Status page is a communication tool that lets you inform your users about current outages and scheduled maintenance of your service — usually a website or a web app.
Most internet companies have their status page on the status subdomain status.domainname.com. See status.stripe.com or status.slack.com for reference. However, some opt in for different URLs, like GitHub with githubstatus.com.
The main purpose of a status page is to allow users to check if a given service is operational without the need to contact customer support directly.
For company employees, an internal status page provides the same benefit, but instead of customer support, it saves the developer teams from questions other departments might have.
Why use a status page?
The 4 main benefits of using a status page are:
- Saving customer support resources by reducing customer support tickets during incidents
- Saving IT resources by automating the incident communication process
- Saving business resources by aligning operations to accommodate for incidents
- Supporting marketing and sales by building trust with current and potential customers
Let's look at those more closely.
Reducing customer support queries
When incidents happen, users quickly start asking questions, and customer support can be flooded with incident reports and queries.
This creates an unnecessary amount of work for the support team and also decreases the response time for other non-incident-related issues, causing further frustration with users.
With a status page in place, you can easily refer your users there, allowing them to check the updates and developments of the situation on their own. Thus removing the need for the 1 on 1 communication with your support team.
Automating incident communication process
For development teams, the main priority in case of an incident is to resolve it as soon as possible. Many obstacles that come with this challenge can be removed by using a status page.
Manual tasks like sending incident emails, writing up status updates from scratch, copy-pasting incident reports into multiple places can be easily automated by integrating a status page with the monitoring and incident management process. These process improvements can lead to significant improvements in MTTR, while also lowering stress levels for developers during incidents.
Aligning operation to accommodate for incidents
When incidents happen, there are many stakeholders involved; from the company's team members to business partners and customers. A status page allows those interested in the status updates to subscribe and receive an email or other form of notification when incidents happen.
This alignment of operations with the incident situation prevents situations like spending on online ads or giving sales demos while the landing pages and products are not working. Other teams like legal might get involved as well when it comes to SLAs, for example - the opportunities for streamlining are endless.
Building trust with users and potential customers
Being transparent about incidents and sharing your system status publicly shows honesty on your part and builds trust with users in the long term. In some cases it can even serve as a great way of enchanting users in an unconventional way like in case of redditstatus.com.
It serves as proof that when any issues occur in the future, they can rely on you to proactively reach out to them and don't have to worry about double-checking your service.
Displaying a historical uptime and incidents also showcases reliability to potential customers. This can serve as a great marketing and sales tool showing the quality of your service. When advertising a specific SLAs, a public status page serves as evidence supporting your marketing claims with reliable data.
Using status pages - common use cases
Automation of incident communication to your clients
Do you have people that depend on your service?
The best practice is to have status page subscriptions that allow users to get information about any incidents right in their inbox. This removes the need to keep any records of customers and manually send emails when incidents happen.
Personalized status communication
Do you have a group of enterprise clients or a group of internal stakeholders?
By creating a dedicated status page for each group, you can easily communicate only what matters to them in an effective and personal way. With private status pages, you can password protect your page and offer personalized status communication to a specific group only.
Posting incident updates
When an incident happens, it's often necessary to share more information about the ongoing incident than just a simple red and green icon with an up/down status. More insights generally help users to accommodate for the interruption and remove the need for any follow-up questions.
With a status page in place, this becomes much easier than with email, as all updates can be sent to all users automatically once published.
By crafting an incident communication template, you can quickly broadcast well-written updates without the need for any long writing. Explore our incident communication templates and adjust them to fit your needs.
Keeping users in the loop about upcoming maintenance becomes fully automated as subscribers receive notifications right when new maintenance is scheduled.
This gives subscribers an important heads up, maximizing the time they have to prepare for the maintenance and hopefully minimizing any stress or hassle on their part.
Independent communication channel
In extreme cases, like when your whole infrastructure goes down, you won't be able to communicate with your users at all.
With hosted status page, however, you can maintain a communication channel with your users even when your whole website is down.
Status communication across different platforms
Embedding system status directly into your product
Since status pages are generally not known by non-tech-savvy users, it's the best practice to use embedded system status widgets directly in your product. A status widget usually comes in the form of a small callout box at the top of a page and includes some basic description of the situation and a link to a status page or specific support channels.
The embedded widget allows for communication of incidents directly on a homepage, in a product, or on support pages - giving incident updates as seamlessly as possible.
Using Twitter for status updates
Twitter has become an important communication channel for many companies, not just the tech ones. Twitter profiles like @stripestatus often serve in tandem with regular status pages and help to pro-actively announce any system issues to the interested Twitter followers. In many cases, those updates are seen faster than when sent via email. Some status pages tools can also embed any status tweets so both channels can be easily connected.
In general, the more communications channels, the better. However, be aware that any social media channels can backfire with angry comments.
Designing your status page
Showing relevant services
Simply passing all your monitoring data to the status page and displaying the statuses of all services is a great option for an internal status page. For public one, however, the best practice is to show only relevant services for the given user group.
Generally, things like APIs, integrations, homepage, or specific capabilities of your product are relevant for the majority of users. Things like DNS or CDN, on the other hand, are in most cases not useful to many users and might only cause confusion.
When it comes to designing a status page, it is important to always look at it with users' eyes and include only the things they care about the most.
Proper service grouping
Different product functionalities are dependent on different services, and while it is useful for DevOps teams to have a service by service breakdown, users generally care about whether the service is working as a whole or not.
For complex services, which depend on different monitors, it's best to simply show them as a single status monitor with easy-to-understand functionality, for example, Search, Login/SSO, Messaging. Instead of showing monitors with different servers availability, CPUs, and more and letting the user investigate and connect the dots. The GitHub status page is a nice example of showing an easy-to-understand overview of very-complex services.
Balancing transparency and practicality
Transparency is a great thing to strive for, especially for enterprises and companies with pre-defined SLAs. Being honest about incidents is the best way to build trust in your service.
For startups or indie hackers being fully transparent with historical performance could be harmful. Because early venture hick-ups might scare off potential customers, it’s worthwhile considering how much in the past does the incident timeline go.
On brand communication
Status page is an extension of the company's communication on the internet, and it’s a great opportunity to amaze your users somewhere they don't expect it.
Many companies have beautiful custom design status pages that communicate consistently with other channels and that build customer relationships in the least probable place.
How to get a custom domain status page in 2 minutes with Better Uptime?
- Once signed up, head to Status pages → Create status page
- Enter your company name and the subdomain on Better Uptime you want to use,
let's make it
mycompany.betteruptime.com(alternatively you can set up a CNAME and get a custom domain status page)
- Add your logo, twitter handle and other customizations
- Click save changes
For more information, explore Better Uptime docs.
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