5 things I learned from my favourite app's recent downtime

Created at Icons8.com by me

A few days ago, one of my favourite apps went down for 15 minutes. 

This app is used by a lot of students and corporates to capture learning. Therefore, a 15 minute downtime did worry a lot of the app's userbase. The primary reason to worry was that the status page of the app also went down with the app itself.

I did learn few things from their experience, here is what I learned:

Don't mess up with DNS on production

Honestly, I don't know the Why of what happened but I do know the how. Changes to the production level DNS rendered the app inaccessible to its users. The URL of the app failed all DNS probes and users were left stranded without access to the web version and APIs, too.
Lesson: Don't mess with production DNS, if you need to, let the users know well in advance and do it when the app usage is less.

Your status page shouldn't be on your official top level domain

This app's status page was on status.domain.tld, eg. status.vivin.pro. So, when the DNS went down, so did the status page. The rumblings were obvious because of this. The app's users were really worried about all their precious data like lecture notes becoming inaccessible. Then, after some time, the company tweeted the official status. 
Lesson: domainstatus.tld on a different server instead of status.domain.tld works best.

Have offline functionality in your app with sync

Offline functionality would have helped a lot here. If the users could just continue to use the app whilst the downtime existed, it wouldn't have disrupted their lives so much.
Lesson: Invest in have offline functionality (if affordable).

Social Media is essential for posting updates

The main place where the users finally found what is happening was in an update on the app's Twitter account. Thankfully, the have a buzzing app community which then propagated the information everywhere and restored normalcy. The thing to note is that more than the company itself the user-base did the job of letting fellow users know about the downtime.
Lesson: Get on the corporate social media community formation.

Don't go all-digital

Almost everyone on the Internet promises 99% uptime. The 1% can still do a lot of damage. And, we never know when the 1% happens. Be prepared for it.
Lesson: Have a plan in place when the 1% happens as an app's creator and the user.

So, that is what I learned. Hope you find it helpful. 

Have something to add? Comment below.


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