My Website Appears to Be Inaccessible (Website is Down or Offline) Print

  • Updated on 07-May-2024
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Experiencing website downtime can frustrate web hosting clients and service providers. Often, the issue is perceived as a server outage. While the server and your website may be fully operational, there are several ways you can verify whether the site is really online and functioning properly. Here are some methods:

  • Use Online Website Checkers: Many free online tools are available to check if your website is accessible from different locations worldwide. Examples include Down for Everyone or Just Me (, Is It Down Right Now (, and Uptrends (

  • Check from Different Devices and Networks: Try accessing your website from a different device (like a smartphone or another computer) and from a different network (like using mobile data instead of your home Wi-Fi). This can help determine if the issue relates to your local network or device.

  • Use a VPN: Sometimes, websites are inaccessible due to regional restrictions or local network issues. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help you check if the site is accessible from different locations.

This article aims to demystify some common causes of website downtime and provide actionable solutions.

1. Blank Page / Plugin or Theme Conflicts


For websites using CMS like WordPress, plugin and theme conflicts are common. These conflicts can occur after updates to the CMS, themes, or plugins and often result in a blank page or a malfunctioning site.


  • Deactivate all plugins: Access the site via FTP or File Manager and rename the plugin directory. If the site works, reactivate plugins one by one to identify the culprit.
  • Switch to a default theme: Temporarily switch to a default theme (like Twenty-One) to see if the issue resolves.

"Plugin and theme conflicts in CMS like WordPress are common culprits for website malfunctions."

2. Expired SSL Certificate


An expired SSL certificate can cause browser security warnings, preventing the site from loading correctly.


  • Renew the SSL certificate: Contact your hosting provider or renew the certificate through your hosting control panel.

3. Resource Limitations


Reaching resource limits such as CPU, RAM, or bandwidth can make a site unresponsive or slow.


  • Monitor resource usage: Check your hosting control panel for resource usage.
  • Upgrade your plan: If you're consistently hitting limits, consider upgrading to a higher hosting plan.

4. Malware or Hacking Incidents / Blocked in Google Search or Google Chrome


A compromised website can lead to downtime or unpredictable behavior.


  • Identify and Remove the Malware

    1. Scan for Malware: Use security tools to scan your website files for malware. There are many online tools and plugins (like Wordfence for WordPress) that can help you identify malicious code.

    2. Update and Patch: Update all software, including your CMS (WordPress, Joomla, etc.), themes, and plugins. Often, hacks exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software.

    Strengthen Your Website's Security

    1. Change Passwords: Change all passwords associated with your website, including CMS, database, FTP accounts, and admin areas.

    2. Implement Strong Security Measures: Install a web application firewall (WAF) and use security plugins to defend your website against future attacks.

    3. Regular Monitoring: Set up regular monitoring for malware and vulnerabilities. Many security plugins offer this service.

    Unblocking Your Site from Google

    1. Google Search Console: Use Google Search Console to identify why Google has blocked your site. Google provides detailed information about the detected malware or security issues.

    2. Request a Review: After cleaning your website, submit it for a review through Google Search Console. If it finds no issues, Google will re-scan your site and remove the block.

    Preventive Measures for the Future

    1. Keep Software Updated: Regularly update all software components of your website.


    3. Regular Security Audits: Regularly audit your website for security vulnerabilities.

    4. Use Strong Authentication Methods: Implement strong password policies and consider using two-factor authentication for your website's admin areas.

    5. Limit Access Permissions: Only give necessary permissions to users and applications.

  • Restore from backup: If malware is found, restore your website from a clean backup.

5. Incorrect File Permissions


Wrong file or directory permissions can result in access issues and a blank page.


  • Using cPanel

    1. Log into cPanel: Access your hosting account's cPanel.

    2. File Manager: Navigate to the 'File Manager' in cPanel. This tool allows you to manage all files on your server.

    3. Locate Your Website's Root Directory: Typically, this is the public_html directory, but it can vary based on your hosting setup.

    4. Check Permissions:

      • Folders: The standard permission for folders is 755. This means read and execute access for everyone and write access for the file owner.
      • Files: For files, the standard permission is 644. This means read-and-write access for the file's owner and read-only for others.
    5. Change Permissions:

      • Right-click on a file or folder.
      • Select 'Change Permissions'.
      • Adjust permissions to the appropriate settings (755 for folders, 644 for files).
      • You can apply these permissions recursively to subdirectories and files if needed.
    6. Apply Changes: After setting the correct permissions, save the changes.

    Using FileZilla (FTP Client)

    1. Connect to Server: Open FileZilla and connect to your web server using FTP credentials.

    2. Navigate to the Website's Root Folder. Usually, this is public_html.

    3. Check and Change Permissions:

      • Right-click on a folder or file in the FileZilla window.
      • Select 'File permissions'.
      • Set the numeric value (755 for directories, 644 for files).
      • For folders, you can also apply permission settings to all files and subdirectories within it.
    4. Apply and Confirm: Click 'OK' to apply the new permissions. Changes should take effect immediately.

6. Database Server Issues


Issues with the database server can render a website inoperative, even if the web server is running.


