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Crash And Burn

Your Web site will go down, but the right hosting company can keep disaster from being an everyday occurrence.

This story appears in the April 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Last November, shortly after Toys "R" Us mailed out 62million catalogs to customers and offered everyone free shipping onits , ToysRUs.comslowed to a crawl-leaving thousands of would-be buyers withoutaccess during peak hours. faced an even graversituation when its site, used by hundreds of thousands of customersfor preparing and filing taxes, crashed outright. Even , theNet's leading auctioneer, with more than three million users in50 countries, experienced at least four major crashes this pastyear due to a corrupted server and various and sundry softwaretroubles. In one instance, eBay had to shut down its site fornearly 22 hours, incurring between $3 million and $5 million inlosses.

Are you scared yet? You should be. As commercecontinues to surge in popularity, so does the potential fortechnical problems-and don't think you're immune justbecause you operate a . Although most of the crashesyou hear about happen to giant corporations, small businesses alsoregularly experience shutdowns and blackouts costingthousands-sometimes millions-of dollars. Such site crashes andfailures happen for a variety of reasons: errors in programming,seemingly innocuous software glitches, the failure of servers, bothin-house and at Web hosting companies-even human error.

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