How would I know my website is down due to an Internet outage?

“Oh, no! My website is down!” In the moment of panic, people check to be sure that their local Internet connection is working. If it is, they reach for their phone and call their hosting provider.

As a host, we expect this. However, there are times when the client calls the hosting provider, and the host reports that they can see the site without a problem and all systems are green.

At this point, the client is confused and doesn’t know what is wrong or who to ask what is causing the problem. The most likely cause of this issue is that there is an outage with an Internet service provider or a major carrier is having issues due to a possible line break. There are a few free tools on the web at your fingertips that will allow you to quickly check the health of the Internet and your site itself from other locations on the Internet.

Some of the tools that we recommend are Internet Pulse, Alertra and the Traceroute Command. Internet Pulse will tell you if there is a problem between the major Internet carriers. If you go to http://www.internetpulse.net you will see a grid. If any of the blocks are red, there is a definite problem. The red block indicates that the response times between the carriers are very high.

The next tool is http://www.alertra.com. This site allows you to type in your website address, and it will tell you if your site is up and visible around the globe. Alertra will also tell you how long it takes for your website to come up from other geographical locations within the US and internationally. Alertra is a helpful tool to check your site performance around the globe.

The last tool is more of a command line tool for the more technical user. It can be used from a Mac or a PC by typing the command “tracert” and the web address or IP address of your website. The command will look something like this: “tracert [ip address or domain name].” Then, hit enter. This will tell you how long it takes to reach your website from your current location and the time between hops to the final destination. Network administrators will use “tracert” to pinpoint any potential delays between points on the Internet to the final destination. If you see a number higher than 80 milliseconds between hops to a site or IP address, this identifies a delay or bottleneck slowing things down. See an example of “tracert” below:

C:\Users\Administrator>tracert yahoo.com

Tracing route to yahoo.com [98.138.253.109]

over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 1 ms <1 ms <1 ms 192.168.1.1

2 39 ms 19 ms 19 ms c-98-192-0-1.hsd1.ga.comcast.net [98.192.0.1]

3 10 ms 8 ms 9 ms xe-11-2-0-0-sur01.a2atlanta.ga.atlanta.comcast.net [68.85.91.181]

4 10 ms 11 ms 10 ms xe-2-1-3-0-ar01.b0atlanta.ga.atlanta.comcast.net[68.86.106.57]

5 14 ms 42 ms 13 ms 68.86.93.201

6 12 ms 12 ms 11 ms 64.209.107.53

7 40 ms 39 ms 39 ms YAHOOPEER.Te2-3.1101.ar5.CHI2.gblx.net [206.57.3.210]

8 57 ms 57 ms 57 ms ae-7.pat1.nez.yahoo.com [216.115.104.124]

9 56 ms 56 ms 56 ms xe-7-0-0.msr2.ne1.yahoo.com [216.115.100.7]

10 58 ms 93 ms 56 ms xe-8-0-0.clr1-a-gdc.ne1.yahoo.com [98.138.144.29]

11 56 ms 57 ms 59 ms et-18-25.fab4-1-gdc.ne1.yahoo.com [98.138.0.95]

12 56 ms 57 ms 57 ms po-13.bas2-7-prd.ne1.yahoo.com [98.138.240.28]

13 58 ms 56 ms 161 ms ir1.fp.vip.ne1.yahoo.com [98.138.253.109]

Traceroute complete

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