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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.

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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. SecureTax.com 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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