Simon Miller Team : Web Development Tags : Web Development

When to call your web developer

Simon Miller Team : Web Development Tags : Web Development

A customer has just called you to inform you that your website is down. Before you panic and call your developer which may incur needless support fees, find out from your customer what they mean by ‘website is down’ as this can be interpreted a number of ways.

Did the customer type in the address correctly? A simple check but weeds out many false positives.

What do they see in the browser window? If the browser tries to go the website for a while and fails with an error such as “Cannot locate server” or “DNS Error” then there are a few possibilities:


  • Your customer cannot see the site because they cannot see any sites. Ask them to see if they can get to Google. If they can’t, the customer is at fault.
  • Can you see your website? If you can see it and they can’t, again it is most likely the customer at fault.
  • Check if your website is truly down by entering the URL at If the site says “It’s not just you” then you have a problem but it is most likely a hosting issue. Who is responsible for hosting your website? It most cases it is not the same company who built your website, although your developer may have arranged hosting on your behalf. You should have an email or letter detailing who to call in this situation. Tell your host that you and your customers cannot get to your website and have the error message handy.


Sometimes the meaning of “website is down” is less clear. Your customer could simply mean that one part of the website is not functioning the way it should. He or she may even mean that it is not working the way that THEY expect it to work.

If it turns out that a piece of functionality on your website is causing an error when it is utilised, this is the appropriate time to call your developer. Such errors could obvious such as a complete stack dump to the screen – typified in the Microsoft world of development as a red, yellow and white error log – which is important to copy the contents of or make a screen grab and email to your developer. Other errors may be on the page itself and as simple as “error sending email” or “failure to generate report”, depending on the functionality of your site.

The more information that can be provided to your developer in this instance, the quicker the problem can be resolved. Knowing precisely what your customer was doing at the time, what values they entered into a form, what buttons they clicked, etc. will assist your developer in reproducing the problem.