Web Hosting Uptime Guarantee: What Does It Really Mean?


If you have already looked for web hosting (opens in a new tab) provider, you’ve probably been bombarded with ads promising a 99.9% or 99.99% web hosting uptime guarantee or maybe even a bold 100%, right?

Well, if you don’t know what to think, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to dive deeper into the subject of uptime guarantees – what they are, what they really mean, and why you should bother to find out.

However, before going any further, let’s clarify what uptime is as well as its flip side – downtime. Uptime is measured as a percentage of the time a service (web hosting in our case) is available. So, for example, if a web hosting service is available 99.9% of the time, your website will be up and running for that amount of time.

On the other hand, downtime is the amount of time a site is unavailable, whether due to planned maintenance, cyberattacks, hardware or software failure, server overload, or other unexpected events.

Either way, you’ll want to maximize uptime and minimize downtime for your site, so your customers can reach it any time of the day or night.

So, when choosing the web hosting provider (opens in a new tab) for your site, keep an eye out for uptime guarantees.

What does guaranteed availability mean?

A “three nines” or 99.9% uptime guarantee is currently considered an industry standard for web hosting services and this translates to less than 0.1% downtime over the course of a week. in any given month – less than 45 minutes per month, roughly.

So, if your site experiences more downtime than specified in the guarantee, you should receive some sweet compensation – likely in the form of account credits or a partial refund.

These types of guarantees are often backed by service level agreements (opens in a new tab) (SLA), so be sure to review them before signing up for a service – and don’t forget the fine print.

How is availability calculated?

To calculate your uptime score, take the number of seconds your monitor was down in a specific time frame (we typically take a month or a year with long-term monitoring) and divide it by the number of seconds that your monitor has been monitored throughout this period. Time range. This will give you the downtime percentage.

There are tons of tools (opens in a new tab) there who can help you translate those percentages into hours, minutes and seconds, but for illustration, let’s say 99% uptime per month translates to 7 hours, 18 minutes and 17 seconds for that month – it is a terrible record.

Similarly, 99.9% uptime translates to 43 minutes and 49 seconds per month, while a highly desirable 99.99% uptime would decode into 4 minutes and 22 seconds of downtime per month. months, which can be safely ignored.

So, as you can see, a difference between 99%, 99.9%, and 99.99% uptime can be critical to the success of your business.

100% uptime is rare

So we’ve discussed “the nines”, but what about a 100% flawless uptime guarantee?

Well, it is not only rare, but it is statistically impossible to guarantee that a site will be operational at all times, regardless of unforeseeable external events – such as force majeure, strikes or pandemic outbreaks.

Also, did you know that downtime due to scheduled maintenance is not considered “downtime” in most cases? So, if your web hosting provider gives you advance notice of a planned downtime, you won’t be compensated for your site’s downtime and there’s nothing you can do about it.

So, if you come across a host that offers a 100% uptime guarantee, go straight to their terms of service section or contact the sales staff and see what that guarantee actually means.

What happens if you experience more downtime than your hosting provider indicates?

Picking a poor web hosting provider is one of the most common reasons for site downtime, and that’s often the case with user-friendly options that use offshore servers – well, we guess the corners have to be cut somewhere.

So, if your site experiences a disastrous amount of downtime month after month, getting a small amount of account credit won’t be enough.

With most web hosting providers, you’ll be compensated with a percentage of the amount you paid for the hosting service, a month’s worth of hosting, or you might even get a full refund – either way, this is not enough.

This is especially true if you operate a thriving e-commerce platform. (opens in a new tab) where a few minutes of downtime a day could cost you thousands of dollars you would otherwise earn through successful sales.

In short, downtime is bad for business and if your current supplier can’t make the grade, go find whoever can.

Read the fine print on uptime rates

If we could all agree to read the fine print about uptime rates before signing up for web hosting services, there would be far fewer disappointed and unhappy people on this planet.

For example, if an ad promises a 99.9% uptime guarantee, that doesn’t mean your site will be up 99.9% of the time – it just means you’ll be compensated if it’s not.

Also, remember what we said about when an uptime guarantee doesn’t count? It is essential for your peace of mind (and for your business) that you check all about these exclusions before committing.

On top of that, you rarely have a say in whether your breakdown qualifies for compensation or not, and when you do, your compensation will be woefully minimal (something close to $0.50 with most service plans). startup shared hosting).

Also, since web hosting companies rarely refund what you paid for their services in cash, you’ll get a small amount of credit loaded into your account – it’s likely to be so small it won’t even cover one month of accommodation.

Why is the availability of your website important?

The most downtime of an e-commerce site (opens in a new tab) suffers, the more sales will stop, resulting in lost revenue.

No matter how nice your website design is (opens in a new tab) that is, if it crashes too often or takes too long to load, it’s for nothing – a customer’s trust and loyalty will take a critical hit.

Plus, if your site goes down for a devastating amount of time, search engines will recognize it and rank it lower in their results – thus, you’ll fail a search engine optimization (SEO). (opens in a new tab)) test.

If all that wasn’t enough already, too much downtime could indicate serious security issues such as outdated software, server vulnerabilities, and a general lack of security measures. So if your site is constantly crashing, it’s high time to take a look at your web hosting provider’s security protocols.

Unavoidable unavailability of the website

While with all web hosting providers you are bound to experience some level of downtime, you will be safer if you go for one that offers at least 99.9% uptime and backs it up with an SLA – appropriate lower case letters included.

Also, instead of focusing all your attention on a nice uptime guarantee, it makes more sense to check ratings and reviews (professionals and customers) before choosing the right web hosting provider for your site.


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