I knew something was amiss when only a paltry 17 emails showed up during the morning download so I checked my sites and sure enough, the sites hosted on one of my servers were showing a 504 Gateway Timeout error. (See list of HTTP Status Codes and their meanings here.)
A 504 error usually means that a server upstream from yours that is acting as a gateway to handle the HTTP request is either down or too slow to fulfill the request.
Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do to solve a 504 gateway timeout problem. It has to be dealt with by the techies at the ISP that hosts the errant web server.
The following is a list of my recommended responses to such a problem.
- Assess the HTTP error. There’s a good list of HTTP status codes, some with explanations.
- Shut down applicable PPC campaigns. Every click that goes to a site that isn’t online is a waste of money. Refrain from wondering how long your site has been down or thinking about how much money you’ve probably just flushed.
- Contact your webmaster or ISP. Explain the problem CONCISELY. There’s no need to tell them that you were in the middle of enjoying a delicious breakfast of ham and eggs when ESP told you that things with your site were awry.
- Know that ‘stuff’ happens and remain calm. The outage may last only a minute or two, so there’s no need to get stressed out. Do your best to avoid visions of bankruptcy court and bag ladies.
- Twiddle your thumbs. Now think of something else to do.
- Post to social networking sites. Release whatever angst you feel by posting about your situation to your Twitter, Facebook and MySpace accounts. Someone may respond with such concern that you feel better for a short while. If not, send out a bunch of friend requests to find better friends.
- Write a few blog entries (using a text editor) to post when your site is again available. If you’re short on ideas or too stressed about the situation to think clearly, see the next list item.
- Buy a PLR package.. I bought Anik Singal’s Valentine / Spring package, dating site was still online, queued up the blog posts for delivery during the month of January.
- Take a break away from your office. If the outage becomes prolonged, use the time to do something really different like refill your shampoo dispenser. Better yet, go outside, get some exercise and see what your town looks like in daylight hours.
- When you return and/or the problem is rectified, check your stats. You might find that you’ve made enough money with free search engine traffic to want to modify that PPC campaign before you turn it back on.
The most important thing to remember – don’t stress! You can still get good work done and/or have fun. Enjoy the break while it lasts.