Outage Pages

Sometimes site downtime is unavoidable. Major upgrades, database server crashes/backup restoration, and a number of other events require that your site temporarily go offline. Whatever necessitates the outage, you don’t want your users getting meaningless server errors or having their browsers timeout waiting for a response from your site.

Section has the ability to display a message to your users that will let them know that the site is temporarily down. This page can be designed to match your site’s branding — that way it looks like your website, but it’s hosted by us. During web server outages your users will still see a friendly message that lets them know what’s going on.

Setting up your first outage page

Section allows you to define multiple outage pages, so you can have different messaging depending on the reason your site is down. The first thing to do is to design your outage page. The page should be simple, with some text explaining that the site is down, but will be back soon. If you know when the site will be back up it may be helpful to include that information. Remember that because your site is down, you won’t be able to use any resources from your site. Images and css should be embedded in the page or hosted on something like Amazon’s S3. The outage page should be a single HTML file. For the purposes of this example, we’ll call it outage.html.

There are two ways to get started with your first outage page. If you’re comfortable using git you can follow these next instructions — otherwise contact support and we’ll get you started.

  1. Go to https://aperture.Section and navigate to the “Advanced Config” for your site
  2. Grab the URL next to “Clone with HTTPS” and use it to do a git clone <url>.
  3. In the cloned directory create a new directory called outage_pages
  4. Put the outage.html file you created in that directory
  5. Commit this change using git add . && git commit -m "Added new outage page"
  6. Push this change up to Section with git push.

Using your outage page

Once the page is setup you can see it on https://aperture.Section under “Set up” -> “Outage Pages”. There will be a list of the outage pages you have set up with a “Preview” link next to each one. Clicking on the preview link will let you see what the outage page will look like once enabled.

When you’re ready to engage the outage page, click the box next to the page then click “Engage,” and confirm your request. This will deploy your outage page to our servers and ensure that all traffic to your site will see your friendly message instead of a server error or a browser timeout.

Once your site is up & healthy you can come back to https://aperture.Section and go to the “Outage Pages” and click “Disengage”. After another minute deploy your site will be live again.

This is just one of the ways that Section can help, get setup today and see what we can do for you.