Where can you get 100% uptime web hosting?

When a service declares a 99.9% uptime guarantee might sounds kinda impressive. But do the math, and it turns out that 99.9% allows for 43 minutes of downtime per month or over 8 hours in a year, while 99.99% uptime is up to 4 minutes of downtime per month.

With web hosting becoming more and more essential to our lives – work, play, personal, and e-commerce — finding a reliable web hosting service can be elusive. Even with thorough research, past performance is no guarantee of future reliability and tech support responsiveness.

So you do what you can with the time and effort you’ve got. Think about it, what can a company do to make good on a guarantee anyways? Pro-rated credit? Tech support response time? Battery backup? Network redundancy? Multiple data centers?

And when it comes to an “uptime guarantee,” read the fine print. There’s the marketing-speak and then the legal-speak. Don’t be mesmerized by the number itself. Look at what these different companies mean by their service level agreement (SLA) ::

Network will be available 100% of the time in a given month, excluding scheduled maintenance. … A credit of 5% of the monthly fee for each 30 minutes of downtime. A credit of up to 100% of the monthly fee for the affected server. [Rackspace]

For each hour after you notified support of your downtime, your account will be credited for 10% of you monthly billing total, up to 100% your total bill. [VPS.net]

If your web site, databases, email, FTP, SSH or webmail is unusable as a result of a failure in our systems and for reasons other than previously announced scheduled maintenance, coding or configuration errors on your part, we’ll credit your next invoice with 1 day hosting free for each 1 hour (or fraction thereof) of service interruption; up to 10% of your next pre-paid hosting renewal fee. [Dreamhost]

Site5 has a unique take on its 99.9% uptime guarantee for shared hosting, “… offering you a pro-rated credit for any downtime outside of our guaranteed window.” Site5 has a page with the real time status of all their servers and they publicly list the uptime records of all their servers. [ed.note: transparency does make for more data-informed decisions]

If your shared / reseller server has a physical downtime that is not within the 99.9% uptime you may receive one month of credit on your account. Approval of the credit is at the discretion of HostGator dependent upon justification provided. According to www.edgeonline.com.au/seo-gold-coast, third party monitoring service reports may not be used for justification due to a variety of factors including the monitor’s network capacity/transit availability. The uptime of the server is defined as the reported uptime from the operating system and the Apache Web Server which may differ from the uptime reported by other individual services. To request a credit, please contact [email protected] with justification. All requests must be made in writing via email. Uptime guarantees only apply to shared / reseller solutions. … [HostGator]

We Guarantee! that our network will stay up 99.9% of the time. … will not charge you for leaving your hosting agreement early due to server downtime. Furthermore, we allow you to cancel your account at anytime without any penalties and with a pro-rated refund of the unused portion of your hosting agreement. [bluehost]

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1 Response

  1. kenliu says:

    It’s prudent to understand SLA guarantees when picking a hosting service, but don’t mislead people to think that they should expect to get better than 99.9% uptime. There’s no such thing as 100% availability. Even Amazon, with their massive data center infrastructure, only provides an SLA guarantee of 99.9% for their S3 service: http://aws.amazon.com/s3-sla/

    Realistically, for what it costs for monthly shared hosting, it’s unreasonable to expect more than 99.9% uptime. Besides, you’re hosting a web site. You’re not processing e-commerce transactions. If your site is down for a few minutes, it’s no big deal, people will come back later.

    FWIW, while I was writing this post I got a 500 error, which means that your blog software had an error…but your website was still technically “up” 😉