I’ve been dealing with several clients whose websites have been down or not functioning properly due to server issues at their various web hosts.

No host can provide a 100% uptime, but what DO you look for when shopping for a host?  First, they should publicize some sort of “uptime guarantee.” Without a guarantee, you have no assurances that they are at least trying or providing due diligence in keeping your website available.  I’ve recently seen a popular host REMOVE their guarantee from their sales pages.  Not a good sign of things to come for their clients.

So what kind of uptime guarantee is good enough? This depends on your needs and, honestly, your budget.  Of course, no one wants to have their website DOWN ever, but what do these numbers mean?  Here are some common guarantees in the industry today and the actual amount of downtime per month involved.

  • 99.5% uptime = Over 3 HOURS (216 minutes) of downtime in a month
  • 99.8% uptime = 86.4 minutes of downtime in a month
  • 99.9% uptime = 43.2 minutes of downtime in a month
  • 99.99% uptime = 4.32 minutes of downtime in a month
  • 99.999% uptime = 0.432 minutes (26 seconds) in a month

Based on these numbers, I would never recommend a host with less than a 99.9% uptime guarantee and I would rather see my clients on a 99.99% uptime server.  I only know one host, Rackspace, that gives a 99.9999% uptime guarantee and they only do managed server hosting and is much more expensive than standard hosting.

So check for an uptime guarantee as one of the necessary elements when shopping for a web host.