What Is A Network Uptime Guarantee And Why Is It Important?


Website Accessibility Is Key
The Internet is an always-on resource that can be accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As such website visitors have come to expect that the websites they frequent offer this level of accessibility virtually without interruption. Certainly as a Webmaster it is important to strive to provide a website that never suffers from downtime and can always be accessed by anyone that wants access. In reality, of course, it is very difficult to predict with any certainty just how frequently your website will suffer from periods of downtime.

Planned Downtime
Generally speaking, the only cases of downtime that a site should suffer are for planned maintenance and then these should be as short and infrequent as possible. They should also be conducted during times when your site typically has the fewest number of visitors. There is another factor that every Webmaster must consider and certain steps you can take to try and avoid this occurrence.

Using Shared Hosting For Your Site
Shared hosting means that numerous websites and organizations are all hosted on one server. When things are running well, this shouldn’t cause a problem for anyone concerned. All sites should receive full uptime and visitors are happy because they can access your site. However, most shared networks and hosts suffer from problems at some time or another. They can happen for several reasons, many of which are unavoidable for the majority of sites and Webmasters hosted on that network.

Security Risks That Can Cause Downtime
Shared hosting isn’t particularly secure. If one Webmaster opts to use what is called a high risk script on their website it isn’t only that site that is put under this high level of risk. All shared hosting accounts on one server share the same root folder and high-risk scripts can allow hackers to locate, amend, and even delete files from all websites on that one server. Fortunately many hosts will not allow the use of these high-risk scripts but the concerned Webmaster should make enquiries as to what is done to prevent them being used.

Website To Server Ratio
Another problem is the size of the server and the websites hosted on it. Because most websites do not generally use their full quota of disk space or bandwidth some hosts will take a chance at over filling a server. This isn’t necessarily the norm but it can happen. If several of the sites on that server then suddenly increase either their disk space or bandwidth to their maximum level, the entire server is put under strain. In the same way that your home or business computer suffers as a consequence of a full hard drive so too does the server. This is an effective way to overload a server and cause extended and more frequent cases of downtime. Because nobody is actually using over their allotted limit of either commodity it is difficult for the host to do anything about this immediately.

Over Usage Of Disk Space And Bandwidth
Another reason for network downtime is when one or more websites are using more than their allowed limit of disk space or bandwidth. Some hosts prevent this from happening while others instead charge a premium for the excess usage. Again, in most instances, this won’t cause a problem but it can potentially cause a big problem if too many sites use too much of the server.

Network Uptime Guarantee
All paid hosts should offer a network uptime guarantee. While this guarantee does not provide any guarantee that your site in particular will not suffer from a lower uptime it should go a long way to ensuring that you pick a good host. Also look at the terms and conditions. See whether your host offers the opportunity to go over your allotted disk space. While this might seem an alluring prospect, if it is managed badly by the host then you may pay the price when other sites use more than they should.

Conclusion

Most paid hosts (free hosts do not need to offer any kind of guarantee because they do not charge) can offer at least a 99.9% network uptime guarantee. 0.1% downtime sounds impressive but some hosts can promise better than that with a 99.99% network uptime guarantee. Using a VPS or virtual private server can eliminate any potential problem with server security, as well as problems with your host allotting too many sites to the same server. These hosting accounts do cost a little more than shared hosting but it might be worth it in the long run if you run close to the bandwidth and disk space wire.