PO Box 332
Daylesford Vic
Australia 3460
0412 212 516
contact me
October 17, 2010

Who’s to blame when your website breaks?

Many people are confused about what makes a website tick, and consequently are at a loss about who to contact when their website is not working.

Can’t see your website? Before you hit the panic button, try these steps.

Check if your browser is giving you access to other websites. Try a site you don’t regularly visit, like a big company that is probably going to have a reliable website online all the time; or simply try a Google search for something you have never looked up before.

If you can’t reach any other websites, then check if you can send and receive email.

If both your web browsing and email have ground to a halt, chances are your connection to the internet has dropped out. This can happen from time to time and may just be a short interruption. If you are not back to normal functioning in about 15 minutes, you could try turning off your modem and then turning it on again. If your computer has an internal modem, shut down and start up again. Bear in mind that some modems take up to 10 minutes to re-establish a connection.

If that doesn’t work, contact your ISP* (ISP = Internet Service Provider, for example Bigpond, Optus, iiNet, etc)

If your web browser doesn’t let you reach any websites, but your email is still working, try quitting your browser and starting it again. If that doesn’t help it is possibly a problem with your browser. You may need to upgrade or re-install your web browser.

If your email doesn’t work, but you can browse the internet, try quitting your mail program and starting it again. If that doesn’t help it is possibly a problem with your mail program. If you are able to access your email via a webmail program, give that a try – that will at least help you stay connected while you try to find the source of the problem. If your webmail works fine, then your computer’s mail program is at fault.  You may end up having to upgrade or re-install your mail program to get it fully functional again.

If you can see other websites but not your own, again, try restarting your browser. If that doesn’t help, you may need to contact your Hosting Provider* or your Domain Reseller*. Try to check if your domain name is paid up. Do you know when it is due to expire? Domain names are normally renewed every 2 years, so check with the organisation that is billing you for your domain name (it may be me!). If yours has expired, your website may display a ‘Server not found’ error, or some other plain looking page. If your domain name is paid up, there could still be a problem with how it is set up, but it’s most likely the problem then is with your hosting account. You will need to contact the helpdesk of your Hosting Provider* (again, it may be me, if I set up your hosting).

Finally, if your website is displaying some weird content, particularly if it is offensive or has a hacker’s name on it, let your web person or your hosting provider know immediately! Hackers love to leave a calling-card so you will probably see their pseudonym emblazoned across the page “hacked by Goth Bunny” or something like that. Other less offensive errors on your website should be reported to your web person.

I hope you find the above information helpful.

* For a description of what your ISP, Domain Reseller and Hosting Provider are and what they do, refer to my web page for website beginners.