Most hosting providers out there today offer 99.999% uptime usually on their web servers. A bold estimate, but one that makes sense overall. With cloud servers and SSD drives cheaper than ever, it is getting harder and harder to have websites go down these days. But, it does still happen.
I've worked with GoDaddy servers for some years now and while overall they have been very reliable and stable, on occasion, they have had their hiccups and finding the reasons as to why was more a headache than I'd care to admit. But, it did teach me a thing or two about shared hosting challenges.
If you are having issues with your GoDaddy servers, here are 3 things to check before you dial in to customer support. Starting wth the most obvious.
1. Is GoDaddy Down
This is probably the least common scenario as having an entire company go down worldwide isn't likely. But it has happened in the past. Usually due to issues with various Content Delivery Networks (CDN's) that hosting companies rely on.
For me personally, this is a simple check, as I have multiple websites hosted on GoDaddy. If only one site is having issues, then it is safe to assume that it is an isolated problem. If multiple websites are down however, then there is a good chance that there is nothing I can do until the servers are back up and running.
It is important to double check though as having a website down for multiple hours isn't ideal from an SEO perspective or even from a user experience perspective. New users might be going to your webpages, just to be presented with an unsightly 503 error message. So another option that I use is the website isitdownrightnow.com .Type in any URL and it will run a check and let you know if other people are having similar issues with that particular website.
You will also get more stats on the issue, such as total downtime, locations that are affected and comments from other users experiencing the issue.
Again, not the most likely scenario, although this has happened in the past.
2. Application Pool
This has been the most common scenario for me when my websites go down. If you are running your websites on a Windows hosting account, then GoDaddy gives you the Plesk management tool to manage the server.
There, you will have access to the App Pool that your websites are assigned. What is an app pool you may ask? The short answer (because it's complex), is that the app pool allocates a certain worker process (or processes) for you website to run under. This ensures that even if a server is running 10 or 100 websites, that each one will run under its own processes. That way if any go down, the rest of the applications are not affected in any way.
First, log in to your GoDaddy Plesk panel and under your particular website you will see the Application Pool link.
Click on the link and on the following page, you should see the status of your particular application pool, plus three potential actions that you can take. You can either switch off the pool, stop the pool or recycle the pool.
On occasion, when a website goes down, it is because the application pool has stopped running for an unknown reason. The Plesk panel typically informs me that the pool was shut down outside of the Plesk environment, but not really much more info. A simple click on the "Start" button brings everything back online.
Other times the application pool is still running, however stopping and restarting it seems to fix whatever corruption occurred with the worker processes.
While not guaranteed to work, this one is definitely worth the try as it takes just minutes.
3. Database limit reached
And lastly, a possible but tougher situation to fix, can occur when your database has hit its size limit. I did not encounter this issue until a few years running one of my websites.
The main reason this can happen is due to the version of SQL Server that GoDaddy uses on Windows servers. Because it is the SQL Express variation of database servers, the maximum size limit on the database is capped at 200MB of data per database.
For most websites, this should be more than enough storage space to handle day to day operations, particularly if you aren't doing heavy data processing. Which you probably shouldn't be doing on a cheap shared server. Having said that, it is a possibility.
Recently one of my websites suffered from that same issue as my error log tables were slowly filling up with 'warning' messages that I tend to ignore for the most part. But they do take up space. And having 6 years worth of daily error messages and stack traces isn't a great use of space. It was in fact one of the larger database tables that I had.
With my database at its limit, the entire website pretty much decided to go with it. The solution was to delete records and to make room of course. The problem was that due to the database limit being exceeded, batch deleting records was impossible.
I won't go into how I fixed this particular issue in this article, but stay tuned for that in a future post. But I did end up having to delete a substantial amount of old unused data to get everything up and running. The main take away here though is to know your hosting environment inside and out. Get to know the limitations and catch issues early before they get too out of hand.
If you have any other solutions that you have found with your GoDaddy hosting do share them down below.