How Much Downtime is Too Much Downtime: The Search for 100% Reliability

Do you know what your website hosting provider’s uptime guarantee is? Is it 99% 99.99% Or even a perfect 100%?

Many hosting providers will make an uptime guarantee, promising that they will not dip below a certain amount of downtime each month. If they do, the providers will often offer a sort of monetary incentive like a free month’s service. However, no matter what the hosting provider says and even if you have very fast hosting, you won’t be able to totally control how much your website goes down.

How Much Downtime Is Okay?

With all hosting providers touting various percentages, it can be confusing to know how much is an acceptable amount. Here is what the different percentages of downtime means for you and your site in a month.

How Much Downtime Is Okay?

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What does 99% uptime mean?

If your website host guarantees a 99% uptime, your site will be down for 432 minutes in the month, or more than 7 hours.

What does 99.9% uptime mean?

A 99.9% uptime guarantee means that your site will be down for 45 minutes or less in the month. This is typically the average server uptime guarantee, and it is what big hosting providers like Hostgator and Godaddy guarantee their clients. Because most hosts can do hardware change-outs in under half an hour, this guarantee gives them a little cushion for at least one hardware failure during the month.

What does 99.99% uptime mean?

A 99.99% uptime guarantee is rare to see because it promises that your website will spend just 5 minutes down each month. Thanks to cloud hosting and CDN hosting, these types of guarantees have become more popular.

What does 100% uptime mean?

Usually, not many web hosts will guarantee a 100% uptime. Typically, this type of guarantee will come from a cloud hosting provider because your server draws on the strength of multiple cloud-based servers. Hypothetically, your website would never go down.

Despite the uptime guarantees and promises to pay up, many hosting providers will “cheat” the system by measuring downtime by the quarter or the year. Even if the downtime increases one month, on average the downtime of the site stays low, matching the uptime guarantee

How Is Downtime Defined?

When the hosting provider is calculating the downtime of the website, there are a few things that don’t get calculated into the time. For example, if you have made a mistake and caused your website to go down, the hosting provider will not compensate you for this lost time (which is understandable).

Planned outages due to service maintenance are also not calculated into downtime. Even if the work takes longer than expected, you won’t be compensated for this.

And, each hosting provider will have different rules, so you need to read the Terms of Service (TOS) before you commit to a hosting provider to discover what is and is not included in the downtime. For example, some hosts will only accept claims if it was caused to hardware failure, and others won’t accept a compensation claim if the upstream provider fails.

Why Downtime Is Bad For Your Website

While you might be looking at the downtimes listed above and think that an hour or even seven hours of downtime isn’t terrible over the course of the month. After all, if it happens late at night, or during an off-peak time, people might not even notice, right? However, you can’t control when your website goes down unexpectedly, and it might lead to negative consequences.

Lost Credibility

Depending on what type of website you are running, it might be vital that your website is up and running at all times. According to a survey by Downtime Monkey, staying online is vital for eCommerce websites, but for a small personal blog, it might be okay if you experience a little more downtime.

SEO Rankings Might Suffer

If the server slows down and takes a few seconds to load, Google might choose to limit the number of your website’s URL it crawls. Downtime and slow server response time lead to a higher bounce rate, which is another factor calculated in SEO.

Lost Sales

If you are using your website to make money or market a product, you need to ensure that your website is up and running as much as possible. Otherwise, people might go seek out your competitor and spend their money there. According to a survey by Carbonite, the average downtime costs per minute is between $137-$427 per minute for small businesses. As your company gets bigger, the lost profits will continue to grow every second of downtime. For mega-eCommerce site, Amazon, just one second of downtime results in $220,000 of lost sales.

How Much Downtime is Too Much Downtime For My Website?

When deciding what acceptable response time for web applications are, you should consider what type of website you have. For hobby websites, it seems to be less critical to have an uptime guarantee close to 100%. Perhaps for you, you focus on finding the fastest WordPress hosting that delivers great features at an affordable price. However, if you are an entrepreneur, self-employed, small business, or run a technology website, you might want to have an uptime guarantee that is closer to 99.99%. By choosing the fastest web hosting, you can guarantee that your site will stay up as much as possible.

Lindsey Conger
Author:
Lindsey is a freelance writer based out of Chicago who specializes in technology, business, finance, and real estate. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Dwell, and Stackstreet.

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"How Much Downtime is Too Much Downtime: The Search for 100% Reliability"

How Much Downtime is Too Much Downtime: The Search for 100% Reliability