Uptime Guarantees and Website Hosting
What do they really mean?
Website hosting companies usually place their uptime guarantee front and center on their web pages. The best web hosting companies usually offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee; this is currently fairly standard across the industry.
At face value, this means the website hosting company will do its best to ensure your site will be up and running 99.9% of the time. If service is interrupted more than 0.1% of the time (usually calculated monthly), customers are generally compensated in some way. Even budget or cheap web hosting companies should offer you a basic uptime guarantee.
If you have a 99.9% uptime guarantee, mathematically this means your site should not be down more than 43 minutes a month. This is important - 43 minutes might not be so bad. But just think: a 99% uptime promise leaves you potentially without service almost 8 hours a month, and that could be tougher to deal with.
Of course, should even those 43 minutes come at the wrong time, you won't think so fondly about that website hosting guarantee!
If your site is down for more than 43 minutes a month, the best web hosting services should offer you a discount on your monthly fee. Unfortunately, in many cases, you have to ask for this compensation. This is something to investigate when you are selecting a website hosting company - the more they are willing to put on the line to compensate you for downtime, the more confident they may be in terms of the reliability of their services.
What you can do:
Read the Terms and Conditions posted on your website hosting company's site. Not posted? Take that as a warning. Be aware of the guarantees offered, monitor your website as best you can, and ensure you are compensated where you deserve it.
Read customer and expert reviews. Independent website hosting reviews such as those posted on this website and comments from real customers may give you a better flavor for the actual uptime and reliability of website hosting services. Even if you're compensated a few dollars, having your site out of commission for days can really sink a business. For more, read our article on how to read website hosting reviews.
Find out the real uptime statistics. The best web hosting companies should be able to provide you with this information. If they won't - or if you don't trust what they do send you - again, step away.
Not even the best web hosting company is perfect. But if they are upfront about their service and diligent in answering your questions, you can rest assured that your best interests are being served.
Uptime is never more important than if you're running an online business. Check out our Top 10 Business and Top 10 E-Commerce web hosting companies for some of our picks for reliability and stability.