Updated January 10, 2018
Website downtime is not just about losing money – it’s about losing the trust of your customers and prospects alike. Having downtime today can lead to more bad things than you can imagine!
There are many potential causes of website downtime. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks can be impressive and newsworthy, and hardware failures are inevitable, though they can be limited (as will be explored below). Human error or misconfiguration is a significantly more common cause of downtime.
Regardless of the cause – time is money, and downtime is big money lost.
Limiting website downtime is crucially important. As previously discussed here, research indicates that the average cost of downtime for small businesses is over $8,500 per hour. Costs typically incurred include lost revenue, staff overtime costs, and business disruption. There are other costs to consider as well, such as the impact of downtime on customer trust and search engine ranking.
Reliable hosts provide a service level agreement (SLA) which sets a clear minimum for how much uptime customers can expect. KnownHost customers have a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which provides assurance that their website will not suffer a lengthy disruption from hardware failures, DDoS attacks, or inadequate content management system (CMS) maintenance.
Despite the 99.9% uptime guarantee, at the time of this post, KnownHost has been steadily running with an uptime average of 99.996% – the industry best uptime performance!
The KnownHost Uptime Guarantee
There is a drastic difference between 99% uptime and 99.9%.
A website hosted by a service provider with a 99% uptime SLA may be down for over three and a half days over the course of a year, with potentially ruinous consequences. Uptime of 99.9%, or “three nines,” allows for possible downtime of up to 8 hours, 45 minutes, and 36 seconds in a year.
Care to guess how much downtime you can expect in a year with 99.996% uptime (KnownHost’s current average uptime)? 21 minutes and 2 seconds! Note that many KnownHost customers have never experienced any downtime – they just don’t know what that word means!
How much downtime is acceptable to you in a year? 3.5 days? 8.75 hours? or 21 minutes? Your call….
All reputable web hosting providers offer some kind of uptime guarantee, but some do not live up to their promises. Fortunately for customers, independent third-party analysis of web host uptime is available. Check out how KnownHost has been doing according to Hyperspin.
This impressive record is a result of a range of measures taken to limit disruptions and ensure website performance. Managed services put professionals in control of keeping website elements such as server operating system and CMS version up to date, limiting the likelihood of an unpatched vulnerability or software compatibility issue bringing down customer websites.
Web hosts can also achieve near-perfect uptime with superior hardware and network resources. The KnownHost network, for example, leverages four world class data centers, with network infrastructure provided by TierPoint, network connectivity from multiple leading Tier 1 and Tier 2 providers, and direct access to major internet exchanges in the US and Europe. By utilizing highly durable SSD storage, KnownHost also reduces the chances of a critical hardware failure knocking customer websites offline.
There are also things that website administrators can do on the client side to help keep their website functioning smoothly. Some of the most common reasons for website downtime include human errors such as accidental file deletion, or coding errors, including typos, according to monitoring service SiteStillUp. Another potential cause of downtime is system resource exhaustion, which can occur when a new feature is added to the website, without a corresponding increase in memory or computing power to support it.
Responsible website maintenance and high-quality hosting, however, are investments that consistently reward businesses with the confidence that their website will have near-perfect uptime.