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We, as web-hosting providers, often come across this question from resellers and other customers- ‘Do you guarantee 99.9% uptime?’ The common answer to this is yes, because today, 99.9% uptime has become a norm. It is a basic expectation from any web hosting service provider because anything below that is not even considered legitimate by customers.

The reason for this is that there is a cost to downtime. Every time your website goes down, there is a certain share of revenue that businesses lose simply because their website did not show up during a particular period of time. That is one high price to pay, right? A study by IHS Markit in 2015 stated that outages and downtime contribute to almost USD 700 billion of loss worldwide. Now, this exact cost of unplanned downtime is dependent on some critical factors like infrastructure, resources, people, etc. But this can be managed to a great extent.

What actually goes behind maintaining 99.9% uptime or even 99.99% and so on, is the maintenance and safeguarding of your network with constant vigilance. If you are a reseller, these aspects are of utmost importance to you because your performance and client’s satisfaction will be based on this. If you are reselling hosting plans, your customers are bound to ask you questions around the uptime guarantee for hosting they purchase or even things like ‘what my hosting uptime will be?’

With this article, we seek to lay emphasis on some of the most critical facts about uptime after you purchase reseller hosting and what you need to know in detail so that you can successfully convince your clients about the uptime you can provide. So, without any further delay, here we go-

What do we mean by uptime and why is it such a critical component of choosing a web host?
In simple terms, uptime is the percentage of time that your website will be up and running without any interruption.

When a hosting provider claims that it guarantees 99.9% uptime through the year, they essentially mean that the website could be down for 0.01% of the time because of server problems or something like that since servers are technical in nature and experience outages.

Simply put, a host that has higher uptime is a better host. And if any hosting provider cannot guarantee this 99.9% uptime, then they should compensate by adding free hosting credits such as an additional month of hosting or something close to this offer.

The reason uptime is a critical component in a hosting provider’s selection is because every user on a website is a potential customer that is worth a transaction. And no one wants to lose customers, as simple as that. So, if a website is down even for a small period of time, it is like losing tons of customers, because on average, a website with sound hosting gets at least 100 new users per second.

So, anything less than 99.9% is considered bad for business. Moreover, any downtime because of DDoS attacks, hacking attempts, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, or natural disasters, or even because of server upgrades and maintenance are not counted because that is not a part of the uptime guarantee.

The same goes for downtime due to technical support glitches, upgrade or downgrade of hosting accounts, upgrade of user scripts or third-party apps, etc.

How do you calculate uptime and what are the extra 9s for?
You might have seen a 99.9% uptime guarantee or even 99.99%, 99.999%, and so on with more guarantees ending in higher decimals. This is nothing but the claim made by the hosting company for the amount of uptime they say that they will provide, but let us see in terms of hours or minutes what it constitutes.

99.9% uptime calculation for a month = Total number of minutes in a month x ((100-99.9)/100)

This means, your website would not be down for more than 43.2 minutes out of a total of 43,200 minutes in the entire month. If calculated for a year, when it comes to 8.64 hours roughly, this does not mean that your site will be down for those many minutes every month.

It is a guarantee of 99.9% given by the provider because this is the minimum expectation from standard hosting providers. In fact, a good hosting provider will work hard to maintain or go above this number.

Now, if we apply the same logic of calculator to 99.99%, 99.999% (five 9s) or six nines, and so on, then the downtime in minutes will be calculated as 4.38 minutes, 26.30 seconds, 2.63 seconds, and so on per month.

How can downtime be reduced or mitigated?
One of the most popular ways of mitigating downtime is networking monitoring and implementing them. Another way of doing so is by adding redundancy into networks. With redundant networks, there is still some connectivity and the chances of downtime decrease by quite an amount.

Keeping spare resources in hand can also decrease downtime considerably and ensure that uptime is maintained. Besides these aspects, reseller hosting providers can also choose providers that have great support resources, with backup plans to ensure that their clients do not suffer.

Choose a good partner that will help you guarantee the uptime you want.
The true cost of unplanned outages and downtime is very high. So, if you want to avoid it or say mitigate it as much as you can, you will need a partner that can safeguard your network and allow you to go ahead with hosting reseller plans without any glitches.

Before you go ahead with any hosting provider, ask them about their SLAs and the expected impact of downtime in any situation. This will keep you ready with your answers. Also, ask the provider about backup plans in case things go downhill. Ask them about the platforms they use when there are unseen outages and spikes in daily performance.

If you look at the picture holistically, it is very much possible to keep a good uptime of 99.99% and manage it successfully. However, it is upto the main service provider for hosting to be proactive and take action with the right responsiveness whenever there is a chance of downtime.

In closing
Uptime is a critical component for all businesses who want a website. More so because with a consistent uptime, there is a high probability that consumers would want to visit a website time and again because of a good experience. If you have enjoyed reading this article, have any comments or feedback, please let us know in the comments section below. Hope you have understood some of the most important facts about the 99.9% uptime guarantee.

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Charlotte WrightCharlotte WrightCharlotte Wright is a writer and an avid reader who loves to drink tea! Her other interests include astronomy and understanding human nature.View all posts by Charlotte Wright