What to do if a server is down
If your server does go down the first thing to do is not panic. There is ideally a three-step process to coping with such a scenario.
- Identify the cause and how widespread the issue is. The problem may not be with your network but rather with third-party services that your users are trying to access via your network.
- Fix the issue if you can.
- Prevent the issue from happening again by putting appropriate measures in place.
Of course, this three-step process looks a lot easier than it is in reality as there are dozens of reasons the network could be down, which could be widespread across numerous workstations or limited to one or two.
List of common network problems
Here are a few of the most common reasons that networks fail and therefore should be the ones you investigate first.
- Duplicate IP addresses – It could be that two devices with the same IP address are attempting to access data – a message will show that the ‘address is already in use’. This will be an issue with the configuration of the DHCP.
- DNS issues – If the error messages show ‘The Network Path Cannot Be Found’, ‘IP Address Could Not Be Found’, or ‘DNS Name Does Not Exist’ you may need to configure the workstations to their own DNS servers.
- Single workstation can’t connect – If only one workstation is unable to connect to the internet then the problem could be with their configuration, hardware, drivers, Wi-Fi or firewalls preventing access. Running an anti-virus scanner could identify a virus or malware on their device.
- Unable to connect to local file or printer – Such sharing issues can be down to different versions of the operating systems using different versions of security models that don’t connect smoothly.
- Local network can’t connect to the internet – This could be a consistent problem, or it could be that the internet keeps ‘dropping out’ which is much more difficult to trace and troubleshoot.
- Slow internet performance – This could be down to a poor connection and it is advisable to check the speeds available through your provider or online speed testing websites.
However, slow performance could also be due to congestion on the system, which could be focused on a single port on a switch or a router.
How to troubleshoot network problems
In order to troubleshoot network problems, it is key to identify first what the problem is before you can work on specifics to solve it. That age-old adage, “have you tried turning it off and on again” works here, as the problem could be solved by rebooting the system. This can identify whether it is a temporary network problem. Although this simple act of network troubleshooting can fix a number of issues and restore internet connection getting your business back online, it doesn’t solve everything.
Check Network settings
By checking the settings for the affected workstations and devices you can identify that they are configured correctly and that the Wi-Fi is enabled. It could be a simple problem that a users’ Wi-Fi was switched off denying them access. Also, check there aren’t any unnecessary IP address settings activated which could be causing the problem.
Check access points
Checking that the WAN and LAN cables are connected and connected correctly as well as there being no damage to the hardware could solve the problem in a jiffy.
Sometimes restarting the router is enough to kick start the network connections. If the router hasn’t been turned off in a while this is often the key suspect in networks going down. Check that all the lights that should be on are on, and if they’re not after a reboot this could be down to malfunctioning hardware.
Check internet connection
The problem could be that the internet connection itself is down and is therefore a problem for your supplier to solve. Additionally, if it is a single workstation it is always a good idea to check whether it was just the website they were trying, or the network is actually down.
heck DHCP settings
Routers are normally configured to be DHCP servers, but this can become a problem if users have devices also set up as a DHCP server as both the device and the server could be trying to create IP addresses for the same command. It is also a good idea to check that the router is allocating appropriate IP addresses as any rogue addresses will prevent functionality.
It is possible to use an IP scanner to identify the IP addresses of all hardware on your network (include hard to identify addresses such as printers or scanners) which can tell you if there is anything attached to the network that shouldn’t be there or if an IP address doesn’t look right and could be causing the issues.
Network issues could be caused by a problem with the operating system. If the system hasn’t had an update in a while it is worth running this, as Windows may have released a patch for the problem, therefore troubleshooting your network issue.
Reconfigure Windows diagnostics
By using Windows Network diagnostics you can run a connection troubleshooter which could identify the problem for you and fix it. This tool is available from Windows 7 to 10. If Windows finds a problem and fixes it, reboot the system to check everything is working.
If this all sounds very technical and you don’t have an inhouse IT team it could be worth considering outsourced it technical support who could deal with all of this for you.
By using a team of experts or IT support services, you can identify the potential network issues before they result in the network going down. Contact the team at CIS today for more guidance, and to learn more about our outsourced IT support services.