Last week, billions of social media users were left reeling when Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp went down for nearly 6 hours.
Most of us can live without scrolling through our Insta feeds or messaging the group chat for a short period of time. But this kind of outage can spell disaster for business owners who rely on these closely interlinked platforms to spread the word about their products and services.
What caused the outage?
According to a statement released on Engineering.FB.com, the problem was caused by configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between Facebook’s data centres. In the team’s own words: “This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.”
Now, we can wonder how this was allowed to happen at all, given that Facebook boasts more than 2.89 billion monthly active users – many of whom would have lost their preferred means of communication for quite some time. We can also ponder why it took so long to identify the issue and restore services, especially when Facebook’s own internal tools were affected (to the point where staff couldn’t enter Facebook’s HQ with their own key cards!).
Aside from frustrating countless users across the globe, the blackout proved that companies should never rely too heavily on apps that run on the same infrastructures, because when one goes down, the rest of them will take a tumble. It also highlighted the importance of having other routes to market in place, especially if your business is based partly or primarily on the web.
What can you do to protect your business from similar blackouts?
Social media platforms like Facebook are a Godsend for many small to medium business owners who rely on them to promote their products and services to specific online communities. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using them as part of your marketing strategy. But this recent problem has proven that there are many benefits to investing in a purpose-built website alongside all your multi-channel social media marketing activities.
One of the huge advantages of having your own website is that you have much more control over its design and its content. Plus, you can minimise its downtime by choosing a reliable host, investing in a website monitoring service and backing up your data regularly.
You won’t be immune from problems. Hacks, server issues, software bugs and all kinds of other obstacles can prevent your website from performing at its best. But by getting your own platform in place, you’ll be safeguarding your online presence against the misgivings of Facebook and all the other major social media providers who, as this recent outage has proven, are just as susceptible to downtime, whether it’s expected or otherwise.
At Indy, we very much specialise in creating website copy and content. But, thanks to the nature of what we do, we have fantastic links with many web designers and developers who can help you put together a beautiful, functional platform – and at a reasonable price, too. Drop us a message for advice and to discuss your options in more detail.