Web hosting is a pretty simple operation from the client’s perspective, and most webmasters out there will rave about how their web hosting company keeps their domain online and running smoothly. Every once in a while though, you hear a horror story about someone whose domain name has been suspended by their web hosting company. If that happens to you, what do you do?
Why websites are taken offline
Websites can be taken offline for a number of reasons; some completely innocent and others entirely the fault of the webmaster. The most common causes of web hosts pulling domains offline include:
High server usage. If you’re on a shared web hosting plan and use up too many of the web hosting server’s resources it begins to negatively impact others on that server. Your neighbors in hosting may find that their websites don’t load or that the hosting server crashes altogether. Not good. Website scripts, a high number of visitors or an extreme amount of outgoing mail can all lead to high server usage.
Spamming. The Can-Spam Act of 2003 made sending spam illegal in most countries. If you’ve been accused of sending spam, even if you’re innocent, your web hosting account will be immediately suspended while the charges against you are investigated.
Copyright infringements. You cannot use copyright images or copyrighted text on any of your web pages unless proper credit is given and you’re allowed to reproduce such content.
Terms of Service violations.Each web host writes up a Terms of Service contract that you’re required to sign and follow during your stay. Violate the terms of that contract and you’ll instantly find your website offline.
What to do if your site is taken offline
When a web hosting company makes the decision to pull a website from the Internet, they immediately send the offending client an email detailing why their website is no longer available online. Once you receive that email, there are a few things you can do to either get your site back online or retrieve your data and move on.
Contact your web host.If your site has wrongly been taken down, you’ll want to immediately email or call your web hosting company. If a hacker took over your email account and spammed thousands of people overnight or you were unaware of how many resources a website script was using, this is your chance to tell your side of the story. In some cases, your host will let you off with a warning and reinstate your domain name and in others you’ll be asked to move on to a new host.
Understand your options. Your web hosting company will make the final decision as to your fate with their company. If you were using too many resources, for example, you may be asked to pay the overage fees and upgrade to a larger shared hosting plan or virtual private server, or you could be asked to leave. Be prepared.
If your web hosting company has asked you to leave, you have no options but to look for a new home for your domain name. You can make that process as quick and painless as possible by first reading web hosting reviews. Hosting reviews are your most powerful tools right now. All reviews are written by experts and current or former clients and will guide you to a reliable host you can count on. As you’re planning out your next steps and making contact with new hosts, remember to seek out companies that allow for easy growth. You don’t want to be caught in the same situation again where you’re using too many resources. Find a host who has plans that are easy to upgrade and within your budget.
Very few domains are accidentally taken offline by web hosting companies. Most are removed due to illegal activities or resource overages. By working with your host, paying attention to the statistics in your web hosting control panel and having an easy path to upgrade, you can avoid having your domain removed and the hassle that comes from finding a new web hosting company.