100% Uptime – Real or Not?

Undoubtedly, if you have ever contacted or used hosting sites, you’ve noticed the 98.9%, 99.9% and even 100% server uptime labels there. Normally, you would think “Well, 99.9% sounds very good indeed, 0.01% downtime is no big deal” and you would be right. What many people are missing, however, is that even if the server is reachable, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is functioning properly. In fact, there are a lot of other things that can go wrong with a server. The 99.99% uptime sticker does not provide any guarantee that your business will not encounter other problems while the server is up. Hosting providers often calculate uptime in ways that are not so intuitive from a user’s point of view and in some cases they do not take into account certain website downtime.

Not All Downtime Is Counted!

In the first place, you have to keep in mind that not all downtime is counted (e.g. in most cases the scheduled downtime is not even considered). Hosting companies will not willingly include these several hours of downtime to their statistics. When they calculate the monthly server uptime the planned services interruptions are not deducted.

(Jerry’s note: Trust me, that’s true for certain web host! This is why hosting shoppers are advised to read third-party hosting reviews and regular updates on server uptime.)

Moreover, some hosting companies are also inclined to overlook shorter downtime periods. Outages of 3-5 minutes are not considered significant and are also not included in the 99.9% stats. But, in the end of the day, multiple short downtime periods can actually add up and make a difference.

One more thing to consider – a 1% difference means twice the trouble. 99.9% uptime in fact shows a downtime of 8 hours and 45 minutes per year. So, if the sticker reads 98.9%, the downtime value reaches 17 hours and 30 minutes.

You have to accept the universal truth that resources are limited. “Unlimited” is just a euphemism for “enough for the majority of the common users”. But what if your business is not a common one and demand is high? There may be other significant sites that share the same hosting hardware with you. Sooner or later, this may lead to a server overload and thus result in high loading times, broken transactions, etc. In a case like this, the server will still be online, but the performance will be far below your needs. One good way to detect such problems quickly is application monitoring.

Bottom Line

Let’s face it – 100% is not easily achievable. Something is bound to go wrong eventually. There will be problems with network backbones, power failures, software and hardware issues and even human errors. So, instead of trying to find the ultimate hosting provider, get a decent one with good server uptime and performance, 24-hour technical support and frequent backups. And make sure to get a reliable remote website monitoring service, just in case. It might just turn out to be the best money you ever spent.