All hosting providers will experience downtime at some point. That's why you should never trust a 100 percent uptime guarantee!
Six "9s" (99.9999 percent) of uptime requires million-dollar, continuous-availability servers. So 100 percent uptime is not something any hosting provider can deliver consistently.
But you need to maximize uptime. So ask yourself how many 9s of availability you need, keeping in mind that more 9s will mean a more expensive solution. On average, how much downtime per week is acceptable to you?
- 1 minute (99.99 percent uptime)?
- 10 minutes (99.9 percent uptime)?
- 100 minutes (99 percent uptime)?
Tip: Ask these questions to your prospective hosting provider
- Is their status posting publicly available (e.g. https://status.rackspace.com/), or do you need log in to see the status of their systems? This tells you how transparent the company is about its uptime.
- How much uptime is guaranteed?
- How much will you be compensated if you experience less uptime than the guarantee states?
If it is difficult to find answers to these questions, or if what you find is hard to believe, then you should be suspicious.
Tip: Validate uptime with third-party sites
Also, you should check with third-party experts who track the uptime of major hosting providers every day. For example, Netcraft tracks the uptime of all major hosting providers every 15 minutes: http://uptime.netcraft.com/perf/reports/Hosters.
In order to provide that uptime, a provider has to be able to handle traffic spikes. In my next post, I'll talk about scalability and how well a provider handles sudden surges in traffic.
Be sure to check out previous tips for choosing a managed hosting provider.