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Prevent Web Hosting Downtime

Posted (4 years ago).

If you host your website with HostGator, your site was probably down or experiencing issues over the last few hours. What could you have done to prevent it? Let’s put our heads together and see what we can come up with.

There is no guarantee for any web host to be 100%. Things happen even with all the redundancy and security measures a web hosting company puts in place.

This afternoon, HostGator (as well as BlueHost) went down stranding thousands without access to their own websites.  Worse, this isn’t the first time it’s happend.  Check out this Mashable article from August.

Uptime matters

Uptime is one of the most important things you should consider when looking for a web hosting provider.

Is It Down Right Now” monitors the status of your favorite web sites and checks whether they are down or not. Just enter the url and a fresh site status test will be performed on the domain name in real time.  A very cool tool if you’re just wondering what’s going on.

Knowing what’s happening now is great, but statistics are also handy to know when you’re trying to make a decision on if you should switch web hosting providers and who to switch to.

Web Hosting Watch randomly selected 200 functioning websites at each hosting, and observed them, measuring their uptime using a special service.

The term of study, sufficient enough to obtain reliable data, was defined 6 weeks. As a result, the most stable hostings are BlueHost and WebHostingHub.

Average Uptime During the Period from 05/03/2012 to 15/04/2012:

Hosting Average Uptime
(per week), %
Downtime (per week),
hours
Downtime (per week),
minutes
BlueHost 99.80% 3.88 232.37
iPage 99.88% 13.80 827.71
inMotion 99.27% 1.56 93.59
FatCow 99.94% 4.57 274.25
HostMonster 99.36% 4.00 239.65
GreenGeeks 98.52% 19.40 1,163.83
JustHost 99.17% 3.80 227.94
HostGator 97.86% 2.42 145.23
WebHostingHub 99.53% 1.08 64.65
WebHostingPad 97.33% 7.60 455.45

How to increase website uptime?

A better question would be, how to MINIMIZE website DOWNTIME. Things happen. It’s a fact of life (and technology). That said, there are a few things you should look into to at least minimize your business website downtime.

Pick a Business-Class Web Host

Perhaps most obvious, don’t expect that the $4 dollars you’re paying for website hosting will entitle you to the best in service and delivery. That’s what business-class web hosting comes into play.

Employ a CDN

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) created caches of your website around the world. Those caches will come in handy in the event your primary website host can’t serve the desired information. In that case, they’ll be served from one of several distributed networks.

Look into Fallover Redundancy

It sounds redundant (and it is), but having multiple hosting provider/provider accounts could allow you (with a little DNS magic) serve the website from a server that IS working when your primary goes down.

This is often what people say is the whole beauty of “cloud web hosting” but many of these aren’t true “clouds” and even a true cloud network like Amazon’s EC2 went down for 4 days recently.

Invest $9 in Monitoring

Perhaps my personal favorite is Pingdom’s uptime monitoring service. It’s only about $9 per month for personal use.

Pingdom and similiar monitoring services are easy to setup and constantly ping your web server to make sure everything’s on the up and up. In the event the server goes down, it’ll notify you. When the server comes back up, you’ll get another email or text message.

Well worth $9/month, if you ask me.

Bad News to End on

I’m sure you were hoping for a magic bullet here, but, alas, we have none.

Servers go down. More likely it’s due to something your webmaster did than the web hosting provider, but things do happen. Even jHost can’t offer 100% uptime (we offer 99.9%).

Tomorrow is a new day–er–year.