Consistent site errors, long load times, or 503 "Service Unavailable" errors can be caused by a number of factors, including an issue at the Finalsite data center, a network connectivity problem at your school or the surrounding local area, a DNS setting error, or something else entirely. This article suggests how you can troubleshoot the problem to try and nail down the cause.
Finalsite Server Status
If you suspect that the data center is indeed down, the first thing to do is to check the Finalsite Server Status page for an update on whether or not the server hosting your site is currently up or down.
The information displayed on the Server Status page is updated by Finalsite based on information we get from our data center diagnostic monitors. Because the info displayed there is not automated, the page will give you a definitive answer about whether we're experiencing any issues at the data center. Furthermore, because we update that data, if you see a notice about your server cluster there that means we're aware of the issue and are already working on it.
While you're there, you can also subscribe to receive email, text and/or Atom/RSS notifications about any status updates. That way if there's ever an issue you can be notified automatically, instantaneously, as soon as we post an update (note that Finalsite will not be responsible if your colleagues begin assuming that you're psychic). To sign up, click "Subscribe to Updates" at the upper-left, choose the type of update(s) you want to receive, and enter your contact details.
The Status page is also where we post additional information about past server downtime incidents. if you have a question about why a server went down, check here for a post-mortem breakdown of what happened.
Site Availability Spot Check
If the Status page indicates that the server is up but you're still encountering errors, try Uptrends' Uptime Tool. We like Uptrends because it will test a site from multiple locations around the world and display all of the results, including the ping time (a general measure of how long it takes to display a page after a user's browser requests it). This can be useful to determine if there's some sort of local outage that's preventing you from accessing your site when there are no issues with the server.
DNS Settings Check
If Uptrends indicates that your site is up but you still cannot access it, run a check on the site's DNS settings using Pingdom Tools. This can tell you if there's a problem that's preventing your site's domain (yourschool.com) from pointing to the correct numerical IP address that specifies a server in the Finalsite data center. Be sure to leave the 'www.' prefix off of your address when entering your site's domain. This tool will indicate if there are discrepancies in your DNS configuration that might cause your site to be unavailable.
You can also try to access your school's site from a device that's not on your school's network. DNS issues are frequently localized to a specific network, so if your site is down from on-campus but up when viewed from another location, contact your IT support staff and let them know that the DNS configuration may need to be checked.
Contact Finalsite Support
If you've tried all of the above and still can not access your site, submit a support ticket to our team or give us a call at 1-844-322-8109.
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