When you launch a new website, you expect it to stay up and running with little to no regular maintenance. Sometimes, sites are left to it for many years before they see an update! Sadly, there are times where website owners need to take action due to broken page layouts, out of date code, or malicious software injected into HTML sources.
If you’ve recently discovered that your website is broken, you may be wondering what to do about it. Especially if the site in question is the online home for your business or organization. It’s obvious that something needs to be done, but what’s the best course of action; should you create a new website or try to fix the existing one?
Well, it could be easier than you think to find out what’s gone wrong with your website and determine how to correct any errors. Here’s what you need to do:
Find out the exact reason why your site isn’t working
It’s easy to just dive straight in and start examining a plethora of HTML and PHP files on your server. But, it can often be a waste of time if you don’t know what you are looking for! The first step is to determine WHY your website isn’t working.
You might think that your broken website is due to some suspicious code in your source files. But, the problem might be down to anything, such as:
- Server (host) configuration issues;
- Expired SSL certificates or domain names;
- DNS issues or other connection problems from your Internet provider;
- Your web browser’s cache may need emptying.
Try to access your website from other devices such as your smartphone and tablet. Consider connecting using a different Internet connection in another building. And don’t forget to test your site in different web browsers. Last, but not least, ensure that your SSL certificates and domain names are valid and haven’t expired!
Examine your HTML code
Once you’ve ruled out that you’ve not got a connectivity, browser, or domain problem, it’s time to look at your HTML code. Before you begin, ensure that you’ve made a backup of your website files. That way, you can restore the content if you make an irreversible mistake.
To check your code, the simplest way is to use a browser website development extension. In a nutshell, they are utilities that work inside your web browser to help you make sense of your code. Take a look here to see a selection of some popular tools for Google Chrome.
You may also wish to compare your HTML code with that from an earlier functioning version of your website. That way, you can quickly narrow down the culprit!
Restore from backup
If you’ve spent hours pouring over your code and you still can’t determine why your website is broken, all is not lost. Most web hosts offer an automatic backup that creates a snapshot of your site files at least once a day.
If you’ve got cPanel or similar access, you can usually restore an earlier backup so that your site is up and running again quickly. Alternatively, contact your host for assistance.