A server (hardware) can be offline for a number of reasons. In most cases, it is a perfectly normal situation, and it will be back online within a few minutes, due to the way our network and installation works, it can take longer than a home PC would to restart, but again, this is perfectly normal, and nothing to worry about.
We schedule our Windows updates for Tuesdays, between 3am and 5am in the servers local time, so a server in our NY location will be at local NY time. Factors affecting how long updates take depend on how far behind your server is on updates, or how many updates, or size of updates. Typically updates will have completed, and the server will be back online by 6am in the worst cases. If this is not the case, please submit a ticket.
Sometimes we may need to restart machines, automatic restarts are done for Windows updates when required, however, there may be cases when restarts are required outside this window. Typically we will try and do this during quieter times, but we may be forced to do this during busier times.
Restarts in this case are normally down due things such as software (excluding Windows) updates - DirectX, C++ redistributables etc.
Its uncommon, but it does happen, and it will always happen, parts do get old and worn, or parts aren't perfect when we receive them. In most of our machines (Dells), they have diagnostic lights, which can help pinpoint an issue much more quickly, and remedy a fix. Normally we aim to keep the downtime to a few hours, but if there are unforeseen circumstances (like lack of stock), then this can take longer.
Typically it is a hard drive (HDD) that will be the component to fail as it has moving parts, if you have a dedicated server, we can attempt to save some data, but this depends on the condition of the HDD, it can also take a long time if it is in poor condition. The way we transfer is either via FTP if you are going to a new machine, or we will attach the HDD via any possible means to the new server, or move it in to a secondary position and install a new one in its place.
Thankfully, network issues are rare. We do have DDoS Protection in, and if anything does get through, typically it will only affect the service that is targeted.
If the server is offline due to network issues on our network, or due to an IP Null, you will have to wait for the issue to be cleared by us, or our networking team.
If the server is offline due to a network issue locally on your machine, then you need to submit a ticket and explain the issue, we will then attach a KVM which will allow us to reconfigure the network, which will get you back online.
Obviously if your server is being reinstalled for any reason, it will not be accessible until it has been completed.
If your server has blue screened, this can help diagnose a problem, a blue screen will be logged to the system, please send us a ticket for diagnosing and solutions.
Occasionally it may be necessary to carry out servicing or maintenance somewhere that may affect accessibility to servers, this can range from the lines in to the datacentre, switches, routers, to the machine itself. We will always post an announcement in your billing area, and sometimes the forums too, when maintenance is expected, sometimes the maintenance is unplanned, and described as 'emergency'.
Maintenance is always aimed at being done in quiet hours, however, in some circumstances, it may be necessary to do it during busier times.