Thursday, August 17, 2017

What does web host's claim of 99.9% uptime mean?

All big and small web hosting companies claim to give you 99.9% uptime. Even their least expensive plans and discounted plans claim to give you that much uptime.

web hosting companies can play games with bloggers.

Uptime is the time for which your site will be up and running on the host server and will be served to visitors with active internet connection. In non-technical terms, it is the time your website will be accessible to visitors, and is measured in percentage.

What the 99.9% server uptime means is that the web host is assuring you that in a day, the server will be un-available to visitors only for 1/1000 of time, which translates to 1.5 minutes a day, or about 43 minutes in a month. That looks pretty good, isn't it? We all have found even the biggest sites not being reachable at times.

In practice, many hosts, especially those with server clusters or servers 'on the cloud' keep giving 100% uptime for days together. On the other hand, they they don't count maintenance downtime towards downtime, and it includes scheduled maintenance (software and security upgrades, reboots, etc).

Some webhosts, mostly as a marketing gimmick, offer you refund for any extra downtime than what is promised: this is hardly worth mentioning. A tiny sum, which too they won't refund but adjust when you renew your plan. Then they will say, you din't ask for refund within a day, and they will have some terms of contract written in small print that will not allow you that refund.On the other end of the spectrum, big companies have such clause in built in their Service Level Agreement (SLA), and they have wherewithals to charge for unwarranted downtime.

In fact, most blogs and websites of small to medium-sized enterprises should be happy with this much uptime. Only big clients, who pay for dedicated servers or big plans, can ask for uptime of more than 99.9% and they get it, because they have the muscle to demand it. Critical services or high-end e-commerce websites need uptime of 99.999% (the maximum web hosts can actually serve). They need that much uptime, in terms of bandwidth as well as server being responsive.

You should be happy with 99.9% uptime. There could be shady or incompetent hosts who promise the moon at the time of booking your plan and then give you a poor downtime. When you question them, they have a hundred 'valid' reasons for that. So, be sure through your research (checking reviews, asking users, etc) that the host delivers on promise.Otherwise, this can be a very sore point, because any downtime means not having the website available when people look for it.

Pasted here is a link of an Australian uptime testing company, as an example of research that is available on the web. We neither support or question their findings; please make your own judgement based on your own research.