The web is a global system of interconnected computer networks, both public and private. It's used by individuals to pursue everything from personal interests to business opportunities; it's the source of all things new, different and exciting. However, just like any big network that contains an enormous amount of information, the web can crash.
Often, you'll know that the site isn't working before your Internet provider does — but how do you tell whether a website is down or if there's just a temporary glitch? If it's not one of the most well-known sites on the Internet (think: Facebook and Google), chances are you won't.
In case you're interested in checking if a certain website is up and running, there are various ways to do so. How you check a site's status will depend on your personal preferences and what kind of computer device or browser you use. There are websites out there that let you type the URL of the website you want checked, which can be a useful tool if you don't want to install any software on your computer. And some browsers have add-ons that will let you check the status of a webpage with ease.
A website can be down if it is experiencing technical problems or if the server that it resides on has been taken offline. The best way to see if a particular website is down for everyone or just yourself is to visit other websites in your same area. If other websites are up, then the one you're trying to access should be too. If none of the websites are up then the most likely culprit is that your web hosting provider has taken down a server or there is a technical problem. If you're trying to access a website from your local area, then it could be experiencing problems.
Before you assume that the Internet itself is down, check for these common causes of downtime:
- Server issues or overloads resulting in abnormally slow page load times (no need to panic)
- Scheduled maintenance periods
- A website outage that causes your Internet access to go down (you'll likely experience more than just one site being affected)
You'll know when a site is up or down, without having to check it manually (no need to leap out of your seat every time your Internet connection goes wonky). There are several tools and services available that will check to see if your favorite site is down or experiencing technical difficulties:
- Website monitoring services like Robotalp (the best option for most users)
- Web-based testing sites
- Online tools from your ISP
- Mobile apps for on-the-go testing
How a website monitoring service will test a site's status?
Another way to check if a website is down is by using an online tool for uptime monitoring. This type of website has been designed to monitor websites and let you know if the site goes down, so it's always better to use such an application or service rather than checking with a single tool several times a day.
If you're interested in using website monitoring service, follow these tips when considering the right free or paid service for your needs:
- Pick a service that offers instant results (if it's taking too long, you'll start to wonder whether the page is up or down)
- Check for scheduling availability (will the service notify you only during weekdays, or will it work over the weekend too?)
- Consider how often the site will test your sites (daily? hourly? weekly? or minute by minute?)
How web-based testing services can check for down sites?
Tools like these often work in the background, so you won't even know they're there — until suddenly, when you need them most. You'll be thankful that you have one of these options in your back pocket, but remember that the wait time might not be instant.
How tools from your ISP can test if a site is down?
Certain Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer tools for testing whether sites are down or experiencing technical difficulties. These services don't typically attract the same attention as other free or paid options, but they can get the job done.
Remember that the speed at which these tools deliver results can vary greatly. If you're in a pinch, however, even a delayed result is better than nothing!
Whether you're running to catch a bus or waiting during an unplanned tech trouble, having at least one of these testing tools on hand can provide invaluable peace of mind.
Just remember that when it comes to checking whether sites are up or down, not all testing options function in the same way. Some sites might rely on managing web browser plugins, while others might be entirely mobile-based.
- It must be noted that sometimes when websites are taken offline without warning, this means that the authorities disapprove of its contents for some reason and have confiscated the hosting server or the website has been hacked.
- It is also possible that if you are using a free VPN service, it could be blocking your access to the specific webpage because of certain security features. If this is the case, then perhaps you should try accessing the webpage without any VPN connection or use another one.
- Another thing that can happen when trying to access a webpage is that you might encounter a webpage that has been identified as containing malware. If this is the case, then perhaps it would be best to not access the website until it gets fixed or try accessing it through another computer.
There are also various websites that will let you know if a site is down or not, which can be helpful if the other methods aren't working out for you. Robotalp will show an overview of what sites are down and where they're located; this can be helpful if many sites are down and you don't want to check each one individually.
When you choose a website monitoring service, you gain the peace of mind associated with knowing what's going on with your sites. It can be stressful to deal with unexpected technical issues — and even more stressful if there's nothing you can do about them.