not that 1&1 bothered to inform us of the maintenance, leaving us completely unaware of the disruption they were causing.
At the time we couldn’t work out what was more concerning; the fact that our hosting provider could be letting us down, or the fact that, over the past year where we have incorporated more and more database driven pieces of functionality into our website, we had completely failed to cater for the possibility that there may be that one day where our database server is offline.
So – the lesson we took away from this is that our lack of a contingency plan for this service disruption would have left anybody who visited our site during that half an hour with a bad impression of our business.
We’re currently in the process of developing a new, smaller, website that will be dedicated to such scenarios – the contingency website that we should have had to begin with.
But we write this blog post, not just to point out this gaping flaw in our contingency planning, but to get you to ask yourself the question: “If my website was to go offline, do I have a suitable back up?”
For most people with modern websites that rely on a database to function – we guess the answer for most of you would probably be “no”. Concerning, isn’t it?
Contact us, and we will help you to develop your own contingency website.