  • Check Database Credentials: Ensure the database username, password, and hostname in your application's configuration file are correct. Sometimes, credentials may change due to server migration, password resets, or database user modifications. Also, make sure the database user has permission to access the database as well.

  • Test Database Connection: Try connecting to the database manually using a database management tool like phpMyAdmin or command-line tools. This can help you verify if the database is operational and accessible with the current credentials.

  • Examine Configuration Files: Look for any recent changes in configuration files that might have affected the database connection. This includes files like wp-config.php for WordPress or settings.php for Drupal.

  • Inspect Logs for Errors: Check your application and server logs for any error messages related to database connectivity. These logs can provide valuable clues about what might be going wrong.

  • Contact Support Again: If you've tried the above steps and the issue persists, it might be a good idea to contact our support team again for more specific guidance, to provide information tailored to their specific hosting environment.

7. Domain Expiration


An expired domain means the site will not be accessible.


  • Renew the domain: Promptly renew your domain to restore website access. Note that it may take a few hours for the site to get online after the renewal.

8. DNS Propagation


After DNS changes, it takes time for the updates to propagate, causing access issues.


  • Use a VPN: By connecting to a VPN, you can change your IP address to a different location where the new IP might have already propagated. This can help you bypass local DNS servers that haven't updated yet.

  • Use a Public DNS Service: Switching your computer's DNS settings to use a public DNS service like Google DNS ( and or Cloudflare DNS ( can sometimes give you access to the updated DNS records faster than your local ISP's DNS servers.

  • Use Online Proxies or Web-Based Tools: Tools like web proxies or browser-based services such as the "Wayback Machine" can sometimes access the site from a different location, which might have the updated DNS information.

  • Flush Local DNS Cache: Sometimes, your local machine or local network equipment might have cached the old DNS information. You can try flushing your DNS cache to force your system to fetch the latest DNS information. On Windows, this can be done with ipconfig /flushdns in the command prompt; on macOS, you can use sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder in the terminal.

  • Wait It Out: Sometimes, the only solution is to wait until the DNS propagation completes. This process can take up to 48 hours, though it's often much quicker.

9. ISP-Related Problems


Issues at the client's ISP level or specific routes to the server can cause access issues.


  • Change DNS Servers: Switching to a different DNS server is the simplest solution. You can use public DNS services like Google DNS ( and or Cloudflare DNS ( This often resolves issues related to ISP DNS outages or inefficiencies.

  • Use a VPN: A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can route your internet traffic through a server in a different location. This might bypass the issue if the problem is localized to your ISP's DNS servers.

  • Mobile Network: Sometimes, using a different network can help. You can try accessing your site via your mobile device's data connection to see if the issue is specific to your ISP.

  • Browser Extensions: Some browser extensions can help bypass DNS issues by routing DNS queries through alternative servers.

  • Check for Local Network Issues: Ensure the problem is not with your local network. Restarting your router or connecting to a different network might help identify if the issue is local.

  • Contact ISP Support: If none of the above solutions work, contact your ISP for support. They might have a solution or can give you more information about the outage.

10. DNS Issues


Misconfigured DNS settings, like incorrect Cloudflare IP, can prevent domain name resolution.


  • Review DNS settings: Ensure all DNS records are correctly set and propagated.
  • Verify DNS Records: First, ensure that the DNS records in Cloudflare, especially the A record or CNAME record, are correctly pointing to your server's IP address. Incorrect entries here could prevent your website from being accessible.

  • Check for Propagation: Updating DNS records can take a few minutes to 48 hours for changes to propagate across the internet. You can use online tools like DNS Checker to see if your DNS changes have propagated.

11. Local Network Issues


Router issues or internal network problems can block access to certain sites.


  • Restart Your Router: This is the simplest and often most effective solution. Turn off your router, wait a minute, and then turn it back on. This can resolve many connectivity issues.

  • Check Router Settings: Sometimes, settings on your router might be blocking access to specific websites. Check the router's admin panel for any settings like parental controls, firewall settings, or URL filters that might be causing the issue.

  • Change DNS Settings: Your Internet Service Provider's (ISP) DNS server might have issues resolving your website's domain. Try changing your device's or router's DNS settings to use a different DNS service like Google DNS ( and or Cloudflare DNS (

  • Use a VPN: A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help bypass local network restrictions. Connecting to a VPN makes your traffic routed through a different network, which might allow you to access your site.

  • Access Through a Proxy Server: A proxy server reroutes your internet traffic like a VPN. Using a web proxy or setting up a proxy server in your browser might help bypass the issue.

  • Try a Different Network: Connect to a different network, like a mobile hotspot, to see if the issue is with your local network.

  • Flush DNS Cache: Your computer's DNS cache might hold outdated or incorrect information. Flushing the DNS cache can help. On Windows, you can do this by running ipconfig /flushdns in the command prompt. On macOS, use sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder in the terminal.

In conclusion, website downtime can stem from various sources, and accurately diagnosing the issue is crucial. By understanding these common causes and their solutions, website owners and web hosting providers can work together more effectively to resolve such issues and ensure optimal website performance.

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