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Uptime refers to how long the server that’s hosting your website stays up and running. Uptime is commonly listed and graded in percentages. For example, anything below 90% is considered as poor uptime while healthy uptime is 95% - 99.9%.
One of the most effective ways to determine how effective a web hosting company’s services are is by measuring the amount of uptime they guarantee and actually deliver to their clients. Domains and Hosting companies like Discount Domains offer 99.99% uptime. Where a hosting company proves capable of delivering a high uptime percentage, then such a company is capable of keeping a website up and running for long intervals without any problems. Since visitors can’t access a website when it is going through downtime (opposite of uptime), uptime is clearly important to the success of a website regardless what purpose it was created for.
Accurately grading the uptime of a web host
One common problem when it comes to grading the uptime of a host is that the figures provided by the company usually cannot be independently verified. The amount of uptime available from a host is usually according to what the host says it is, thus, if a host claims it’s capable of 90% uptime there’s hardly anyway to know otherwise until you use their services yourself or get a review from someone else who’s being hosted by such a server.
But there's something else to consider. When a hosting company claims to be capable of 99% uptime, it doesn’t state for what expanse of time. That is, is the uptime for 99% of a day, or 99% of a week? If 99% uptime is calculated over the course of a week, that will mean there’s a 1hour and 40minutes period within a week when your website will likely suffer from downtime. That means in a year, such a website could suffer downtime for as much as 3 days. If you are running an ecommerce site, that could be bad for business.
Other mathematical breakdowns of uptime are;
98% uptime = downtime of 28.8 minutes per day or 7.3 days per year
99.5% uptime = downtime of 7.2 minutes per day or 1.83 days per year
To look at the value of uptime objectively, simply consider how much money your business will lose each time your website goes down in a week or year due to downtime. For example, Amazon’s website unexpectedly went offline a few years back for less than an hour. Within that short window of downtime, the company was estimated to have lost five million dollars.
Thus, when choosing a web hosting service for your website, be sure to focus on their uptime guarantees and read reviews concerning their services to verify if their services stay true to their guarantees. It is advised that you opt for only a web hosting company that is capable of delivering nothing less than 99.5% downtime. And if you want to settle for less, don’t go lower than 99% guaranteed uptime.
Uptime guarantees can at times be misleading
A company’s uptime guarantee isn’t always as quality as you envision it to be. A typical hosting company can provide you a hosting agreement along these lines;
“… You are guaranteed that in the event that your website is offline due to unscheduled outages for more than 3.6hours within a month, we will refund hosting costs for the period of time your website was reported to be down…”
What this simply means is if your website is down for a time period that is below the guaranteed amount of uptime, the company is not liable. For example, a hosting company that guarantees 99% uptime will not be liable if your website is down for 3.5 hours in a month since 99% leaves room for 3.6 hours of downtime in a month.
On the matter of unscheduled outages (which might be referred to something else by your hosting company), the hosting company can perform server upgrades which they will likely forewarn you about stating something along the lines of your website might be down for 24 hours during the upgrade. This is not covered in the uptime guarantee but since it’s a scheduled and not unscheduled outage, the hosting company is shielded by the terms of the guarantee.
Something else to keep in mind is the refund offered by a hosting service is only for unscheduled periods your website is down. This likely means what you’ll get as a refund won’t be anywhere close to what your online business loses during downtime. Also, the pittance refund will likely only be refunded if you actually report the outage. If you don’t say a word, a hosting company will likely not say anything either. This means if you don’t know how long your website was down or you lowball the duration of downtime due to not having a monitoring system that lets you know immediately your site went down, you risk getting refunded less than actually deserved or not at all (if downtime is less than what’s promised in the agreement).
Other uptimes issues people commonly face
If you tamper with your website in a manner that leads to it going offline, you will likely not be covered by the hosting company’s refund policy.
Hardware vs. Software. Uptime is what represents how long the mechanism that keeps your website online stays up and running. In a situation where the hosting mechanism is still running but your website has gone down, the blame will lie at your doorstep while your paid for hosting package keeps running. Thus, be sure to keep up to date your site’s web server software, PHP software, and databases.
A lot of hosting providers make their clients jump through hoops before they can access a reimbursement.
Uptime is still very essential
Regardless how much trouble it might seem to get quality web hosting with high uptime, it is worth it in the long run. So never compromise on getting a host with guaranteed high uptime. But keep in mind that a guarantee of 99.99% uptime doesn’t mean your website will never experience downtime.