What is website stability?

Posted on December 01, 2021

Caroline Blaker

What is website stability? Image

Before you handle growth, you'll need to handle stability. Illustration by undraw.co

When it comes to websites, stability is treated like a myth. It starts out as a primary concern. As its importance is absorbed into the process of building a website, it's often not revisited until the stability of the website is threatened. How did we get here? What do we do? Restoring this great promise falls on the shoulders of a few, perhaps without decision power, without offering any ways out on its own. Shoulda-coulda-woulda. "Don't end up in instability!" it seems to repeat. Too late - you might already be there. Now that the website is pitched over a cliff and you're responsible for keeping it off, is it time to say goodbye to your job?

Firstly, none of this is your fault. It may amaze you that 50% of the world's websites need weekly or daily software updates. These websites are attacked every minute, every hour, of every day with efforts that seek to undermine their security or get around it. If half the world uses this software, it must be the standard, right? Yes, and a better standard exists.

I am here to tell you that your website can be stable. It can be in software designed for stability. It can be configured to avoid nefarious interactions. And it can be pretty much the same website in other areas.

Concerns with Stability

Is your website stable? It's going to be important when dealing with these concerns:

Novel attack vectors - when your software isn't designed for stability, software updates are a constant thing.

A history of attacks - You can expect the past to predict the future.

A short history of service - the historic existence of the software used in your website speaks to its stability - be it fleeting or highly established. How long has this software been solving problems?

Software As A Service (SAAS) - if your website is on a web platform like Squarespace or Wix, you have no control over the software's uptime or stability. Furthermore, all of these facets out of your control means that if an invoice gets missed, your site can be erased.

Failures with Stability

When your website is on the edge of stability, you may notice the following:

White pages - Do you sometimes get reports that the site is just down and there was nothing that prompted it?

Plugin quality - does your website behave predictably when you draw a new functionality from the web software's own ecosystem?

Sloooowness - the worse this gets, the closer you are to adding mega-caches, the closer you are to having a website that has to stop growing.

Missed opportunities - customers that call to finish orders that don't go through on the website are only a small portion of the total users that happened to - the rest of which just moved on.

Brick wall limitations - "this software doesn't do that." Well, I can tell you what else you don't need.

Mega-caching - there will always be caching options. If you need sophistocated, nerdy, expensive interventions just to keep your old website standing without measurable improvements, (especially if it keeps you stagnant,) it may be time to move along.

image by undraw.co
You can trust your website to be stable in ExpressionEngine or Craft CMS. Image by undraw.co

Solving Stability issues

While it's possible to rewrite all your code with experts, it may not be the best use of your budget. Aquarian Web Studio has stabilized dozens of websites using the following techniques:

Use a software that's designed for stability While it may be possible or important to scale in a small way in your current software, moving to a software where you no longer have these issues will liberate your time, focus, and strategy away from the status quo and allow you to think about the future more constructively. Yes, you can add that. Yes, it can go faster. No, it won't crash.

Stay ahead of issues The most creative solutions to poor stability take time to implement. Even a hosting change can be complicated. If you've already noticed that it's gotten a little worse, that means it's getting worse. Start talking to software teams and providers before you have an urgent need.

Examine Hosting and DNS for opportunities Shared hosting can be a source of instability as can nefarious traffic. A robust DNS provider like CloudFlare can block some attacks because it knows the traffic is just spam and make your website work more efficiently. A robust host like Digital Ocean can decrease load times dramatically, also good for SEO. Even if your website software and build are 100% solid, hosting is its own entity and can be unstable outside of other website property support.

Keep your developer close Your developer might be able to spot options and checkboxes in your configuration that could reinforce your stability. If your developer is not addressing your stability concerns, it could be time to move on

How Aquarian can help solve Stability issues

When a new client approaches us with a website experiencing issues with scalability, we know a few things already:

  1. They know their online business well enough to easily pinpoint what works and what does not.
  2. They may have already sought out quick, non-structural solutions.
  3. There may be an imperative in the organization to "get back to normal," or "just fix it."
  4. At one time, they liked their website.

Aquarian can provide stable software for your website, but oddly enough this break-out will likely ask an organization to examine many things about their website, not just scalability. In this process it is critical to notate what the client likes about their website, what ways of working with their website they want to stay the same, and what choices currently present in their website they still stand by. Breaking out of a one-size-fits-all CMS opens up questions about hows and whys that Aquarian routinely asks clients for answers on. We listen for all of these points in all of our meetings and we take our distillations of these points right to the code, revealing them to you as we go along. It's not just addressing stability, it's getting your low-footprint, scalable website right the first time, changing your business. By the time we are done with our process, you will be very familiar with our choices and understand how we applied our expertise.

Aquarian Web Studio offers free one-time consults to websites looking to improve their website stability. Is this you? Let's have a conversation.

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