Website Monitoring and Regional Outages

by | February 9, 2017

If a customer, client, or business associate contacts your staff in a panic about being unable to access one of your company’s websites, but the site works just fine on your end, they are likely experiencing a regional outage. The performance and accessibility you personally experience on your websites may not reflect what people experience in other regions because people use different infrastructures to access online content depending on their physical location.

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Fortunately, location-based website monitoring can help diagnose and resolve region-specific outages. Read on to find out more

Outage Causes

Downtime can cause substantial financial loss, so it’s no question that your business should avoid it as much as possible. Once you’ve established that some of your site’s customers or audience can’t access your site, you can narrow down the cause to one of three common problems.

  1. Domain Name System Server Outage

A DNS server is a lot like a phone book for the Internet: They function as big directories of where to find content based on the web address. As of late 2016, the Internet operates on 13 root DNS servers that distribute the workload to many other lower-level, privately-owned servers. Accessibility-halting outages can strike at multiple levels of this system.

Common outages strike service provider-specific servers that only impact subscribers based on who is providing Internet access (Comcast, AT&T, etc.). Other outages may strike higher on the chain and block access to many sites on a regional or national level. This is often the case if, for example, you can access the platforms without a hitch on the West Coast, but not on the East Coast.

  1. Content Delivery Network Outage

Web platforms that reach an audience across a wide geographical region typically look to CDNs, or a collection of servers in many different locations that mirror content from a central server, for faster proximity-based access. However, CDNs create an additional infrastructure level that can potentially experience outages. When there is a CDN-related outage, all users in the server’s designated area will be unable to access the platform regardless of their service provider. In this case, all users in a specific region, like the state of Florida, can’t access the site–but everyone else can.

  1. Internet Service Provider Outage

While there is some overlap between ISP outages and DNS outages, not all ISP outages are DNS outages. It’s possible that the individual informing your company of the outage is experiencing an entire access outage but has not tried to access any other websites. Other outages may be caused by overloaded infrastructure or ISP-based DNS servers having bad information for specific websites. ISP-related problems will generally be resolved without any action on your company’s part.

How Location-Based Website Monitoring Helps

Location-based website monitoring is great for determining whether there’s a problem with a specific DNS or CDN server because it lets your staff test infrastructure from different physical locations. In Apica’s case, the location-based website monitoring network can access servers from 2,600 monitoring locations across 83 countries. The monitoring information can point your staff in the right direction to determine the root cause of the outage; from there, you can either restore accessibility or dismiss any concerns that your company is at fault for the outage.

If your business works with customers and clients across several geographical regions, location-based website monitoring does more than help when things go wrong. It also makes it easier to ensure that your visitors are experiencing smooth, quick access regardless of where they live. The experts at Apica are ready to help improve your online platform performance. Contact us today to learn more.

Apica Product Team