Downtime Can Be A Nightmare

Downtime Can Be A Nightmare

We’re glad to be back in the land of the tubes.  The past two weeks has made for an incredible experience of getting our site back up and working out the finer points with our host.

Before we get into that portion though, we should probably explain why we were down…

As we often point out, we are hosted by Byethost.  They and Bluehost are the two hosting companies we’ve come to trust the most for shared server space. Unfortunately, we discovered that a plugin we were using for the feeds was not well accepted by our neighbors on the server.  We were capturing all of our feeds with the WordPress plugin wp-o-matic. What we didn’t realize is that this plugin causes for some major drain on the server side, and when on shared space, damages your neighbors bandwidth… OOPS!!!

We honestly never considered that such a widely-used plugin would be the cause of such issues, but test afterward have shown that it couldn’t have been anything else. Because of the excessive bandwidth, resources, and memory that wp-o-matic was stripping from the shared space, we were booted to a Virtual Private Server… Ie…Banished to the Degaba System.

It took a week of negotiating, but byethost was willing to settle the discourse once we were well assured that it had to be the plugin that was causing all of he trouble.  One week later, we’re back up and on the way again…. Needless to say, our feeds will no longer run through WP-O-Matic.

Now for the sob-story

While we were only down about a day and back and forth from IP’s for one week, Google took a lot of notice.  Our impressions went from an average of 1,000/day to 22 tonight.  Our traffic went from an average of 200/day to 30 tonight.

The past week of being back up is representative of absolute downtime in the SERPs.

Notice in the screen-shot that the exact date of being down is visible, as well as the subsequent falling out with Google ranking.

While this is a pretty steep setback for the short-term, we will return to our previous standing rather quickly.  We’ve run into similar situations with client sites, but never thought we would need to do damage control of our own.

Here are the following steps that must be taken directly after an event like this.

1. Immediate push for Back-links- During the month following a down-time like this one, the need for sites around the web to verify your existence is crucial.  The pages that Google attempts and fails to Crawl can be put on the back burners for a period of time.  Making a strong push for links and acknowledgment can get a faster crawl to those skipped pages than would likely come otherwise.

2. Add more content.  We all know that the best way to get Google’s attention is to give it something new to look at. While we feed several different blogs on this site, we also enjoy adding our own content on a regular basis  At this moment its pertinent to add more than we normally would.  The additional content will signal that the site is not dead and is in fact very much alive and active.

3.  In addition to adding the content, we have to make sure that Google is aware of it being added.  To drive home this point, we submit sitemaps… Several sitemaps.
From XML to ROR, wee submit every possible format of sitemap available.  Some may think this a bit eccentric, but in dire moments like these, it can be the difference between being demoted  for weeks or for months.  For additional sitemaps in WordPress, we suggest using the following

We also have some made at in url.txt and rss.ror format.

Our running experiment will now be to see how long it will take to return to the traffic and ranking that we had last month.  We will share this experience with you all and welcome any suggestion or thoughts you would like to add.

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