A worst case scenario is during the night while you are sleeping or while you away on vacation, your web server crashes. All surfers see is some “cryptic” message that the server is unreachable or unavailable. Off they go elsewhere, maybe never to return again. In the case of commercial websites, this can be catastrophic. What to do?
There is a solution: server monitoring. There are third party services that will monitor your website to ensure it is available. But, the better and preferred solution is to have your web host setup server monitoring. If the web server is detected as “crashed”, the monitor will automatically restart the web server. Within seconds, your site is back up, and surfers won’t be the wiser. So, it is a good idea to confirm with your web host that web server monitoring is running, and that the web server will be automatically restarted if it crashes. Don’t assume monitoring is setup. Make sure it is.
But, you can go one step further. There is also the mySQL database server, which can also crash. If use any mySQL-driven applications like blogs, forums, shopping carts, content management systems (CMS), etc., then it also critical that you ensure that the mySQL server is also monitored – and set to automatically restart the mySQL server if it crashes. mySQL server crashes are more common than you think, and can be as serious as web server crashes. You should also backup your mySQL database weekly – automatically via server process, and manually via application like phpMyAdmin. It is a good measure if you need restore your database in case it is corrupted or lost – e.g., as a result of database or server crash. Backup on a regular basis and monitor. Important as mySQL drives most websites nowadays – some, like our sites, almost entirely.