In today’s ultra-competitive world of websites, where you are desperately struggling to get any advantage, even a small one, over competitors in your market space, there is a lot of talk about speed, security or cost, but there are an even more important factor that isn´t fully valued by web software companies: uptime.
What is uptime?
You may have already heard the word “uptime” in a conference or read it in an article. The uptime is the connection time that a web page stays connected online each day, and is listed as an averaged percentage, for example 99.7%. Obviously, there is also its evil twin, downtime, which is the number of seconds, minutes or hours that a website is not working, preventing users from accessing it.
Uptime is the best way to measure the quality of a web hosting provider, or a server. If the provider shows a high uptime rate, it is a guarantee of good performance.
Why should uptime be a priority for my company?
Think for a moment what you would think if you open a website on your computer and it doesn’t load. What first impression would you have of that site? Studies have found that 88% of online consumers are highly unlikely to return to a website after having a bad first impression. What’s the point of spending so much time, money, and effort on your website if you can’t attract people? What’s the point of working on building a website when it isn’t working at the moment of truth?
All hosting and server companies usually guarantee very high uptime rates, but that the trees don’t prevent you from seeing the forest. 99% may seem like a big figure, but it really means that over the course of an entire week, your website can be down for a total of almost two hours, which would be very detrimental to a highly visited website.
When it comes to uptime, you have to take into account every second, since you never know if a second offline could make a difference compared to your rival websites. Those crucial seconds cause loss of Internet traffic, financial loss, lower Google SEO ranking, discredit, among other troubles.
Even a difference between 99.90% and 99.99% in uptime can be crucial. In the first case, your website would suffer a downtime of 11 minutes per week, while with an uptime of 99.99%, the downtime of your webpage would be reduced to only one minute per week. It may cost more money to get that efficiency advantage, but it’s worth the investment.
Perfection is impossible
Despite everything that has already been said, you must be fully aware that no one, not even the best provider in the world, can guarantee absolute perfection, especially since servers are still physical machines exposed to external dangers (such as hacking attacks, power outages or natural disasters) and internal (human errors, DNS or CMS problems, hardware/software problems, server overloads) that can take your website offline.
You must also remember that these dangers are unpredictable events, and although we can prepare contingency plans, we will never know the exact moment when the threat would arrive. The world isn’t perfect and your website won’t be up and running 100% of the time forever and ever.
It is also important to understand that not all downtime is the same. For example, scheduled server maintenance from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. is very different and less damaging than an unexpected drop at noon. That is why it’s highly recommended to save and use backups of your website precisely for these emergencies, in addition to choosing a good provider.
The best solution
The safest way that providers offer us to guarantee a great uptime is the dedicated server hosting as a service. You will enjoy full and exclusive access to the server, being able to use all its resources to optimize your website to the maximum, without having to share it with anyone.
Among its advantages, you can configure your dedicated server hosting to your liking from the control panel (although make sure that your provider also has 24/7 technical support for possible eventualities), you have a greater amount of hosting space and bandwidth that you can use as you prefer, there is no need to take care of the hardware (which the provider takes care of) and they are flexible enough to be able to manage high visibility pages, reducing vulnerabilities due to online traffic peaks.
Among other useful tips, it would be a very good idea to use a website monitoring service to be able to monitor the performance of your site 24/7, receiving an immediate notification if a downtime occurs. Additionally, this is a very useful way to verify the reliability of your hosting provider’s warranties.
Another great tip would be to use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to download part of the content of your website on servers that are geographically closer to the visitors of your page. CDNs are very useful to increase the speed of a website, and above all, for what we are most interested in, they reduce the number of events that cause downtime, freeing up space on your main server and reducing tension. Check with your provider if they offer a CDN in their hosting plan.
In general, a dedicated hosting server may seem like a relatively expensive solution, but keeping your website online for as long as possible is worth all the investments that are necessary.
Current trends reveal great pressure to maintain and improve high uptime rates, with sustained growth in demand over the last decade. In the future, experts hope that it will be possible to achieve an uptime of 100%, since with the arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT); this requirement will become essential for our daily lives.
Remember to make sure you choose best hosting plan that best suit your needs.