Web Host Uptime: How This Simple Statistic Has a Huge Impact on Site Profitability
Hosting a website on an external service is a complicated process that requires taking several different factors into consideration. Many webmasters quickly skim over statistics regarding a particular web host’s uptime, not understanding just how essential this little number is to their site’s profitability. In fact, uptime is perhaps one of the most important characteristics of a web host, easily outweighing elements such as server speed. The simple reality is that a web host that experiences significant drops in uptime will not display the websites it hosts, resulting in lost profits and frustrated customers.
Understanding the Essentials
In a nutshell, uptime is the amount of time during which a server is up and running. When a server goes offline, it is no longer able to process server requests. This means that anyone trying to access a website on the server in question will instead receive an error message, as if the domain name were not valid. If a server frequently presents this issue, customers could potentially begin to doubt the reliability of the site and instead turn to competitors.
In fact, uptime issues are one of the biggest reasons that webmasters cite for changing hosts each year. In order to capitalize on this fact, many sites release promotional tools and discounts to court new users. For example, a user possessing a GoDaddy promo code may be able to secure hosting at a significant discount or purchase a domain name for a fraction of the usual cost.
99% – What Uptime Statistics Mean
Web hosts routinely display the percentage of uptime their servers experience in an attempt to woo new customers. While a high number like 99% sounds rather impressive, it is essential for webmasters to understand what that 99% actually represents. One percent may not seem like much time at all, by factored over the course of a year or so, that number quickly adds up.
For example, if a site experiences 99% uptime, that means approximately 1% of server time is lost each day, averaging just over 14 minutes. Fourteen minutes likely seems rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but that number equates to a whopping 3.65 days over the course of a year. For businesses that rely on their sites to process orders and inform customers, that represents a significant amount of lost potential.
Tracking Site Uptime
Fortunately for webmasters, there are plenty of resources available that make it easy to track the uptime of a particular website. Many websites offer free tracking tools that will automatically ping the server at a set interval. If the server does not respond or the site cannot be accessed, the tracking tool notifies the webmaster. There are several different ways to be notified, based on the service being used. Some of the most popular options include SMS, email, and IM notifications.
One popular option is UptimeRobot, which checks the site header status code every 5 minutes. The service can be used free of charge, and up to 50 different sites can be monitored. Pingdom is another popular option, though tracking more than one site requires paying a monthly fee. Pingdom can be set to check the site at intervals upwards of 1 minute.
About Author : Jason Zemlak is a technology writer based in Washington state. He frequently writes on web hosts and servers, along with emerging cloud computing technologies.