What To Do When Your Church Website Crashes

The parish website is down.

These words, perhaps inevitable, are ones I don’t want to have to say or read in an email, especially when approaching the busiest time of the year for church websites. Here’s how we prepared and responded to a recent outage so you can be ready when it happens to your church.

  1. Confirm with your admin and/or hosting provider the nature of the outage and when you get expect a resolution. Pad that resolution time because recovery often takes longer than expected.
  2. Contact the parish office to let them know you are aware of the situation and the (padded) estimated time for resolution if known.
  3. Send an email to your breaking news distribution list, one of the three essential email newsletters every church should have in place. Inform them of the situation and provide an alternate way to get essential church information. In our case, we were able to provide news updates in the email itself.
  4. Notify your website editors and contributors that they will not have access to make site updates. It’s helpful to already have a listserv or distribution list in place for the team since you won’t be able to look them up on your site in this situation.

Our site is expected to be out no more than a couple of days so we’re not redirecting the URL to another site, although we do have a Google Pages placeholder ready in case that ever becomes an issue. See Google Page Creator for details about creating a Google-hosted page.

How have you handle outages? Any other steps to add?

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